Almost everyone gets a headache at one time or another. They can manifest in many ways, as some people feel most of the pain behind their eyes, while others feel a pounding pain in their entire head. Some may experience additional symptoms, like nausea. The pain may be dull or sharp, and it can last for just a few minutes or as long as several days. However, only a few headaches have major underlying causes that necessitate medical attention.
Various Types of Headaches
There are several kinds of common headache, such as migraine, tension, and cervicogenic headaches. A tension headache typically occurs as a band of stiffness around the entire head, while a migraine headache usually causes pain on one side of the head, followed by sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea.
Cervicogenic headaches typically originate in the neck, but the pain itself is felt in various areas of the face or the head. The causes of this type of headache is not understood, but likely contributing factors include stress, neck stiffness and a family history of headaches.
Treating Headaches with Chiropractic Therapy
Chiropractic techniques consist of active and passive exercises, massage, and spinal manipulation; this care can be utilized to both prevent and manage headaches. Different types of headaches respond differently to chiropractic care.
Cervicogenic headaches are fairly rare, and medication doesn’t help with the pain. There are several chiropractic treatments for this type of headache:
Spinal Manipulation: Controlled force is applied to a specific area of the spine, using hands or a special device. The procedure is done by trained spinal manipulation specialists only. When this pressure is applied, there may be a popping sound as the spine adjusts. The specialist typically focuses on the cervical spine, which makes up the upper part of the spine and the neck.
Joint Mobilization: During this therapy, joints are moved intentionally with the goal of reducing pain and improving movement. This treatment targets the cervical spine when it is used to treat headaches. It helps loosen up stiffness in the joint and bring back a full range of motion, limiting the overall stiffness and pain experienced.
Deep Neck Flexion Exercises: These exercises consist of moving joints and muscles under the assistance of a skilled healthcare professional. The goal is to work to stretch the neck flexor muscles, which are deep in the neck and play a critical support role.
Chiropractic treatment methods for migraines include:
Neuromuscular Massage: This type of massage focuses on specific trigger points in the head, neck, shoulders, and back, and often helps to improve symptoms dramatically. This helps to relax any knots of muscles that are locked up and causing issues.
Multidisciplinary Care: This type of care combines various relaxation techniques, dietary counseling, physical therapy, and stress management, and can help reduce the pain, frequency, and duration caused by these headaches.
Chiropractic treatment for tension headaches consists of:
Low-load craniocervical mobilization: This technique consists of using force that is gentler than full spinal manipulation to various joints of the neck. Ideally, the goal is to work towards a more rhythmic movement of the cervical joints. Stretching may also be utilized as a part of the treatment.
If you need more information about utilizing chiropractic therapy for headaches, or to make an appointment, contact us today.