Oh, My Aching Head!
Sometimes it starts with a slight prick in the side of your head, or maybe a dull throb around your temples. Other times it comes on fast like a thunderclap in your brain that leaves you incapacitated for the next four hours. If you’re lucky enough to recognize the warning signals of a migraine attack, you know to run for cover in the nearest dimly lit, silent room. If you’re not so lucky, you may end up vomiting in one of the bathroom stalls at work.
- Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches.
- The five main types of headaches are tension, cluster, sinus, rebound, and migraine.
- Migraine attacks can last up to 72 hours.
- Migraine symptoms include fuzzy eyesight, sensitivity to bright light and loud noises, nasal congestion, garbled speech, and extreme nausea.
- Women are three times more likely to experience migraines than men due to biological factors such as hormonal fluctuation.
Despite the widespread prevalence of headaches and migraines, not many case studies have been executed around the subject to better understand their triggers and treatments. Most people resort to over-the-counter or prescription painkillers to relieve their headache and migraine symptoms, though these drugs do not always address the root cause and can produce some nasty side effects.
A Real Pain in the Neck
It may be surprising to some, but headaches are the third most popular reason for chiropractor visits in the United States. According to the American Chiropractic Association, the majority of headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. The lower part of the brainstem sits at the level of the first bone in the neck, and the body’s main blood supply travels up through this area into the brain. Many environmental and mental stressors can cause shifts in the spinal structure which can put intense pressure on this area. The pain from headaches and migraines is often a response to a misaligned spine, also known as a vertebral subluxation.
Professional chiropractors are trained to recognize subluxations and perform spinal manipulations or chiropractic adjustments in order to properly realign the spine and relieve the pressure on the sensitive nerves in your upper neck. The Migraine Treatment Centers of America report that while “spinal adjustments aren’t a cure-all for everyone with migraines…almost a quarter of migraineurs who seek chiropractic care notice a reduction in symptoms of up to 90%.”
Alternative Treatments for Headaches and Migraines
While regular chiropractic adjustments can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines, there are many other steps you can take for prevention and relief.
- Practice good posture: By strengthening the muscles in your neck and upper back, you can guard against reoccurring inflammation and vertebral subluxations.
- Avoid known triggers: Strong perfumes, caffeine, and alcoholic drinks can also cause migraines. Understand what your body reacts to and do your best to avoid those triggers.
- Give High-Intensity Interval Training a try: A new study from the University of Basel in Switzerland shows that migraine sufferers who adopted this exercise strategy reported a significant reduction of migraine days and intensity.
- Take advantage of technology: Several migraine apps are available to help you pinpoint triggers and potentially relieve some of the pain.
- Schedule an appointment today: A visit with one of our chiropractors may be just what you need. We’ll talk with you to understand what stressors may be triggering your attacks and work with you to develop a treatment plan, whether that may be regular adjustments or behavioral and nutritional changes. Call (973) 761-0022 to schedule an appointment or fill out this appointment form online to get started.