How a Chiropractor can help ease your head pain.
Headaches are something everyone deals with at some stage. Some people suffer mild headaches that occur now and again, and others suffer severe headaches that can be debilitating.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over half of the world’s adult population suffers from a headache at least once a year. They also describe it as “headache disorder” and it is as a result of various factors that has an effect on everyone. However, headaches are not only singled out to adults but can also affect teens as well as young children.
There are also people who suffer from head pain on a constant basis, seemingly every day for that matter.
The question is, how are headaches caused and why do some people get them all the time and others not?
In this post, we talk about all forms of headaches and the possible causes, because while they induce pain, major health concerns relate to some of their occurrences.
What are headaches?
The level of pain experienced differs from one person to the next; however, head pain is one of the leading causes of why many people across the world consult their physician.
Depending on what is causing the headache and the type of headache itself, people have described it as the following:
- A dull pain felt almost far away
- A throbbing or pounding sensation (it can be mild or it can be harsh and can also be a mix of both)
- A band-like “vice” wrapped around the front and or back of the head
- An ache behind the eye and around the eyebrow on one or both sides of the face
Headaches can last anything from an hour to several weeks depending on the cause and type of headache.
What causes them?
As mentioned before, headaches can occur as a side effect due to various factors these include but are not limited to the following:
How they affect your quality of life
Headaches, when at their extreme can be physically incapacitating, because of the pain induced, it makes going about physical or mental tasks difficult.
When headaches reoccur it can sometimes be stress-related, worried about the family, finances, work instability, even health for that matter. People who suffer from anxiety and depression tend to suffer more headaches because of their condition.
The various types of headaches
Headaches can be divided into two categories, namely, primary and secondary.
Primary headaches occur due to structural abnormalities inside the head such as pain-sensitivity and overactivity. When the muscles are tightened due to stress or incorrect posture, for instance, it influences the chemical activity in the brain. Primary headaches would include migraines, tension, and cluster headaches.
Secondary headaches occur because the pain-sensitive nerves in the head are stimulated through another substance. These may include alcohol, smoking, panic attacks, brain tumour, concussion, dehydration, and blood clots to name a few.
This type of head pain often resists treatment and medications. They can become worse over time and can cause the patient to suffer from disorientation or confusion.
It’s crucial to seek medical assistance if you suspect that you’re suffering from a secondary headache. However, it’s also good to make positive lifestyle changes to improve and rid yourself of any form of headache disorder.
Migraines can be recognized for their throbbing, pulsating, sensations and sometimes the pain is accompanied by blurred vision, and or nausea.
Some patients have reported to experience seeing “auras”. An aura, when accompanied with a headache is almost like a coloured pattern, zigzag lines and even blind spots.
Auras sometimes come on before an actual migraine. The pain of a migraine usually occurs on one side of the head and can be mild or server. Migraines are more common in women than men as a result of hormonal changes. Migraines can last up to 3 days in some patients.
Tension headaches are common among patients who suffer from headache disorders. They can occur at the start of the day and gradually build up throughout the day. This is a headache mostly described as if a tight band has been wrapped around the patient’s head.
The pain can also seem dull and can affect both sides of the head. The pain when severe can also radiate from the head down toward the neck and shoulders and vice versa. Tension headaches can last several days, even up to 3 months.
Medication overuse headaches are also sometimes referred to as roundabout headaches. These ones occur due to the patient’s overuse of pain medication for the headaches, by which the body then relies on the meds to overcome the pain.
Medication overuse headaches or “MOH” is another common type of headache suffered from patients with headache disorders. Just like migraines, these headaches are more common in women than in men. These headaches can often cause relentlessness, sleeplessness, neck pain and congestion in some patients.
Cluster headaches can occur one to several times a day and can be recurring for weeks, even months. However, people who suffer from cluster headaches can also be headache-free for an entire year. Cluster headache pain is commonly described as a sense of burning and occurs on one side. These aches often affect one eye and are usually severe.
Thunderclap headaches are the most intense and most painful headaches, that only takes a matter of seconds to increase to maximum pain.
They are caused by neurological symptoms such as Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis, Subarachnoid haemorrhaging, Stroke, severely raised blood pressure (Hypersensitive emergency) and meningitis amongst others. As the name suggests it is quick, sharp and extremely painful.
While resorting to pain medications may help momentarily, often times, people become dependent on the pain medications to relieve their headaches. Codeine is one of many habit-forming ingredients that are found in some pain medications designed to treat headaches.
Some patients may resort to ice packs, meditation and ways of relaxing to ease their headaches without drugs.
Chiropractic treatment has since its discovery, been focused on the nervous system and how the body is able to send signals effectively without the hindrance of subluxations.
When the nervous system cannot function properly, it can cause headaches to occur as the body’s way of dealing with the fluctuations in hormones. Chiropractic is an effective, non-invasive, and a natural solution.
Examination by your chiro
A chiropractor will commence with specific examinations to determine the source of the headache. Thereafter he or she will decide what chiropractic treatments may work most effectively.
In many cases, the misaligned spine and vertebrae cause headaches because the nervous system cannot properly communicate and send the correct signals throughout the body.
Many chiropractors use acupuncture to effectively relieve headaches and to restore the energy and chemical balance within the body. Balancing your body’s natural energy goes hand-in-hand with spinal alignment.
Spinal adjustments have shown positive results for natural healing procedures regarding headaches, neck pain, and other pain management. Chiropractors strategically place the needles on nerve points, which in some patients results in immediate pain relief. Other patients may require a few sessions for results.
You may feel nervous to consult your professional for chiropractic treatment because you’re not sure about the pain of acupuncture or the back adjustments and so forth. The thing is it differs for everyone. In your consultation with your chiropractor, you can raise your questions.
In this way, he or she will be able to set your mind at ease that the process will be more helpful than painful and you can have the peace of mind going in.
As mentioned before, treatment varies for every patient. The time duration also differs from one patient to the next and is discussed between you and your chiropractor.
If you had the choice of alternative treatments opposed to habit forming and heavy-laden side effects from meds, wouldn’t you opt for the organic way? Life is full of stressful situations and we cannot always avoid the problems we face.
However, a natural solution to a better, healthier you have to be the most beneficial in the long-term.
Even if you weren’t being treated for a headache, a chiropractic approach has many benefits from restoring chemical balance and energy to relieving pain and managing various health-related concerns.