Can you remember the last time you experienced a headache? It could have been a mild ache that eased fairly quickly without the need for medication, or a serious and debilitating pain that required medication to give you adequate relief. Either way, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that headaches are very common. Studies suggest that 9 out of every 10 U.S. adults will suffer from multiple headaches during their lifetime, and some people are much more susceptible to them than others, experiencing a dozen or more per year. There are lots of different types of headaches and they can be caused by a wide range of factors from stress and poor sleep to loud noises and bright lights.
Headaches are often accompanied by neck pain and stiffness. This is because the majority of headaches are what are known as ‘tension headaches’. Tension headaches cause mild to severe pain that is experienced in the head, behind the eyes, and in the head. Even other types of headache can cause the patient to experience a range of other debilitating symptoms, including neck pain. In fact, some headaches actually originate from the neck area and are the result of muscle tension experienced in this area. This is particularly the case in patients who spend a good deal of time in one fixed position, such as at a computer or bent over a workbench. Such positions, particularly when combined with poor posture, can increase joint irritation and cause muscle tension in the neck, upper back, and head. Fortunately, chiropractic treatment can help.
There are various chiropractic techniques that have been shown to have a positive effect in the treatment of headaches and neck pain. These include:
Research has shown that spinal manipulations, which are one of the primary techniques used by chiropractors, is an effective treatment option for headaches as a standalone problem, and headaches that are combined with neck pain. Spinal manipulations, also referred to as adjustments, are short movements of pressure or force that applied to your spine in order to bring all the bones into perfect alignment, thus reducing pressure on some of the nerves or other surrounding structures that could be causing pain and further symptoms. Since the spine extends from the neck right down to the tailbone, some of these adjustments may be carried out in the upper back and cervical spine, which are the vertebrae found in the neck.
Electrotherapy, also known as electronic stimulation, is a technique that uses mild electrical currents to disrupt the transmission of neural pain signals into the brain. In doing so it effectively slows down or distracts the message from the nerve to the brain, eliminating patient discomfort. Despite how it sounds, the treatment is painless, and it can significantly help to reduce shoulder, neck, and head pain.
Massage is another popular chiropractic technique and one that is particularly effective for helping to alleviate tension that is held in the muscles, often as a result of stress. Massage boosts blood flow, sending oxygenated blood around the body so that it can reduce inflammation and promote healing. It will also release tension from the muscles so that they can relax. Massage that focuses on the upper back, shoulders, and neck will reduce neck pain and associated headaches.
If you would like to find out more about how chiropractic treatment can help to alleviate headaches and neck pain, please contact our expert team today.