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Banish Those Headaches with Chiropractic and Acupuncture!

Headaches are often dismissed as minor ailments that can be easily cured simply by popping a few over-the-counter pain relievers. Although pain medication may be helpful for occasional headaches, it's not always effective for chronic headache pain. Pain relievers can also cause liver or kidney damage and other serious side effects if you take too many of them. Fortunately, chiropractic care offers a drug-free treatment option. 

What Kind of Headache Do You Have? 

Chiropractors often treat patients who have these types of headaches: 

  • Tension Headaches: Tension headaches occur when the muscles in your neck and head contract and become too tight. You may feel tightness and pain in your forehead only, or the pain may wrap around to the back your head and your neck. The headaches can be caused by stress, poor posture, or even looking down at your cellphone for hours. 

  • Migraine Headaches: Migraine, the sixth most disabling illness in the world, affects 18 percent of women, 6 percent of men and 10 percent of children in the U.S., according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, in addition to other unpleasant symptoms, can affect the quality of your life and make it difficult to work or care for your family. 

  • Cluster Headaches: These extremely painful headaches typically occur on one side of the head and last 10 minutes to several hours. They're called "cluster" headaches because sufferers usually get multiple headaches in one day. The headaches can disappear for months at a time and may reappear at the same times every year. 

How Do Chiropractors Treat Headaches? 

Treatment options depend on the type of headache you have, but may include: 

  • Spinal Manipulation: Manipulation relieves pressure on your joints, realigns your spine, improves blood flow, and helps relax tight muscles. Your chiropractor uses his or her hands or an activator to apply quick, forceful pressure to the vertebrae. Spinal manipulation is particularly helpful if nerve irritation triggers your migraines or cluster headaches. Manipulation relieves pressure on your nerves, easing your pain and reducing the frequency of your headaches. 

  • Spinal Mobilization: Spinal mobilization involves gentle, hands-on pressure that stretches your spine, improves joint function, and helps ease tension in the muscles between the vertebrae. Since tense muscles can be an issue no matter what type of headache you experience, mobilization can be very effective. 

  • Massage: Massage is often included in treatment plans for headaches. The therapy loosens tight muscles, improves range of motion, increases blood flow, and may help reduce the frequency of your headaches. Regular massages also reduce stress, which can be a factor if you get tension headaches. 

  • Acupuncture: One of our primary therapies for chronic stress induced headaches is traditional acupuncture. Dr. Zair has been evaluating patients with the Chinese method of tongue and pulse readings to determine underlying mechanisms triggering head pain. Fine needles are inserted into specific points to release blocked “qi” or energy. 

  • Functional Medicine: Most often, physical or energetic causes of headaches are accompanied by lifestyle habits such as poor stress handling and diet. Hormone imbalances often play a role but are themselves often caused by diet habits. Functional medicine evaluates the whole body’s physiological patterns and how they integrate together to identify controllable factors. Specific dietary and supplementation is recommended to reduce inflammation, clear toxins and restore normal physiology. Our office provides functional medicine consults on site and through telemedicine.  Dr. Dias experienced permanent relief from several years of migraines by combining acupuncture, adjustments and tightening up her own dietary protocol!  

Your treatment plan might include a few other types of therapy, including ice and heat therapy, ultrasound treatment, or electrotherapy. Improving your posture and strengthening the muscles that support your head and neck may also be helpful. Your chiropractor can recommend exercises, make suggestions that will help you improve your posture, and provide advice about a healthy diet. 

Is Chiropractic Treatment Effective? 

In a case series published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, researchers discussed the case of a 31-year-old patient whose migraines become chronic after two pregnancies. After chiropractic treatment, she experienced fewer migraines. During the 10th month, she reported no headaches during the entire month. 

Another case study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care examined the case of a 44-year old woman who suffered from daily headaches that didn't respond to pain medication. During her treatment, spinal manipulation, ultrasound, and other therapies were used. After three months of treatment, her headache pain began to subside. The pain was completely eliminated by six months. 

Are you tired of living with headache or migraine pain? We can help you control your symptoms naturally. Contact us to schedule an appointment. 

Sources: 

Migraine Research Foundation: About Migraine 

https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/ 

American Chiropractic Association: Headaches and Chiropractic 

https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Headaches-and-Chiropractic 

NCBI: Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care: Long-Term Relief from Tension-Type Headache and Major Depression Following Chiropractic Treatment, May/June 2018 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069670/ 

Global Advances in Health and Medicine: Integrating Chiropractic Care into the Treatment of Migraine Headaches in a Tertiary Care Hospital: A Case Series, 3/28/19 

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2164956119835778