Headaches and Migraines
Headaches are a very common problem nowadays. Many people consult with a Chiropractor for headaches or for migraines. There are several types of headache that are common and respond very well to chiropractic care. On top of this, chiropractic care has been shown to be an effective way to manage migraines by reducing their frequency and intensity.
What Are Migraines?
Migraines are headaches that can cause severe, throbbing pain. Migraines are often accompanied by other symptoms such as sickness and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines generally last between four and 72 hours. Many migraine sufferes also experience “auras”, which are visual symptoms that signal a migraine is coming on. Migraines are most common in women between the ages of 10-40.
Why Do Migraines Develop?
As of yet, the cause of migraines is not fully understood. It is suspected that they result from abnormal brain activity. This would affect the way nerves communicate as well as chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. Genetics appear to make someone more sensitive to common triggers that can cause migraines.
The common triggers are:
- Hormonal changes (such as during menstruation)
- Emotional triggers (stress, anxiety, shock)
- Physical causes (tiredness, shoulder or neck tension, poor posture, overexertion)
- Triggers in diet (Alcohol, caffeine, foods chocolate, cheese, citrus fruits)
- Medications (Sleeping pills, HRT)
- Environmental triggers (Flickering screens, strong odours, second hand smoke)
What Are Tension Headaches?
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache in the 21st century. Tension headaches are felt as a painful band across the forehead and the eyes. Sometimes they feel like a compressive band around the head, as if the head itself is being squeezed.
Patients consulting with a chiropractor for tension headaches will typically respond very quickly, often becoming painfree in just a few sessions.
How Do Tension Headaches Develop?
The most common cause of tension headaches is an accumulation of stress, both physical and emotional. The muscles in the back of the head and neck become very fatigued when we sit staring at phones or computers for too long. As a result of this, they tend to tighten up and start to cause pain. Pain from these muscles is often felt as a tension headache.
Similarly, when we are very stressed at work or with our day to day lives, we tend to subconsciously start tightening up a lot of the muscles in our neck and shoulders. This gathering of physical stress then causes a tension headache.
How Can Headaches and Migraines Be Treated?
Due to the fact that headaches and migraines are caused by and exacerbated by tight shoulder and neck muscles, the treatment we perform for these problems is centred on these areas.
Chiropractors work with the body to get it back to functioning at it’s best. We are therefore perfectly trained to help reduce the pain and frustration that headaches cause.
Releasing the tight muscles in the neck and shoulders, as well as any stiff joints in the neck and upper back can help to dramatically reduce the general tension across the shoulders. This results in better movement and reduced headache intensity and frequency.
Treatment With Our Chiropractor for Headaches and Migraines
We use these to improve the movement through any stiff joints in the neck, upper back or shoulders.
There are various soft tissue release techniques we use for patients with headaches and migraines.
Headaches can be related to posture and muscle tension, so home stretches are an essential part of the recovery process.