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In the Us alone there is over 45 million Americans suffering from headaches of one  type or another on a daily basis.  They put up with the pain. Some become totally disabled during the headache or migraine. Most people initially turn to an over the counter drug such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) of which there are 3 types: 1) salicylates, such as aspirin; 2) traditional NSAIDs, such as Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen); and, 3) COX-2 selective inhibitors, such as Celebrex.

According to the medical review board of About.com, complications of NSAID drugs include stomach irritation (gastritis, ulcer), bleeding tendencies, kidney failure, and liver dysfunction. Some NSAIDs (particularly indomethacin) can interfere with other medications used to control high blood pressure and cardiac failure and long term use of NSAIDs may actually hasten joint cartilage loss, leading to premature arthritis. Another over the counter commonly used drug is Tylenol (Acetaminophen) in which liver toxicity can be a potential side effect (particularly with long term use).

Here’s the kicker – only about 60% of patients respond to a 3 week trial of an NSAID, NSAIDs can mask signs and symptoms of infection, it cannot be predicted which NSAID will work best, and no single NSAID has been proven to be superior over others for pain relief. Moreover, estimates of death associated with NSAID (mostly gastrointestinal causes) range between 3200 on the low side to higher than 16,500 deaths per year in the United States. Another BIG concern is that low daily doses of aspirin, “…clearly have the potential to cause GI injury as 10mg of aspirin daily causes gastric ulcers.”

Others may turn to prescription medication for hopeful pain relief. One of the more frequently prescribed medications for headaches is amitriptyline (commonly known as Elavil, Endep, or Amitrol).  This is actually an antidepressant but was found to work quite well for some headache sufferers. The potential side effects include blurred vision, change in sexual desire or ability, constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache (ironically), appetite loss, nausea, tiredness, trouble sleeping, tremors and weakness. Allergic reactions such as rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue, chest pain, rapid and/or irregular heart rate, confusion, delusions, suicidal thoughts or actions AND MORE are reported.

Now there are many cases of Chiropractic care taking care of the headache problems not just temporarily but fixed the underlying structural problem that got on the nerve that is complaining in the first place. If your headache starts with tension at the back to the neck or radiates to the temple or behind the eyes, you might benefit from Chiropractic care. Do you experience lights dancing before your eyes and during one of those episodes, you want to be in a dark quiet room until it goes away, then you also could benefit from Chiropractic care. When the nerve that goes to ears, eyes, temple and it pinched by joint malposition, it is often called a headache, but it is actually nerve interference.  Once the Chiropractor has adjusted the joints into proper position the nerve no longer screams at you giving you your headaches and you can live pain free. Come in and see what we can do for you.