What Causes Headaches?
A headache is classified as pain that arises from the upper neck or head. The pain actually originates from the structures and tissues that surround the brain; as the brain has no nerves, it cannot give rise to the sensation of pain. Muscles that encase the skull, eyes, ears, and sinuses and meninges which cover the spinal cord and brain’s surface can become irritated or inflamed, and this can lead to headaches.
There are actually three types of headaches:
This includes tension, migraine, and cluster headaches. Migraine is one of the most common forms of headache, as an estimated 37 million Americans suffer from it. This type of headache can negatively impact your quality of life and should be treated immediately.
These headaches are caused by an underlying structural problem in the neck or head. Such headaches could be a symptom of conditions such as dental pain from infected teeth or an infected sinus. They could even be a symptom of life-threatening conditions such as meningitis.
- Cranial Neuralgias and Facial Pain
Cranial neuralgia is when one of the 12 nerves that supply the motor and nerve sensation of the neck and head becomes inflamed. Trigeminal neuralgia impacts the cranial nerve and leads to severe facial pain.
When Should I Get Treated for Headaches?
You need to seek treatment for a headache if:
- It is “the worst headache of your life.” This is actually a phrase medical professionals encourage patients to use and could be a symptom of a serious problem, such as a ruptured cerebral aneurysm.
- The headache feels much different than the headaches you usually get.
- You have a fever or a stiff neck with the headache.
- You experience changes in vision, behavior, or speech.
- You recently experienced some form of head trauma.
- The pain is affecting the quality of your life.
Chiropractic Treatment for Headaches
Since chiropractic treatment typically involves the manipulation, moving, and stretching of the spine, few people ever consider it as a way to deal with their headaches, but this is a mistake. In fact, mechanical dysfunction in the vertebrae of your neck causes increased muscle tension and irritates the nerves that control blood flow into the head. By improving the alignment of the bones in your neck, the pressure and irritation that can cause headaches will be relieved.
Typically, a chiropractic treatment plan for headaches will involve the following:
- Spinal adjustments
- Soft tissue therapy
- Exercises to help correct your posture
- Education about job modifications and how they can help keep headaches at bay
- Referral to other medical professionals if necessary
One of the most important things to remember is that simple adjustments to your lifestyle and work space could make all the difference in the world. We live in an era where medication is deemed the answer when in reality we often just need to treat our body better to get results.