Headaches and migraines are very prevalent disorders which are estimated to affect 5 million people in Australia annually. That’s 20% of the country’s entire population! Headaches can have a huge impact on your life. Not only can they be severe in pain but they can cause you to feel many other symptoms too. Blurred or double vision, light-headedness, nausea, sensitivity to light or noise can also feature alongside the pain. Common remedies for both include painkillers, heat packs, lying down in the dark, changing pillows and avoiding eating certain foods or drinks. These may help you to feel more comfortable at the time but for some people, this is a frequent occurrence, what could be the underlying cause and how can Chiropractic treatment help?
Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors. Hydration, eyesight, posture, stress, hormones and muscle tension to name a few. There are over 150 types of headache of which the most common are tension headaches and migraines. To make sure that your headache is something we can help with, we will ask you a variety of in depth questions related to their occurrence, duration, frequency, severity and triggers. If we believe that there could be a more serious underlying cause of your headache then we will make sure that you are referred to your GP for further investigation.
Chiropractors can help with a category of headaches called cervicogenic. These are secondary headaches which means they exist because of another issue originating from the neck possibly due to muscular stress, postural tension or joint dysfunction.
To treat your headaches we will look at your upper back and neck as a whole entity. Many of the muscles that are found in the neck also span the upper back as well. In addition, the body may be compensating for a joint dysfunction further down the spinal complex so it is important to assess it in its entirety. Evidence suggests that people who have undergone Chiropractic care for this issue are less likely to use medication because of decreased duration, frequency and disabling effects of their headaches. Research reviews suggest that a combination of manual therapy and conditioning programs appear most efficacious in long-term prevention and control of headaches.
Migraines account for one fifth of all headaches and are described as a complex disorder characterised by recurrent episodes of headaches. Although the cause is still under investigation, there are many hypotheses relating to the sensitivity and response of certain structures in the brain to environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors.
New evidence suggests that a considerable trigger of migraines is stress which can manifest in physical form in the body. Chiropractic treatments have been found to reduce the effects of migraines both short term and long term in individuals who suffer and report stress as a major factor. We will use traction and gentle muscle stretching prior to adjustments to reduce pressure on the joints and improve their mobility. In addition, we will test the functional muscles surrounding the neck and give you stretches and or exercises to help improve your neck strength.