Did you know that June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (#MHAM)? If you suffer from headaches, you are not alone. In fact, 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches at some point in their lives and over 13% of those suffering from migraines. Headaches are common, but they are not normal.
Headaches can range from a dull ache to so intense that you can become debilitated. The impact some people as often as daily and others occasionally. Headaches can be triggered by foods, loud noises, bright lights, smells, stress, or a variety of other issues. They often impact our ability to think clearly and make good decisions. They not only impact the person with the headache but all those around them as well.
Different types of headaches
There are three main types of headaches that chiropractors see and treat regularly: tension headaches, migraines, and cervicogenic headaches.
- Tension headaches are very common and are presented as band-like tension around the head and are thought to be the result of muscle tension.
- Migraine headaches are characterized by headaches with light and sound sensitivity, dizziness, and nausea and are often present on one side of the head. Some people take medication for the prevention of headaches or to treat the symptoms during an episode.
- Cervicogenic headaches are thought to stem from an underlying neck problem and do not respond well to medication. They often start from one side of the head and move towards the front and may affect the same-side shoulder or arm.
Medications are often used by those seeking relief and rest in a dark room away from light and sound may also provide some relief, but rarely do either of these approaches address the source of the headache. The good news is that patients receiving chiropractic care to remove the interference of their nervous system have often found relief from their symptoms.
What can you do?
There are a few things you can do to help prevent headaches or relieve your symptoms from home:
- If you spend most of your time in a fixed position such as sitting at a desk, looking at a computer, driving for long periods, playing video games, or looking down at your phone, remember to take a break and stretch every hour. Stretch your head, neck, shoulders, and back through a various range of motion exercises to relax muscles and reduce strain.
- Engage in low impact exercises such as walking or light aerobics
- Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated as dehydration can lead to headaches
- Be aware of when you clench or grind your teeth as this can create tension in the jaw which can lead to headaches
- Practice relaxation techniques and have your partner or a friend give you a massage as these can also help to reduce stress and tension within the body and mind
What can chiropractors do?
Headaches are often the result of unbalanced muscles and tension in the head and upper neck. Over time, your posture breaks down and causes unbalanced muscle tension that pulls on your spine and skull, putting pressure on your nervous system.
Our gentle chiropractic approach seeks to restore your posture and balance muscle tension to free the nervous system to heal your body more efficiently. Our patients often find the frequency and intensity of their migraines and headaches are reduced, enabling them to return to a more normal and enjoyable life.
Chiropractic care is a great option to relieve pain caused by headaches in a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive way compared to prescription medication or over-the-counter medicine. For more information on how chiropractors can help you with your headaches and migraines, contact us today.