Is that pain in your head really a pain in the neck? Do you suffer from persistent headaches when sitting at your desk at work? Or does your headache come on when there is added stress in your life? Maybe when you get a migraine you’re in bed for the next 2 days?
These are all common descriptions chiropractors hear when they treat someone who suffers from headaches or migraines. They are an incredibly common problem – in fact in Canada, up to 47% of the Canadian population has reported to suffer with headaches, and an estimated 8.3% of those individuals have been diagnosed with migraines. Migraines are most prevalent between the ages of 30 and 49, and females are twice as more likely to report migraines, than males. The physical and mental toll migraines and other headaches take on those who suffer with them can be quite significant. In fact, 63% of individuals diagnosed with migraines have also been co-diagnosed with depression. Because of the profound impact headaches and migraines have, it is important to seek treatment to minimize their occurrence and their impact.
Some of the more common types of headache we treat at Linford Chiropractic Clinic include cervicogenic headaches, tension-type headaches, and of course, migraines. Cervicogenic headaches originate from the cervical spine (neck), whilst tension-type headaches are related to muscle tension in the forehead, face and neck. Migraines are a neuro-vascular cause of headaches and are related to altered activity of the brainstem and nerve tissue. Some migraines will be accompanied with sensitivity to light and sound, nausea or vomiting.
Your chiropractor will be able to diagnose your specific type of headache according to key characteristics such as:
- quality and area of pain
- severity of pain
- chronicity (length of time you have suffered with headaches) and length of each episode
- regularity of episodes
- the presence or absence of light/sound sensitivity
Research supports chiropractic intervention for all three forms of headache. Recent research suggests the joints, muscles and nerve tissue in the neck may have a significant role to play when it comes to migraines – indicating chiropractic treatment as an option.
At Linford Chiropractic Clinic we assess your headaches and create a customized treatment plan for each individual, as no two headaches are the same. However, to aid in your recovery, there a few commonalties each treatment plan will have:
- Correct diagnosis– On your first visit, we establish a correct diagnosis to direct the most effective care to your headache. Establishing the correct diagnosis early is imperative as several injuries have similar symptoms yet have different treatment protocols. Early treatment will be focused on reducing pain and regaining normal neck range of motion.
- Improving neck joint mobility– Using manual therapy techniques to improve upper neck joint mobility and muscle flexibility will aid your symptoms and help to decrease frequency of your headaches.
- Improving your posture– Your headaches and migraines can be improved by improving your posture. Poor posture can lead to strain on your back and neck muscles possibly leading to headaches and migraine.
- Pillow assessment– A cervical pillow assessment can help ensure that you have the proper pillow to obtain an optimal neck position during sleeping.
- Environmental trigger assessment- A number of environmental triggers have been found to cause headaches and migraines, including, lights, smoke, heat/cold, strong odors, and changes in barometric pressures. Your chiropractic will assess and determine if your headache is a result of environmental influence.
- Food trigger assessment – Food triggers have been found to be a strong trigger for headaches and migraines. Some of the most common culprits include chocolate, citrus fruits, beans, apples, onions and cheeses including blue cheese, brie and mozzarella due to their high levels of tryamine. Your chiropractor may use a food diary to assess if your headaches are being triggered by food and may suggest nutritional adjustments.
- Workstation /work desk set up– Sitting incorrectly at your desk, having the computer screen at an incorrect height could be some of the leading causes of headaches and migraines
- Strengthening program– Your chiropractor will prescribe an exercise program to improve the strength and coordination of your deep neck stabilizers and upper back muscles, which are important for preventing re-injury.
If you or someone you know suffers from headaches or migraines, give Linford Chiropractic a call for treatment that can help manage and resolve your aching head.