Headaches can be an extremely debilitating condition, and may prevent those who suffer from them from working, socializing and participating in their regular activities of daily living.
Many adults have headaches that can be helped by chiropractic care. Treatment by chiropractors can help you to decrease your pain from headaches, improve your function, and help you return to daily activities.
Common Types of Headaches:
MIGRAINE – presenting with an intense throbbing or pulsatile sensation on one side of the head that is commonly accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and/or vomiting. Some migraines can be preceded by an “aura” that can present as visual, or sensory.
CERVICOGENIC – pain on one side of the head; associated with neck pain or neck movements.
TENSION-TYPE – pain that is band-like on both sides of the forehead or head, and may be "tightening" in nature.
CLUSTER – attacks of severe, stabbing, pain on one side of the head or by the eye. They come on rapidly and frequently present in “clusters” over a period of time. They may cause redness/watery eye, nasal congestion, droopy eyelid, facial swelling or flushing/sweating. They are often associated with restlessness or agitation.
Your Visit to the Chiropractor
The first thing your chiropractor will do when you visit with a headache is perform a full history and physical exam to rule out major pathologies and then classify your headache into a specific category (from the International Headache Society) and provide you with a diagnosis. Some headaches will require co-management or referral to another healthcare provider.
After diagnosis, you and your chiropractor will come up with a program of care together that will benefit you and suit your needs and preferences. It’s important that you take an active role in managing your headaches, and that includes being a part of the care planning and decision making! These types of headaches are benign and self-limiting, which means that they have no long term harmful effects, and you are only limited by your symptoms. Remaining active, and continuing movement is beneficial to you and important in your recovery.
As a chiropractor, I can provide both hands on treatment and self-management strategies for different types of headaches. Evidence has shown that chiropractic care, including manipulation or mobilization, muscle release/trigger point therapy/massage, and acupuncture are beneficial for the management of headaches. These are often provided in combination with regular exercise, stretching, and strengthening programs. The type of care for each person depends on the headache diagnosis, individual preferences and on the discussion between practitioner and patient.