Headaches are a common source of pain for a large number of Americans. 95% of women and 90% of men have had at least one in the 12 months. And for about 45 million of us, those headaches are chronic.
While a wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications have been developed to relieve this pain, they generally do little to address the underlying cause of the problem. In addition, many of these compounds can have unwanted side effects, particularly if they’re used often, over a prolonged period of time or in combination with other medicines. A growing awareness of both the limitations and risks of pharmaceuticals has led many headache sufferers to explore alternative approaches to managing them, including chiropractic.
Headaches occur for many reasons and can vary greatly in their intensity and duration. They may arise on their own (these are termed “primary headaches” and account for about 90% of all headaches) or be triggered as a result of some other health condition (described as “secondary headaches”). Chiropractic physicians most commonly encounter three types of headaches in their work:
There is a large and growing body of medical research that suggests chiropractic care can be effective in preventing or reducing the frequency and severity of primary headaches. There is also some evidence that it may have benefits for cervicogenic headache sufferers.
Chiropractic manipulation of the spine and neck is used to improve the alignment of the spine and relieve muscle tension. It also reduces nerve irritation and improves vascular flow. Your chiropractic physician may also include massage and other therapies as part of a well-rounded treatment plan. He or she will likely suggest exercise, stretching and relaxation techniques as well as nutritional strategies designed to help prevent future headaches.
If you or someone you know is looking for lasting relief from chronic headaches, we encourage you to call your doctor of chiropractic today. The sooner you make the call, the sooner we can help you put an end to the suffering.
Headaches and Chiropractic. American Chiropractic Association. Accessed August 2011.
Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. AltMD. Accessed August 2011.
Information for Patients. American Headache Society. Accessed August 2011
Research Spotlight: Study of Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Neck-Related Headaches Reports Findings on Dose and Efficacy. National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Accessed August 2011.
National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus. Accessed August 2011.