Headaches are one of the most common types of pain that people experience regularly and while this has become accepted as the norm it actually is not. Researchers estimate that 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headache pain at some point in their lifetime, helping to put the sales of pain medication through the roof raising profits for pharmaceutical companies while never truly addressing the underlying cause.
Both the frequency and severity of headaches vary greatly from individual to individual. They range from occasional to constant and from mild to severe and debilitating. Some are bad enough to cause nausea and become crippling, keeping the sufferer from being able to work and enjoy leisure activities. Although painkillers are typically the first resort for those suffering from a headache, chiropractic care can help lessen both the incidence and severity of this condition, albeit more effectively and safely.
Approximately 95% of headaches fall into a category referred to as “primary headaches”. These are typically caused by tension in the muscles in the neck area or a misalignment of the neck vertebrae. A primary headache refers to the kind of headache that is not a symptom of some other underlying illness. As most of us are aware of the average American by default engages in very sedentary activities. Their posture is neglected for hours at a time in a fixed position usually at a desk. This will cause tremendous amounts of muscle tension in the head and neck, upper back region, and shoulders causing further irritation to these joints leading to dysfunctional movement patterns and ultimately a headache.
As a chiropractor we evaluate the musculoskeletal system to determine the root cause of the headache symptoms. Nine out of ten times it is directly related to misalignment, muscle tension, and nerve irritation. The nerve fibers at the base of the neck that connect with the spinal cord and brain become irritated due to muscle tension or to misaligned vertebrae pressing on the spinal cord. A study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland found that there was a link between tension in the muscles at the base of the neck and headache pain.
In a study conducted by the New Zealand government, the majority of those suffering recurrent headaches from spinal misalignment found that their headaches were relieved by chiropractic manipulation, and many were found to still be pain-free in the two-year follow-up. A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulation such as that used by chiropractors is more effective and longer-lasting for treating tension headaches than the use of commonly prescribed pain medication.
If you are one of the unfortunate headache sufferers and are tired of dealing with this condition you should strongly consider seeing a chiropractor. Depending on your specific condition and circumstances the chiropractor may perform a chiropractic adjustment to alleviate the pressure from the irritated nerves finally giving you long lasting relief from your headache pain. Your chiropractic doctor should also offer recommendations regarding your diet, exercise and ergonomics both at home and at the office, along with proper posture exercises to reduce neck tension.
It is important to understand that doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training specifically to help patients with headache conditions as well as many other musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, "sciatica", shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and many more conditions. There is no reason to suffer needlessly in this day and age with such conservative treatment options available.
Dr. Anthony Rivano has helped thousands of patients in the Morris County region of New Jersey and is available by appointment only. His office is located in Florham Park, NJ. If you or a loved one is suffering with headaches then give the office a call to receive a consultation to discuss your issues.