Headaches and Chiropractic Care

Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches; in fact this is the reason why upon waking up every morning we all should be consuming a very large glass of water. After sleeping for several hours our body is in need of rehydration.

There are many people who suffer from headaches and they try rehydrating but this does not help. Many people experience nerve irritation which is a common cause of headache pain.  Taking an over-the-counter pain relief pill is not going to solve the underlying problem, this is merely a ‘band aid’ solution. Masking the pain may be ok if you are in a rush or need to be somewhere fast but if you suffer from frequent headaches then there is obviously an underlying issue that must be addressed.

Tension headaches and migraines afflict about 4.5 million Canadians and they spend upwards of $40 million a year trying to seek relief from over-the-counter and prescription medications in a desperate attempt to seek permanent relief. For some individuals taking a pain relief pill works because their headache is stress-related and there are no underlying health ailments. For others, the pain relief pill is merely temporary.

Types of Headaches

Headaches can be the result of a wide variety of causes, such as reactions to a drug, stress, fatigue, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), nerve irritation, high blood pressure, low blood sugar or tightness in the neck muscles.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches tend to be the most common affecting almost three quarters of all headache sufferers. This type of headache feels like a dull feeling that’s achy either on one or both sides of the head; this sensation is often described as a tight feeling or a dull ache behind the eyes or around the head. Tension headaches tend to creep in and can last briefly or for several days. These headaches are often the result of bad posture or stress.

Subluxations are the most common cause of tension headaches. This occurs in the upper back and neck, especially the upper neck. When the top cervical vertebrae lose their normal position or movement, a small muscle (rectus capitis posterior minor) starts to spasm. This small muscle has a tendon which slips between the upper neck and the base of the skull and attaches to a thin pain-sensitive tissue (dura mater) that covers the brain. The brain has no feeling but the dura mater is very pain-sensitive so when that small muscle spasms and its tendon tugs at the dura mater, a headache starts.

Migraine Headaches

Those who suffer with migraines know that these are very intense and are also accompanied with nausea and (or) sensitivity to light or noise. Migraines can last from a few hours to a few days.

Migraine headaches are caused when the blood vessels in the brain constrict and then followed by a dilation of blood vessels. As a result there is decreased blood flow, which leads to visual symptoms (flashing light/aura) that many people experience. Even those who don't experience the aura can tell that an attack is imminent. When the blood vessels dilate in the head, there is a sudden increase in blood pressure. It’s this increased pressure that leads to the migraine. When the heart beats it sends a shock wave through the carotid arteries in the neck up into the brain.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are generally very short in duration yet they are excruciating and usually felt behind the eyes or on one side of the head. This type of headache generally occurs at night. Cluster headaches tend to occur one to four times per day over a period of several days. After one cluster of headaches is over, it may be months or even years, before they occur again.

Can a chiropractor relieve headaches?

Our nervous system is protected by the spine which starts with the brain and becomes the spinal cord. When the vertebrae in the neck are unable to move properly there is pressure on the nerves in that area which can cause headaches. A chiropractor can correct this by gently adjusting the vertebrae. Since most headaches are caused by subluxations a patient will usually feel relief.

How about migraines?

Even though there are differences in the types of headaches, migraines can be treated as well. In fact, chiropractic care has been used for years as an effective treatment for migraines.

When you visit Chiro-Med Rehab Centre to seek help with headaches the first appointment requires a check up. You’ll have your posture and flexibility checked, muscle tenderness, tightness, as well as other non-invasive tests to determine the root cause. After a thorough examination only then can a treatment options be discussed.

Established in 2007 by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has been committed to providing quality health care services to the Greater Toronto Area for over half a decade. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can help you come up with a personalized plan to ensure the long term health of your bones, skeletal system and over all well-being. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, visit Chiro-Med online or call 905-918-0419 or 905-235.2620 for more information.

September 11, 2014
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