So you tell yourself your headaches are normal: “It only happens if I am tired or hungry.” Or maybe it is constant and debilitating. If you have headaches then I am here to tell you that there is no such thing as a “normal headache.” There are things you can do to help you solve this common problem once and for all.
Stress takes its toll on us every single day, and if you are getting headaches, that means you are not adapting to that stress around you.
Ever since I started practice, I have loved caring for people with this extremely common, potentially debilitating disorder. In fact, my mother suffered from debilitating headaches when I was a child, and after decades of suffering chiropractic was finally the answer for her. This was the reason I became a chiropractor!
What Causes Them?
Most headaches originate in the muscles of the neck or the jaw, the result of physical stress on the body. Addressing these muscles with Active Release Techniques helps to improve the texture and movement of the muscles and this alone can alleviate your suffering.
Often times biochemical stress, such as toxins in the environment, toxins in our food, allergens, or something simple like caffeine or alcohol will stress our system resulting in migraines. Consider a strategy to decrease chemical stress such as taking supplements, cleaning up your diet, and avoiding environmental toxins.
And some headaches, of course, are due to emotional stress. Strategies like organizing and meditating can have a positive impact not only on headaches, but on your own personal relationships and productivity.
Taking care of the spine and the nervous system is a big part of our success in caring for people with headaches. In addition to taking care of the spine and nervous system using spinal adjustments, cranial adjustments help the flow of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This is especially beneficial for people who have suffered from concussions.
Does it Matter Where it Hurts?
Absolutely! The most common location is the temples, followed by the front of the head, and some are in the back of the head.
If you have pain in the temples there are 3 things I will look for first:
- trigger points in the trapezius muscles. If I find tender muscles in the trapezius, sometimes it will reproduce headaches immediately. If that’s the case all we need to do is work on those and your headaches will go away. This is common in kids that wear backpacks.
- TMJ (Temporo-mandibular Joint of the Jaw) problems can cause tight jaw muscles. Using Active release Techniques on them can alleviate the symptoms. The Atlas of the spine is very close to the TMJ, so checking the spine is critical.
- Cranial alignment (the bones of the skull) is important if you have pain in the temples. The skull is meant to have minute rhythmic movements with the flow of intracranial fluid and with the muscles attached to the skull. If there is no movement, the additional stresses can result in headaches.
Off the top of my head (lol) here are a few things that can cause frontal headaches
- Sinus problems can cause frontal headaches. Typically you will know if you have sinus headaches but sometimes patients don’t know until we examine them. Often times when people have sinus problems, they also have subluxations in the upper cervical spine.
- The muscles at the back of the neck can radiate pain to the front of the head. The quality of this pain is a dull ache or stabbing, and we can re-create the headache by gently pressing on those little buggers at the back of your neck.
If you have pain in the back of the neck, usually the problem is also in the back of the neck. This damage can be caused by an accident or by posture. Often times, with this type of headache, there is a misalignment at the atlas (C1). Sometimes there are issues with the cranium and with the muscles in the neck.
What if I Have Nausea or Dizziness
When you have nausea or dizziness you probably don’t have to worry, but we will ask you some specific questions to see if we need to send you to your MD.
My MD Checked Me and Just Gave Me Pills
That sounds familiar. That’s a sign that you should give us a visit. Your MD probably doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have a solution if your problem is related to the function of your spine and nervous system. That’s why chiropractic is distinct and separate from medicine. When my mother got off her pills using chiropractic care, her MD was ecstatic, and yours will be too when you get healthy again.
What Happens Next?
If we can help (and you want to get well) we can schedule a Welcome Exam. When you schedule your welcome exam you will be sent some intake forms where you give us notes about your past health, current health and your goals. We ask that these are filled out 24 hours before your exam so we can review it and ask you additional questions if we need to.
Your welcome exam is a 30 to 45 minute visit to our office. We show a short video while you are waiting, so you know what to expect during your exam, then you will consult with and be examined by the chiropractor. Your doctor will brief you on your body’s condition and explain your problems to you.
Following the doctor’s portion of the examination, our staff will collect additional data using scanning technology. This technology does not have any radiation and is completely safe for children and pregnant women. It will analyze your heart rate, muscle activity, posture and range of motion. This data is used to monitor your improvement over time.
Your second visit is a Report of Findings. This visit takes between 30 and 45 minutes and includes your first adjustment. At the start of the visit, you will have a few minutes to fill out a form (guided by another video) where you consider your goals for care, and let us know your expectations. When your doctor joins you, he will go over your scans and findings, make sure he hasn’t missed anything, and then let you know how (or if) we can meet the expectations you just wrote about.
If you would like us to start care, you will have your first adjustment. Your adjustment visits are planned especially for you based on the findings from your history and exam, as well as your personal needs. Your doctor will design a combination of techniques for alignment, neural tone, and muscle texture to give you the best care they possibly can.