Headaches and Chiropractic Care

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headaches treatment by Vaughan chiropractor at chiroplus

Headaches and Chiropractic Care

If there is one thing out there that can be extremely frustrating, it's bad headaches. From a mild throb to pulsating headaches that make you want to hide in a dark and quiet room, headaches can be caused by a number of reasons. Thankfully, there are methods to help with a sudden onset of a headache, and to treat chronic headaches.

Most Canadians will experience at least one headache in their lifetime, and the reason for the headache can be different from one person to another. Factors that can trigger a headache can range from environmental factors, certain foods, stress, dehydration, technology use, work-related factors and others. However, headaches and pain to the head can actually stem from or referred from muscles, joints, ligaments and/or nerves!

What Causes Different Types of Headaches?

Most people will commonly call a headache a “migraine”, but did you know there are other types of headaches too?

Migraines: We commonly refer to all headaches as migraines, but the exact cause of a migraine is unknown. Research has shown a relationship between our own genetics and environmental factors. Migraines are commonly linked to certain triggers, ranging from hormonal changes, foods and additives, stress, sleep, physical and stimuli, weather changes and certain medications.

Cervicogenic: Headaches that stem from the neck and surrounding structures. Pain can be caused and aggravated with movement in the neck.

Tension-Type: One of the most common headaches stemming from tension in the muscles of the neck and head which can generate pain. Risk factors can include stress, anxiety, poor posture, injuries, eye strain  and others.

Cluster: Like migraines, we haven’t narrowed down an exact cause of a cluster headache. It is theorized that these can be caused by problems in regulating body temperature, blood pressure, hormones or sleep. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are other possible triggers too.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of These Headaches?

Migraines: Intense throbbing and pulsating on one or both sides of the head, accompanied by sensitivity to light and noise, with nausea and sometimes vomiting. Migraines can be preceded by an “aura” that can be presented as flashes of lights or blind spots.

Cervicogenic: Pain typically on one side of the head. Pains can start at the base of the skull and span to the front of the head.

Tension-Type: A constant pain and pressure that will be described as “dull and achy”. Headache pain can be felt on both sides of the head, forehead, temples and even the back of the head. People may commonly describe this as a “tight band around the head”.

Cluster: Commony a severe, stabbing, burning, or explosive recurring pain that is experienced on one side of the head. These headaches have a rapid onset can come in patterns or “clusters” over a given time period. These headaches can sometimes start around or “behind” the eye and people may experience redness or watering of the eye, nasal congestion, facial swelling and sensitivity to light and noise.

How Can Chiropractors and Manual Therapists Help?

Chiropractors are experts in assessing, diagnosing and managing headaches. In some cases, co-management and referral may be the most appropriate plan of management. Recent evidence has shown that chiropractic care consisting of spinal manipulative therapy (or adjustments) can be effective for cervicogenic and tension-type headaches. Further evidence shows that the treatment offered by chiropractors can increase the frequency and intensity of migraines. After a thorough health history and physical assessment, your chiropractor may recommend other forms of manual therapy, modalities and lifestyle recommendations.

If headaches have been impacting your quality of life and you’re interested in finding an effective and natural solution, contact us today!

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