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How Chiropractic Can Help Headaches

woman with a headacheWhen you have a pounding headache, the most important thing on your mind is probably getting it to stop. Many treatments are available to help with headaches. Some are medications, which can be either over-the-counter or by prescription. Other treatments are lifestyle modifications, including nutrition and hydration.

Chiropractic care also plays a role in helping to manage headaches. As a licensed chiropractor in the Chesapeake region of Virginia for more than 20 years, I have helped many patients overcome their headaches. In this article, I will discuss how chiropractic care can help get rid of your headaches.

Can Chiropractic Treat Headaches?

Evidence shows that chiropractic can help headaches, especially migraines and cervicogenic headaches.

In addition to providing specialized treatment for these headache subtypes, your chiropractor can also help you make lifestyle modifications to reduce your headache risk. These include:

  • Stretching: If you spend a lot of time working in a seated position, make sure to take a break and stretch your head and neck every half an hour. By going through the whole range of motion of your head and neck, you can lower your chances of getting a headache.
  • Exercise: Specifically, low-impact exercise like walking can help relieve headaches.
  • Remember your teeth: Stress inside your jaw from clenching your teeth can cause headaches. When the upper and lower teeth touch, there is stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) which connect your jaw to your skull, causing headaches. Make sure your upper teeth avoid touching your lower teeth, except when swallowing.
  • Hydration: Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day can help you avoid dehydration, which can cause headaches.Chiropractic and Migraines

Migraines are headaches that are unilateral, meaning they occur on one side of the head. Usually, a person with a migraine will have other symptoms like sensitivity to light and sound. Most migraines last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, and can happen rarely or frequently, depending on the person.

Most people with migraines have noticed that they are triggered by a variety of things. Triggers can vary from person to person. However, in 38% of people with migraines, the headaches are triggered by neck pain.

A chiropractor is in a unique position to both assess and treat neck pain. As a spine care specialist, a chiropractor can both evaluate and treat the root cause of neck pain. By treating the cause of the neck pain, instead of just masking the pain, a chiropractor may be able to help minimize or cure both the underlying neck pain as well as the migraines that the pain leads to.

Studies show that chiropractic care can help treat migraines. Specifically, a chiropractor can help patients with migraines:

  • Have more migraine-free days than patients who don’t see a chiropractor
  • Have migraines that cause less pain compared to migraines in patients who don’t see a chiropractor
  • Rely on less medication to treat their migraines than patients who don’t see a chiropractor
  • Notice improved anxiety about migraines compared to patients who do not see a chiropractor

Chiropractic and Cervicogenic Headaches

A cervicogenic headache is a recurrent headache that starts with one-sided neck pain. Often, a cervicogenic headache will set in after neck movement. Many people with cervicogenic headaches notice that they have a reduced range of motion in their neck as well as muscle tenderness.

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by irritation of the spinal nerves C1, C2, and C3, which are located in the neck. These nerves relay pain signals in the head and neck. Cervicogenic headaches can be worsened by conditions like:

  • Neck trauma
  • Whiplash
  • Strained muscles
  • Muscle spasms in the scalp, neck, or shoulders

Medications tend to not work well to treat cervicogenic headaches. However, chiropractic care can benefit people with this headache subtype. A chiropractor can optimize the biomechanics of the spine and treat any underlying neck or muscle conditions that exacerbate cervicogenic headaches. This can improve both the cervicogenic headache as well as the spinal problem that may be the root cause of the condition.

Managing Your Headaches With Precision Spinal Care

As a certified NUCCA chiropractor and spine management physician, I work closely with you to improve your headaches.

To accomplish this, during your first visit, I will do a thorough examination. Afterward, I will go over my evaluation with you in detail. Together, we will set reasonable expectations and milestones. We will also put together a treatment plan that meets your care needs, taking the root cause of your headaches into account. I will reevaluate you to make sure you are meeting your goals.

My experience and expertise in spinal biomechanics allow me to competently and safely address your back and neck issues. I am a trauma and hospital-qualified spine management physician. I have credentials in MRI spine interpretation, spinal biomechanical engineering, and orthopedic testing through the Academy of Chiropractic. I am also a fellow in Spinal Biomechanics and Trauma which is recognized through the SUNY Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine.

If we determine that chiropractic is not the best solution for your needs, I will recommend the type of specialist who is most appropriate for you. I may also recommend other specialists that can be used in conjunction with chiropractic care to help you meet your needs.

We understand that you need to explore all your options when you are trying to treat your pain. At Precision Spinal Care, we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs and discuss all the options with you and your family.

Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak to the doctor or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment online.

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