Headaches is a very broad term and there are many different causes and types of headache. I will focus on the headaches that are the most common and for which patients seek chiropractic care.
There is the classical migraine headache which is a neurological syndrome characterized by altered bodily perceptions, severe headaches, and nausea. The typical migraine headache is unilateral (affecting one half of the head) and pulsating, lasting from 4 to 72 hours; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), and phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound). Approximately one-third of people who suffer from migraine headaches perceive an aura—unusual visual, olfactory, or other sensory experiences that are a sign that the migraine will soon occur.
You can get cervicogenic headaches, which is pain arising from the cervical spine, neck and upper shoulders. Many times, these headaches can be a byproduct of whiplash, neck injury or muscle trauma due to poor prolonged posture or severe stress. This can be due to tight muscles or a mis-alignment in the neck.
You can get a tension like headache which is sometimes due to stress. Tension-type headache pain is often described as a constant pressure, as if the head were being squeezed in a vise. The pain is frequently bilateral which means it is present on both sides of the head at once. Tension-type headache pain is typically mild to moderate, but may be severe.
The headaches that are mentioned above are all potentially treatable with chiropractic and ART. Through taking a proper history and using orthopaedic exams I will determine what type of headache you’re experiencing and together we will find a possible cause of why you’re getting the headache. Probably 80% will get better with chiropractic treatment and 20% won’t. The 20% that do not get better usually have a trigger such as a behavioral, environmental, dietary, chemical, or hormonal link.
I’ve had a lot of clients who do get headaches on a regular basis and have tried taking pills and have tried acupuncture or massage therapy and they don’t seem to be making an impact on the headaches. They’re still experiencing headaches and they’re not going away. If someone’s looking for alternatives to treat these headaches then I suggest chiropractic. I can work on the soft tissues around the neck and then adjust the neck. A lot of the time it is just a misalignment in the cervical vertebrae that is causing the headaches.