Headaches may seem like a part of normal life. Almost everyone has had at least one headache, and many people experience reoccurring headaches. It is estimated that 20 MILLION Americans will see their doctor each year because of a headache. Headaches are a symptom, and they are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. The most common type of headache is the tension headache, but there are also many other types of headaches. In order to effectively treat headaches, they must be correctly diagnosed.
Migraines are typically thought of as the terrible headaches. They usually cause pain on one side of the head, feel throbbing, and cause an increased sensitivity to light and noise. Some migraines are preceded by a prodrome. The prodrome warns you that a headache is coming. The most common kind of prodrome is a visual change, such as seeing flashes of light, spots, or having tunnel vision.
Most migraines can be triggered by certain foods. These food triggers (like cheese, nuts, chocolate, and citrus fruits) tend to bring on migraine headaches. By learning what your migraine triggers are, you can avoid starting up a migraine and possibly reduce the number of migraines you have. Some migraines are also triggered by hormonal changes and stress. Therefore, learning how to effectively manage your stress can be important in reducing the number of migraines you have.
Finally, many people have found that having a chiropractic adjustment of the neck during the prodrome or in the early stages of a migraine can reduce the severity of the headache and the length of time they experience the headache. In fact, some migraine suffers have found that regular chiropractic adjustments decrease the frequency and severity of their migraines all together.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Tension headaches often involve the entire head, and particularly the temples and the base of the skull. In fact, a common pattern of pain for tension headaches is the pain starts at the base of the skull and goes up over the head and into the temples.
Tension headaches are associated with tightness of the muscles in the neck and shoulders. Stress, which can also cause neck and shoulder muscle tightness, is also related to tension headaches. Many people report that stress is actually what seems to bring on their headaches.
Also, tension headaches tend to occur later in the day, especially after work related stress has occurred. Another reason tension headaches occur later in the day is the way most people sit at their desk. Most people sit with their shoulders slightly rolled forward and their head slightly forward instead of centered over the shoulders. This position strains the muscles in the neck and shoulders and results in the muscle tightness that is often found in people with tension headaches. This position also changes the normal alignment of the bones in the neck. When the bones of the neck are out of alignment the muscles, nerves, and joints do not work properly. This creates even more strain in the neck and makes tension headaches much more common.
Since tension headaches are so common, what are some of the things you can do to relieve them? Most people will take an aspirin or Tylenol. While this will temporarily relieve the pain, chronic use of these drugs can be damaging to the body. Aspirin has been found to cause damage to the lining of the stomach and can result in ulcers. Tylenol, when taken in large quantities, can cause damage to the liver.
To relieve tension headaches without medicine, there are some approaches you can try for yourself. Learning and using good stress management techniques is important to reducing the occurrence of tension headaches. Also, taking a break while working to stand up straight, roll your shoulders back to a neutral position, and slightly tuck your chin down will help normalize your posture. Returning your posture to a normal position will help reduce the tightness that develops in the muscles of the neck and shoulders, and may possibly reduce your tension headaches.
If you have tried these approaches and you are still experiencing tension headaches, it may be time to seek outside help. Many people experience relief of their tension headaches through chiropractic care. Often, the bones of the neck are out of alignment or the joints in the neck are not moving properly. Gentle chiropractic adjustments to the neck can realign the bones and restore proper motion to the joints. Through chiropractic care, many tension headache sufferers experience a decrease in intensity of their headaches and a decrease in the frequency of their headaches. When under regular care, some people eliminate their tension headaches completely.
To determine if chiropractic care could help you relieve your headaches, or to speak with a chiropractor in the Edwardsville, IL area, call Dr. Emily Brueggeman at 618-692-0000 . Ask for a free Invitation to Health which includes a consultation and screening to determine if your case is a chiropractic case.