Do you ever get headaches? Chances are you that do. In fact, 9 in 10 Americans suffer from headaches at some point in their lives. The most common types of headaches are known as “tension headaches” and are often associated with tension somewhere in the muscles of the head, neck and shoulders. These headaches are generally triggered by some kind of environmental or internal stress. A more debilitating type of headache is known as a “migraine.” These headaches, which are much more common in women, are often triggered by hormonal changes, medications, certain foods, and of course stress. The good news is that effective treatment exists to decrease the symptoms and potentially eliminate many headaches altogether.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do to Help?
Several research studies suggest that spinal adjustments and myofascial release—two essential types of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be effective treatments for tension headaches as well as more serious migraine headaches.1.2.3.
In addition, Chiropractic physicians are trained to provide advice on nutrition, posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. All of which may help to uncover and eliminate the causes of your headaches, including recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back, poor diet, faulty posture and lack of exercise.
What Can You Do?
• Take frequent breaks from sitting in a fixed position (“Ladies and gentleman, walk away from the computer!”).
• Everybody move!–light exercise such as walking or mellow cycling can be very helpful.
• Drink lots of water (1/2 of your body weight in ounces is the target).
• Pay attention to and avoid potential dietary triggers of headache (chocolate, wine, etc.).
• Reduce your stress levels through an activity you enjoy (or learn to meditate).
• Be positive. Our thoughts are very powerful and creating a positive attitude can help immensely in dealing with pain and making it go away.
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1) J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):274-89
2) Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(3):CD001878
3) NeuroRehabilitation. 2012;30(4):333-9