Headaches and migraines can occur in people of all ages. While headaches and migraines are common, they are not normal. A headache is any pain in the head. It can affect one side of the head or both. It can wrap around the head or be in a single area. Headaches can be throbbing, sharp, or dull and they can develop suddenly or gradually. It is estimated that 7 out of 10 people experience a headache every year.
Migraines are a much more severe classification of headaches. Women are more often affected by migraines and an approximate 36 million Americans experience migraines. Migraines often cause severe sharp, throbbing, or pulsing pain typically on one side of the head or face. Migraines can last hours to days and can occur suddenly or develop from a lesser headache. Common symptoms associated with migraines include: nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light, smells and sound.
Some people who have migraines also experience an aura. An aura often comes in the form of a visual disturbance such as dark spots or light flashes. People can also suffer from tunnel vision, wavy lines in their vision, or a kaleidoscope of colors in their vision. Difficulty speaking and tingling in the face, arms, or legs can also occur.
Headaches and migraines often have multiple causes including:
- Lack of sleep
- Eye strain
- Skipped meals
- Poor posture
- Muscle tension
- Subluxations of the neck vertebrae
- Subluxations of the cranial bones
Chiropractic is effective at treating headaches and migraines since often times these ailments are caused by spasms in the neck muscles and irritation of the nerves in the neck and cranium. Studies have shown that chiropractic treatment consisting of chiropractic adjustments, soft-tissue therapy, and exercise therapy are more effective than medication in short term headache treatment and as effective as medication long term for the treatment of tension-type headaches. Chiropractic care was also shown to decrease the intensity and frequency of cervicogenic headaches which are headaches generated from the cervical spine and muscles. Studies also indicate that chiropractic adjustments may be as effective as medication in the treatment of migraines.
Common treatments for headaches and migraines performed in our office include:
- Spinal adjustments to the cervical spine (neck) to properly align the joints and take stress off of the nerves
- Adjustments to the cranial bones to allow for proper motion in the bones and release tension in the face and head
- Massage therapy to relax the muscles of the upper back and neck
- Strengthening exercises for the neck, upper back and shoulders to improve posture and remove unnecessary stress on the neck. Good posture is vital for joint health and pain prevention.
- Stretches can be given to do at home to help prevent improper tightening of muscles.
Dr Kelchen can also help you evaluate lifestyle habits that increase your risk of developing a headache. Identifying problem areas makes it possible to replace the negative habits with ones that promote a healthier, happier you!
If you have questions about how our team at Round Lake Beach Chiropractic can help you, please schedule a consultation today.