Headaches can range from mildly annoying to truly debilitating. Up to 90 percent of Americans suffer headaches of some sort during their lives.
These cost productivity at work and school and in more severe cases can be recurrent and just nightmarish to deal with. For many people, the answer lies not with pills and lying down, but with spinal manipulation through a chiropractor. Here is some information about how chiropractic care can help alleviate the throbbing and pounding that comes with headaches.
There are a variety of triggers that cause headaches. These range from such diverse sources as foods, environmental factors such as stress, lights and noise, behavioral issues such as poor sleep, blood sugar issues, over- or under-exercising and more.
Most often, headaches are caused by tension, migraine triggers or are cluster headaches. The vast majority are tension-related and originate in the neck. As people spend more time in fixed postures, tension in the neck, scalp and upper back builds up and results in headaches.
The usefulness of chiropractic care in dealing with headaches is backed up by solid research. This kind of care can be very effective in treating neck and tension-related headaches. A 2001 study out of Duke University in Durham, NC, showed that spinal manipulation resulted in near immediate relief for headaches originating in the neck, and carried very few side effects as well as providing long-lasting symptom relief.
An older study from 1995, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, showed that tension headaches can be effectively treated by chiropractic care and that even those who ceased visits after a few treatments experienced sustained relief.
How Your Chiropractor Helps
A visit to the chiropractor can greatly alleviate tension headaches. During your visit, the doctor will evaluate your spine and perform any necessary manipulation or adjustments to straighten your back and neck and help to alleviate the tension and stress that has built up.
The doctor will also perform a consultation about your lifestyle habits. They may be able to offer advice on nutrition and diet, as well as direct you on proper posture, exercise and relaxation techniques to help relieve the tension that caused the headaches in the first place.
Keeping Headaches at Bay
Following your chiropractic visit, you should engage in lifestyle habits that will help keep headaches at bay. If you spend lots of time sitting or standing in a fixed position, every half hour or so take some time to walk around and stretch. Low-level exercise like this can help relax your muscles, but be warned that hitting the gym hard can have the reverse effect.
If you clench your teeth when stressed, be aware of this and try to avoid it. It can create stress in the jaw and head, which leads to headaches. Finally, stay hydrated! Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to avoid dehydration, which is one of the most common headache triggers.