Let’s take a look at the two most common types of headaches and how chiropractic headache treatments may help. Most of us have experienced a headache in our lifetime, and for a lot of us a headache is a nearly daily occurrence. Research shows that 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. While majority of headaches respond to treatment with OTC painkillers, some may be a sign of something more serious. However, any headache that occurs regularly, regardless of its response to painkillers, should not be ignored.

Chiropractic Headache Treatments for Migraines

1. Migraines are characterized by intense throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. Additionally, the person may experience a heightened sensitivity to light, sound and smell, nausea and vomiting. About a third of people may experience something called “aura” before the onset of a headache – these are visual and sensory disturbances, i.e., partial loss of vision, pins and needles, numbness and muscle weakness. Migraines tend to be recurrent, and are three times more common in females than in males. Triggers of migraine headaches include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Hormonal changes
  • Skipped meals
  • Dehydration
  • Certain foods (such as red wine and aged cheeses) and some medications
  • Bright lights and loud noises.
  • Constipation

Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin can stop headaches or reduce pain and duration. Attacks may also be eased by:

  • resting in a dark, quiet place
  • placing an ice pack or a cold cloth on the forehead
  • drinking water

People with chronic migraines should seek preventive treatment, i.e., dietary changes, vitamin and herbal supplements, acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. A study reported in the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics” in February of 2000, involving 127 participants showed that after two months of chiropractic headache treatments, 22 percent of the participants reported more than a 90 percent reduction of their migraines. These participants said they had significantly fewer migraines and a shorter duration of the ones they got.

Chiropractic Headache Treatments for Tension Headaches

2. Tension Headaches present as a dull, constant pain felt on both sides of the head lasting 2 hours to days, if left untreated. Other symptoms can include:

  • tenderness or tightness of the face, head, neck, shoulders and upper back
  • a feeling of pressure behind the eyes
  • sensitivity to light and sound

Potential triggers include:

  • dehydration
  • loud noise
  • stress, anxiety and depression
  • muscle tension
  • lack of exercise
  • poor sleep
  • poor posture
  • eye strain

Tension headaches respond well to OTC painkillers, i.e., ibuprofen and aspirin. Lifestyle changes and certain treatments may help prevent tension headaches. These can include:

  • getting enough sleep
  • drinking 8-10 8oz glasses of water per day
  • regular exercise and stretching
  • improving sitting and standing posture
  • chiropractic adjustments to improve alignment of the spine and reduce muscle imbalances
  • having an eye test
  • deep tissue massage
  • management of stress, anxiety, or depression through yoga and meditation
  • acupuncture

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