What causes headaches and how can we treat them?
One in five patients visit Perth chiropractors because they are experiencing headaches. It’s a common complaint, and a frustrating one too. Who has time to deal with throbbing pain in the head?
There are over 300 types of headaches and their causes vary. Injuries can be the culprit, especially injuries to the cervical spine, such as sprains, disc bulges, or muscle strains. A study showed that 20.6% of patients who visited a chiropractor for neck pain also experienced headaches.
But primary headaches (headaches not caused by injury) are sometimes a result of the way we live. Lifestyle factors create muscle tension and sensitive nerve endings in the back and neck which can trigger a headache.
How do you know what type of headache you have? Here are three of the most common headaches we treat.
Different Types of Headaches
Cervicogenic headaches are headaches originating from the cervical vertebrae (neck bones) or muscles in your neck. The pain starts at the base of the neck and radiates to the front. Symptoms include pain in the neck, face and around the eyes, as well as reduced mobility in the neck.
Tension headaches are the most common and severe headaches. They usually feel like a dull pain and tension in your forehead, often described like a clamp squeezing your head. Some patients also experience neck and shoulder pain during a tension headache.
Migraines are another common type of headache. They can be painful and disorienting. Many patients experience throbbing pain, along with other symptoms like loss of vision, sensitivity to light, vomiting, and dizziness.
So what are some of the everyday causes of headaches?
Everyday Causes of Headaches
Forward Head Posture
Whether you work in an office, stand all day, or drive a truck, many of these require unnatural neck movements. Pushing your chin and head forward while at the computer or driving is called a cervical protraction (forward head posture). This posture can cause muscles to tighten and weaken, triggering a tension headache.
Checking a text? Updating your status on Facebook? The rise of technology has made us all look down throughout the day. “Text neck” pushes the weight of your head forward causing the muscles of your neck to contract which creates tension. As the spine’s joints, muscles and nerves are connected to the head, “text neck” can lead to cervicogenic headaches.
Many of our patients seem to experience an increase in tension headaches when they are going through an emotional time or are experiencing stress. The exact reason why stress causes tension headaches is unknown. But it is thought to be from an increase in muscle tension when resting, which makes sense as anyone who has experienced high stress knows the feeling of their body “tensing up.”
How Do Perth Chiropractors Treat Headaches?
Exercises and Stretches
As poor posture can be a cause of headaches, exercises and stretches are a way for patients to improve strength, release tension, and practice better alignment. Your Perth chiropractor will give you a range of exercises and stretches you can do at home to improve your posture.
Our patients experience better recovery when they combine chiropractic care with lifestyle changes. If you work in an office, stand-up stations are better for your posture and reduce the risk of injury. Ergonomic chairs are also a good idea. Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and tension, both triggers of headaches.
Spinal Manipulation and Mobilisation
Spinal manipulation is a manual chiropractic therapy where your Perth chiropractor moves, exercises and massages different muscles and joints. Studies have shown this type of therapy is more effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines than exercises and stretching.
When it comes to migraines, chiropractors are the most common complementary and alternative medicine providers, and studies show the use of chiropractic treatment for other headaches is substantial.
Are your headaches getting you down? Your Perth chiro may be able to help. Call now on (08) 9455 2959 to book an appointment.