The world stops when a headache takes over. Headache sufferers know that a headache or migraine isn’t something you can just “power through.” However, the invisible nature of a headache can make it difficult for other people to understand or empathize. You may have already been through the gamut of headache treatments if this debilitating condition is a part of your life. Many people who seek headache treatments and medications have mixed results at best. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so promising for many to hear about a natural path for headache and migraine relief. That path is chiropractic care. In fact, studies show that many people report significant improvement in migraines after seeking chiropractic care.
The Anatomy of a Headache
There are really three different headache types that people experience. Some people may only experience one type of headache on a chronic basis. Others are unfortunate enough to alternate between combinations of headaches. Here’s a look:
A tension headache may feel like someone is “pressing a band” around your head. A migraine headache may create tension or pain in just one side of the head. However, migraines are often accompanied by an intense sensitivity to both light and sound. Many people are also overcome by nausea when a migraine strikes. A third type of headache called a cervicogenic headache is talked about less frequently than tension headaches and migraines. In fact, many people who suffer from theses headaches don’t even know that there’s a term to describe what they are experiencing. This unique type of headache typically creates pain in one or more spots in the face or head. It can be very hard to pin down exactly where the intense pain is radiating from with this type of headache. However, the pain actually originates in the neck.
Chiropractic Care for Treating Headaches
You may be feeling desperate due to the fact that headaches lead to a loss of productivity or reduced range of motion for you. The good news is that some simple chiropractic sessions could hold the key to getting relief. There are actually several objectives for headache sufferers when chiropractic care is used. Here’s a look:
- Reducing irritation in the nerves that are responsible for sending pain signals to the brain.
- Restoring communication among elements of your nervous system.
- Getting healthy, normalized blood flow going.
- Strengthening muscles that provide support to your spine.
Yes, all of this can be achieved using manual adjustments. What makes chiropractic care such a powerful tool in treating headaches is that this approach is not just focused on addressing symptoms. Unfortunately, many people find that taking pain medication once symptoms have already started is not fully effective for reducing the severity of a headache “attack.” By contrast, chiropractic care doesn’t just try to put a bandage on symptoms and pain. Chiropractic care actually helps to align your body to be resilient against headaches in the first place using a holistic approach.
Addressing blocks, disconnections, misalignment and dysfunctions in the nervous system through spinal manipulation really helps to reduce some of the common triggers of headaches and migraines. For instance, we know that muscle tension can be a very common trigger for headaches and migraines. Spinal manipulation actually strengthens the muscles that surround and support the spine. This can be extremely effective for getting rid of that tension source. What manipulation really does is get the body in optimal condition for releasing its own preventative and healing potential.
Some Best Practices for Preventing or Avoiding Headaches
Your chiropractor will be using very specific manipulation techniques to restore proper blood flow and balance within the nervous system. Many patients enjoy instant relief after one or several sessions. This can be extremely encouraging for people who believe that they are “trapped” in a never-ending headache cycle. Of course, the chiropractic approach to headache treatment is fully holistic. This is one of the reasons why patients are often encouraged to carry out some best practices for headache prevention at home and work between chiropractic visits. Let’s discuss what these best practices look like.
The position that you spend time in may be partly responsible for headaches. For instance, spending a lot of time sitting at a computer desk or reading over documents could create a blockage of blood flow within the nervous system. This is one of the reasons why “position breaks” are so important. It’s important to get up from a position at least once every hour.
Headaches can often be improved with some very light, low-impact exercise that’s done regularly. Some walking or low-impact aerobics can be beneficial for increasing blood flow. Of course, it’s important to avoid heavy exercise if your headache symptoms have left you feeling weakened or impaired in any way.
It’s also important to pay attention to the posture of your face. Many people don’t realize that “teeth clenching” can be detrimental to jaw, neck and spinal alignment. In fact, clenching is associated with temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and tension headaches. Factors like managing stress properly, maintaining proper hydration and following a healthy diet can all help to reduce the severity and frequency of headaches.
What to Expect When Seeking Chiropractic Care for Headaches
It’s very possible that a single visit will allow you to see some noticeable changes regarding the intensity and frequency of your headaches. Of course, your specific outcome will typically be tied to the severity of the headaches that you currently suffer from. A person with a very extreme sensitivity to migraines may simply require a longer treatment period to see very noticeable and lasting results. By contrast, some patients feel that they are “cured” of migraines after one manipulation. It’s important to be realistic about expectations in both cases. It’s easy to assume that spinal manipulation doesn’t work for you if you don’t see results immediately. The reality is that it may take a few sessions to correct an issue that has been building up for years. People who see instant results should avoid the temptation to be “done” with chiropractic care because they feel that they’ve received what they needed. Following through with a full course of treatment is important for creating sustained, optimal results.