Approximately 15% of the US population experiences migraines and up to 50% suffer from various types of recurring headaches, but the good news is that chiropractic care can help! Of course, the first thing to do is find a cause or trigger for your headaches/migraines. Many times the cause is unknown and the best way to combat them is to minimize the symptoms and lesson the duration.
There are many types of headaches from various origins; tension, sinus, migraine, etc. A very common headache is called cervicogenic, which means it starts in your neck. Usually the joints in your neck move freely and independently giving you a large range of motion. Sometimes, muscle tightness and joint restrictions in the upper cervical spine give you a cycle of stiffness, tightness, inflammation, nerve tension, and pain. Cervicogenic symptoms begin near the base of the skull and travel up and over the top of the head towards your eyes, usually on one side, but sometimes both. Pain is typically deep and continuous while fluctuating in intensity. In some instances the pain can travel in the shoulder and upper arms. Cervicogenic pain episodes usually last between hours and days and patients report neck stiffness with these headaches. Any headache deserves attention. Certain symptoms can suggest a more threatening origin such as: a headache with severe onset, a new or unfamiliar headache, significant neck stiffness, fever or rash, numbness or tingling in face or arms, lightheadedness, dizziness loss of consciousness, difficulty, swallowing, and/or walking. Any of those symptoms can show a more serious underlying condition that should be addressed with your primary care physician or an emergency department.
Fortunately, most headaches are more benign in origin and chiropractors have effective tools to help you recover:
- Specific adjustments to restore movement to restricted upper cervical segments
- Myofascial release to strip out trigger points and adhesions that have developed in the neck and shoulders
- Therapeutic exercises to minimize the chance of reoccurrence
Since cervicogenic headaches arise from a mechanical source, many over-the-counter pain medications and other prescription medications often fail to resolve the condition. Fortunately, a well rounded chiropractic approach works because it addresses the main causes of the problem.
If you or someone you know sufferers from chronic headaches and/or migraines, please let them know that we’re here to help! Contact Metro Family Chiropractic today at 248-265-3330.
Source: Wayne PM, Bernstein C, Kowalski M, Connor JP, Osypiuk K, Long CR, Vining R, Macklin E, Rist PM. The Integrative Migraine Pain Alleviation through Chiropractic Therapy (IMPACT) trial: Study rationale, design, and intervention validation. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. 2020 Jan 22:100531.