Welcome to the Family Chiropractic & Massage blog! Here, we will discuss anything and everything that has to do with chiropractic care and wellness. We will share helpful information and hopefully answer any questions you have through our articles. We are a chiropractic clinic that began in 1997 and has since grown to locations in North Charleston, Summerville, and Moncks Corner, South Carolina. We are dedicated to providing tailored care and treatment with traditional and new techniques to help our patients reach their wellness goals. We treat a variety of conditions including neck pain, back pain, injuries, sciatica, scoliosis, and more. Besides chiropractic care, we also offer physiotherapeutic care, rehabilitative care, and massage therapy. Our licensed massage therapist offers all types of massage from deep tissue to compression massage and more. We are strong believers in natural healing! Check out our website to find out more information about the services and care we offer, and contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced doctors!

Our last post discussed strength training and its benefits. Strength training is a great way to exercise, but it should go hand in hand with chiropractic care. Chiropractic care serves as a great way to ensure that your body is working at its best to help you achieve optimal results. If you are interested in learning more about why strength training and chiropractic care complement each other, we encourage you to check out our last post!

Today, we’ll be talking about headaches and how chiropractic care can help. A headache is a painful sensation in the head that can range from sharp to dull. It is the most common form of pain, with 9 out of 10 Americans suffering from headaches. Headaches may or may not be accompanied with other symptoms, can disrupt everyday activities, and are often a common reason that people miss work. There are multiple types of headaches, and they can have causes that are not due to an underlying disease. Many people choose to take over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve their headaches, but this does not directly address the cause– Therefore, the headaches are likely to keep occuring. Chiropractic care can help relieve and prevent headaches by identifying the root cause of the headache. If you are interested in learning more about headaches and how chiropractic care can help, you’re in the right place. 

There are many types of headaches, categorized into primary and secondary headaches. Primary headaches occur when the pain you feel in your head is not triggered by an underlying problem or illness. Secondary headaches are a symptom of something else going on in your body. First, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of primary headaches:

  • Tension headache: The most common of all headaches, a tension headache produces moderate pain on or around both sides of the head and typically has a slow onset.
  • Migraine headache: Migraines often involve intense, throbbing pain that is usually one-sided. It may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and can be intense enough to disrupt your daily routine, lasting several hours or even days.
  • Cluster headache: Cluster headaches usually produce pain on one side, often behind one eye. They occur sometimes daily or multiple times throughout the day. 

These types of headaches are often triggered by stress or muscle tension. In fact, the majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension within the neck. 

Secondary headaches are typically the cause of something else going on in the body, and can become chronic if the cause is left untreated. Here are some of the most common types of secondary headaches: 

  • Allergy or sinus headache: The pain and pressure from these headaches are often in the front of your head, in the sinus area. These can be due to seasonal allergies or an allergic reaction. They are most often accompanied by other symptoms such as a stuffy nose and nasal congestion. 
  • Hormone headache: These headaches are linked to hormonal changes or fluctuations, and are commonly seen in women. Possible causes include pregnancy, menstruation, and the use of birth control pills.
  • Rebound headache: These often produce a dull, tension-type pain, but can sometimes feel more severe. They are often caused by the overuse of over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as Tylenol. 

These headaches are likely to reoccur if the underlying cause is not identified and treated. 

While most people opt to take a pill to relieve their headaches, research shows there is a better, natural alternative. According to the American Chiropractic Association, spinal manipulation or adjustment is an effective treatment for headache sufferers. Chiropractic care involves spinal adjustments to remove subluxations. Subluxations are a partial dislocation of spinal vertebra and can put pressure on the spine. This can also interfere with the overall functioning of the body, because subluxations can block signals within the spinal nerves. Each part of your spine is connected to a nerve root, which services a different part of your body. Since your spinal cord carries nerve signals from your brain to your body, any interference can throw off this communication and lead to issues such as headaches. Subluxations within the cervical spine, the upper portion found in the neck region, are often associated with headaches. Typically, a chiropractor will take X-rays or other diagnostic images to identify subluxations. This will help determine what part of the spine needs to be adjusted.

A chiropractic adjustment delivers a controlled but sudden force to a joint in order to push the spinal vertebra back into place, eliminating the subluxation. Once the joints of the spine are properly aligned, there is less pressure on the spine. This, in turn, eases tension in the joints and muscles. When this pressure or tension is relieved, the spinal cord can resume its normal function, thus reducing the number of headaches a person will experience. A 2011 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies (JMPT) found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, can improve migraines and cervicogenic headaches, which is a pain that develops in the neck but is often felt in the head. 

In addition to adjustments, a chiropractor can recommend lifestyle changes, such as nutritional advice. It has been proven that eating certain things can trigger headaches or migraines. Although the triggers are different for everyone, some may include caffeine, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and salty foods. A chiropractor can recommend changes to your diet or supplements such as vitamins within the B complex– B vitamins, including folic acid, are beneficial for the nervous system and help reduce levels of homocysteine, which can cause migraines. Chiropractors can also offer advice on posture, because proper posture can reduce tension on the muscles and joints around the spine. 

Exercises or other relaxation techniques may also be recommended to relieve tension. Some ways you can reduce muscle tension include low-impact exercise, such as aerobics, yoga, or walking. Heavy and strenuous exercise may actually lead to more muscle tension and can produce headaches. If you participate in strenuous exercise, visiting a chiropractor for routine maintenance can help prevent headaches. Stretching regularly is also important if you spend a lot of time in a fixed position, such as sitting at an office desk or at a computer. It is beneficial to get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so to loosen up your muscles. 

As you can see, chiropractic care is a safe, effective, and natural way to treat and prevent headaches. Instead of reaching for an over-the-counter pain killer, which may actually produce more headaches in the long run, try reaching out to us today to set up a consultation! We hope you found this article informative, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have any further questions or concerns. It would be a pleasure to assist you. Here at Family Chiropractic & Massage, we have doctors who have studied a variety of chiropractic techniques to render care to patients with different types of conditions. As people vary, so do the techniques chosen to help each patient get well. We use evidence-based treatment methods to help patients get better faster. If you are suffering from any type of back pain, contact us today to set up an appointment so we can assess your needs and create an effective treatment plan. One of our experienced doctors would love to help get you on the track to living a healthy, pain-free life! Thank you for reading, and we hope you’ll check back for more articles about chiropractic care and all it has to offer!