Headaches are one of the most common reasons patients visit our clinic. In fact, it is estimated that 9/10 Americans suffer from headaches. About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems that require serious medical intervention. The remaining 95 percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. Needless to say, it is important to get checked out by your Chiropractic physician to make sure your headaches are in that 95 percent and it is in fact a primary headache not caused by something more sinister.
The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. Today, Americans engage in more sedentary activities than in the past, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture (such as sitting in front of a computer). This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache. It is particularly the muscles at the base of the neck that tend to develop knots called trigger points. These trigger points cause radiating ache and pressure-like pain to the base of the skull, eyes, forehead, and/or scalp area depending on which muscles are affected. Check out this link for a diagram of tension headache patterns.
A simple at home test you can do yourself is to rub the back and sides of your neck near the base of the skull. You may find knots back there. If you press into those knots and this causes pain to travel to your head, you can be pretty sure that this is a tension headache caused by tight muscles. Try rubbing out these knots and see if this helps to relieve your headache. If so, your headache should respond to Chiropractic care as numerous studies have shown.
In 2001, Duke University Center for Health Policy Research completed their evidence report on treatments for tension-type and cervicogenic headaches. They concluded that Chiropractic care had markedly superior long-term results compared to traditional medical treatment, and that Chiropractic manipulation sustained improvement longer in headache frequency and severity compared to other treatments. The Cochrane Collaboration, a systematic review of evidence, reached a similar conclusion to the Duke study in 2004. In 2011 a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, can improve migraine and cervicogenic headaches.
If you are among the 9/10 Americans suffering from headaches. Get in touch with your Chiropractic Physician. If you don’t have one and live in the Tulsa area, give us a call at Reactivate Therapy. We would be happy to help.