Because headaches are so common, some people think that getting a headache is just a normal part of life! We have numerous who say, “Oh, I only have the usual headaches… nothing serious, I just take Tylenol or Advil.”
Headaches are a sign that something’s wrong and chiropractic treatment can be very effective in treating many types of headaches. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of adults have more than one episode of tension-type headache a month. Over 17 percent of those with frequent headache meet diagnostic criteria for cervicogenic headache. Headaches result in a significant number of missed work days each year and can have an untold negative impact on the personal lives of headaches sufferers.
A frequent and overlooked cause of headaches is malfunction of the spinal bones in the neck and upper back. When bones of the spine lose their normal position or motion, sensitive nerves and blood vessels to the head can be affected. When spinal nerves and related tissues are stretched or irritated, they can produce throbbing headaches. Aspirin and medications may cover up these warning signs, but do not correct the underlying structural cause.
Migraine vs. Tension Type Headaches
There are differences in migraine headaches and tension-type headaches. Migraine headaches are usually severe and sharp, throbbing in nature, and generally affect one side of the head. Tension headaches tend to occur frequently, last a long time and are characterized by a dull, steady pain that feels like a band of pressure around the neck. But despite these differences they are closely related. Chiropractic care has been proven to be extremely effective in treating migraine and tension headaches as well as neck pain and stiffness.
Recent studies link headaches to nerve irritation. One study, conducted at the University of Maryland, found a connection between muscle tension at the base of the neck and headaches. Muscle contractions interfere with the sensitive fibers at the base of the neck that lead to the brain and spinal cord. This muscle tension often plays a contributing factor to headache pain. Another study found that the vast majority of migraine headache sufferers have misalignments or joint dysfunction of the spinal vertebrae in the neck that can irritate the spinal nerves.