What causes a headache?

Many things can cause headaches. Headaches can be caused by smells, sounds, trauma, high blood pressure, and a whole host of various conditions. However, one of the main causes of headaches is spinal misalignments (subluxation) accompanied by muscle tensions from the neck and upper shoulders. These are called a cervicogenic headache. Many times, these headaches can be a byproduct of whiplash, neck injury or muscle trauma due to poor prolonged posture or even stress. This type of headache can produce soreness and pain in any of the following locations: base of the skull, above the ears, in the temples, or above the eyes. People often blame this type of a headache on their sinuses. Although one might feel the pain in one or more of these locations, the headache is actually caused by a problem in the neck.

If we first look at the commonalities between migraines and the most common kind of a headache, cervicogenic headaches, we can then discuss the unique symptoms. Men and women alike can experience these types of headaches. Both migraines and cervicogenic headache sufferers complain of various symptoms ranging from pain, head throbbing, nausea, phonophobia (sensitivity to sound), and photophobia (sensitivity to light). Often the symptoms of cervicogenic headaches are confused with migraine headaches.

How can we help eliminate or decrease headaches?

Chiropractic treatment has been shown effective in the treatment of headaches! There are numerous research studies that prove that chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to treat both cervicogenic and migraine headaches without drugs.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 14% of the public who see chiropractors presently go for headaches. Most people have dramatic results and become completely headache free. Some migraine sufferers find complete relief. Researchers at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Minnesota, compared chiropractic care to certain drug therapies used for tension and migraine headaches.

The study, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, followed 218 headache sufferers who were given either chiropractic care or drug therapy or both. The pain was reduced 40 – 50% in all groups initially. However, four weeks after all care was stopped, only the chiropractic group still retained the benefits, while those who received the drug therapy lost about half of their improvement.

What can I do to ease my headaches?

It depends on the individual. After performing a thorough examination and looking at x-rays, it is possible to determine what treatment need to be performed. Many times, treatment is a combination of chiropractic and home care, without the use of drugs, to help prolong the beneficial effects of the chiropractic adjustments and keep the headaches from coming back as often or at all.