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  • Amy Jeffers DC, CACCP

Relief for headaches!


According to the American Chiropractic Association, nine out of 10 people suffer from headaches. Did you know chiropractic care may help reduce headaches? Headaches can come on for many reasons.

Tension headaches are typically caused by stress and usually occur in the afternoon to evening. Muscle tightness associated with tension headaches, may cause a decrease in range of motion and increase in stiffness.

Migraine headaches are vascular headaches, meaning that they occur due to changes in the dilation of the blood vessels. According to Mayo Clinic not a lot is understood about migraines, but there appears to be a connection between serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain, and migraines. There can be many triggers of migraines including certain foods, smells, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives, like MSG and during shifts in hormone levels-especially before and during menstruation, pregnancy. There can also be environmental triggers especially with changes in environmental pressure and sleep disturbance. Medications can also be trigger for migraines. In some cases patients may have classic migraine symptoms where they have aura, which are visual disturbances such as seeing lightening bolts and zig-zags prior to a migraine coming on. People may also get blurred vision, and even nausea and vomiting during a migraine episode.

Cervicogenic headaches are those that originate from the cervical spine or neck. Pressure and irritation on the spinal nerves of the neck can refer pain back up to the head from the neck. Typically pain radiates from the back of the neck, over the head and to behind the eye. Many times cervicogenic headaches can also be caused by stress and also when there is a misaligment, also known as a subluxation, of the vertebrae of the neck.

Sinus headaches are also a common form of headache. Many times they coincide with allergy symptoms and sinusitis (sinus infection). Sinus headaches tend to be more common in the morning and will sometimes refer pain to the jaw and teeth. Sinuses are air-filled spaces in the skull and can become filled with mucous during infection or with allergic reaction.

Chiropractors are trained in neurology and can do neurologic and orthopedic tests to determine which type of headache you may be experiencing. With all of the headache types listed here, chiropractic adjustments may be beneficial. Adjustments help to take pressure off of nerves, which may help to reduce headaches. For more information on research studies showing a reduction of headache severity and frequency click here.

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