We often treat patients with migraines and headaches in our New City chiropractic office. If you are suffering from tension, migraine, cluster or cervical headaches, we can provide relief.
Ninety percent of headaches are primary headaches not caused by an underlying condition, including tension, migraine, or cluster headaches, or non-life threatening secondary headaches such as those caused by tension in neck muscles. Today, Americans engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache!
Causes of Headaches
There are two main classes of headaches:
Primary Headaches include tension, migraine and cluster headaches not caused by other underlying medical conditions. More than 90% of headaches are primary.
Secondary Headaches result from other medical conditions, such as pain arising from the neck muscles (cervicogenic), infection, or increased pressure in the skull due to a tumor. They are usually of recent onset and should be diagnosed clinically because some may be life-threatening.
Descriptions of Headache Types
Tension Headaches are the most common, affecting more than 75% of all headache sufferers. Tension headaches usually involve a steady ache, rather than a throbbing one, are described as a feeling of pressure or tightening, may last minutes to days, affect both sides of the head, and do not worsen with routine physical activity. They may also be accompanied by hypersensitivity to light and noise. Some people get tension headaches because of stressful events. Tension headaches may be chronic, occurring frequently or daily.
Rebound Headache may occur among people with tension headaches, as well as in those with migraines. It can be the result of taking prescription or non-prescription pain relievers daily or almost every day, contrary to directions on the package label. If prescription or non-prescription pain relievers are overused, headache may come back as the last dose wears off, leading you to take more pills. Call your chiropractor to break that cycle!
Cervicogenic Headaches come from disorders of the neck. They are often brought on by neck movement and/or sustained awkward head positioning (such as painting the ceiling or washing the floor). The most common cause today is sitting for long periods of time throughout the day behind a desk or working on a computer. There may also be stiffness in the neck or shoulder and arm pain accompanying the headaches.
Migraine Headaches are less common than tension headaches but still afflict 25 to 30 million people in the United States. As many as 6% of all men and up to 18% of all women experience a migraine headache at some time. Migraines may last 4 to 72 hours and involve pain or throbbing on one side of the head. They may be aggravated by routine physical activity. Nausea and sensitivity to light and sound often accompany migraines. In one of five migraine sufferers an “aura” occurs before head pain begins, involving a disturbance in vision and/or an experience of brightly colored or blinking lights in a pattern that moves across the field of vision. Usually, migraine attacks are occasional but sometimes may occur as often as once or twice a week, though rarely do they occur daily.
Cluster Headaches are pretty rare, affecting about 1% of the population. They are different from migraine and tension headaches. Most cluster headache sufferers are male, about 85%. Cluster headaches come in groups or clusters lasting weeks or months. The pain is extremely severe but the attack is brief, lasting no more than a hour or two. The pain centers around one eye, and this eye may be inflamed and watery. There may also be nasal congestion on the affected side of the face. These “alarm clock” headaches may strike in the middle of the night, and often occur at about the same time each day during the course of a cluster. A history of heavy smoking and drinking is common, and alcohol often triggers attacks.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important in identifying the underlying cause for your headaches. In most cases, an in-depth history and physical examination will help determine this. Once properly diagnosed, what are some treatments for Headaches?
Drugs: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be used for an occasional headache, but long-term use can lead to health complications such as gastrointestinal difficulties, liver problems, and kidney failure.
Chiropractic: Chiropractors offer a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare that gets you feeling better quickly, safely, and effectively.
Why Choose Chiropractic for Headache Relief?
According to the International Chiropractic Association, the primary focus of chiropractic is the detection, reduction and correction of spinal misalignments and nervous system dysfunction. Doctors of chiropractic attempt to get to the root cause of a health problem, rather than just treat the symptoms. Chiropractic seeks to maximize the natural strengths of the body and its capacity to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.
Once the cause of your headache has been identified, we will develop a specific management plan to help eliminate your pain based on your individual needs. Chiropractors treat patients with tension-type headaches as well as headaches caused by problems with the joints and muscles in the neck.
Adjustments of the neck, along with stretching and strengthening exercises, have been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of headaches. Massage and other forms of soft-tissue treatment can sometimes be helpful.
The doctors at New City Chiropractic Center are extensively trained in the treatment of headache pain. So, for many, relief is only a phone call away. Contact our office today by call (845) 634-8877 for a complimentary evaluation.