Higher prevalence of headaches is noted in women and girls.
Knackstedt H, Bansevicius D, Aaseth K, Grande RB, Lundqvist C, RussellMB (2010)
Cervicogenic Headache in the General Population:
The Akershus Study of Chronic Headache
Cephalalgia. 2010 (Dec); 30 (12): 1468–1476
Kröner-Herwig B, Heinrich M, Morris L (2007)
Headache in German children and adolescents: a population-based epidemiological study. Cephalalgia 27:519–527
While it is wonderful that research have figured out that women coming up with the excuse of a headache, might be true, women still have to deal with the pain. The most common of all are what doctors call tension headaches and they can feel like a giant rubber band squeezing your skull, creating soreness in your head, neck and shoulders especially at the bottom of the skull at the back of the neck. The pain radiates up from there to the forehead, behind the eye, and can be either or both sides.
Your headache might be a migraine where one side of your head pulses and throbs, your vision gets a little squiggly dancing lights, you want to be left alone in the dark, and sound hurts. In this case, it’s best to quietly lie down, relax and call your Chiropractor to set up an appointment.
Headaches are one of the most common complaints that Chiropractors see at the office. There are many different types of headaches originate from mechanical problems in the neck. Some headaches such as migraine and cluster headaches are related to vascular problems. These often include nausea and/or vomiting and can be quite disabling and require rest in a dark, quiet place sometimes for a half or a whole day. Other headaches can be categorized as “tension” headaches. These usually result from tightness in the muscles in the neck and upper back caused from stress, work, lack of sleep, sinusitis, trauma such as whiplash, and others. Pain can be felt in the upper neck or the back of the head as well as in the frontal, sinus region, top or sides of the head. It can vary from a throbbing pain to an ache to just a constant pain.
So “how does chiropractic work?” To answer this, let’s first discuss what we do when the headache patient comes in. First, the history is very important! Here, we’ll ask “how/when did the headaches start. This may glean the actual cause of headaches such as a car accident or injury of some sort.
Next, we’ll ask about activities that increase or create the headache, which gives us ideas of how we might help manage the headache patient. For example, when certain activities precipitate the onset of a headache, we will modify the workstation and/or give specific exercises on a regular schedule to keep the neck tension under control. When information gathered about what decreases or helps the neck pain and headaches, we will recommend treatments often that can be done at home such as a home traction unit. This would be suggested if we are told that “…pulling on my neck feels great!” The quality of pain (throbbing = vascular, ache and tightness = neck), intensity of pain (0-10 pain scale), and timing (worse in the morning vs. evening) help us track change after treatment is rendered, usually gathered once a month.
What most people don’t realize is that mechanical dysfunction of the vertebrae of the neck will cause increased muscle tension as well as irritate the delicate nerves that control blood flow into the head. Improving the movement or alignment of the bones in the neck can relieve the pressure and irritation that results in headaches.
How do we get misalignments in the joints of the neck? This can be due to trauma such as falls or car accidents. Repetitive stress such as hours of work on a computer, poor posture or stress can also take a toll over time. In many patients it is a combination of activities that took place often years before which has led to chronic and recurring headaches.
Chiropractic examination evaluates these issues as well as attempts to rule out other more serious causes, which can occur but are more rare. Call today 334-514-7600 and tell them Dr. McNally, DC sent you. We have a first visit special for you.