Are My Headaches Normal?

Are My Headaches Normal?

Unfortunately almost everyone has experienced a headache at least once in their life. Many people struggle with headaches on a regular, or even daily basis. Sometimes headaches are dull and not completely debilitating, so we just learn to deal with them. We pop an over the counter pain killer, take a nap, massage our temples, drink some extra water, and carry on with our lives- but here is the thing, you don’t have to live like that

The Headache Myth

There are a variety of reasons why headaches occur: stress, diet, accidents, poor posture, staring at a screen for too long, accidents, etc. 

Want to know the simple truth? Your problem isn’t actually a headache, headaches are just a symptom, an alarm signaling that there is a problem somewhere in your body. Sadly many people just mask the symptom with a Tylenol or Excedrin, instead of actually treating the problem.

SO to answer the original question, NO, no your headaches are not normal. In fact they are trying to tell you that something is wrong.

Ok then Dr. Amber, What is happening?

Headaches vary in symptoms and intensity. Maybe you have experienced a headache that felt like pounding at the back of your head, or maybe you've had one that went behind your eyes, or maybe you have had one where you feel like you have a band around your head. Several types of headaches are tied to the musculoskeletal system. Often times they are a result of injuries or wear and tear on joints, muscles, tendons, or nerves. Research suggests that those with musculoskeletal abnormalities are more susceptible to developing a headache. Chiropractors are experts in the musculoskeletal system, and we use adjustments to remove misalignments in the spine. Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments are very effective at treating headaches. 

A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that "spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than commonly prescribed medications." These findings support an earlier study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that found spinal manipulative therapy to be very effective for treating tension headaches.

When I have a patient come into the office complaining of headaches, I start by doing a full exam. There are certain headaches that do require immediate medical attention, so it is important that we get those patients to where they need to be. We discuss health history, what makes the headaches better, what makes them worse, we do orthopedic exams, evaluate posture, and often times take digital x-rays. It is very common that we find a problem in the cervical spine, especially in the upper cervical spine. While malposition in the cervical spine may be the root cause of the headaches, muscles also play a huge role in contributing to the dysfunction. Tight, tense, muscles (known as hypertonicity) or spasms are linked to pulling vertebra out of place. Sometimes it is the tight musculature that cause a misalignment in the spine, ultimately leading to a headache.

Living Headache Free 

So… will chiropractic care help you?

Headache complaints are one of the top reasons that patients come to my office and seek care. The great part is that many patients have amazing, almost immediate results. The combination of chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue work, and posture changes tend to resolve many of the issues that people struggle with on a daily basis. 

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