Tension Headaches: Treatment & Diagnosis
Did you know that the most common form of headache is the tension type. This is caused by pain coming from the neck and jaw muscles or directly from the facet joins of the neck.
By restoring movement to those joints with chiropractic adjustments, improving the health of the muscles through dry needling, gently applying pressure and stretching the tense muscles these symptoms resolve.
By combining the program of strengthening you are able to keep these symptoms at bay and fulfill your full potential to a healthy state. Chiropractic treatments also work for migraine headaches too.
In a study by Castien in 2011, 82 subjects with chronic tension headaches were treated by either usual medical care or manual therapy (MT over a maximum of 9 treatments in total. The results were monitored over an 18 month period and after 8 weeks a significant difference was found in the MT group. It was noted that there was a reduced frequency, duration and intensity of headache when compare to the medical group.
The Diagnosis and Treatment of Migraine Headaches
Migraines are classically one sided and throbbing in nature and may be accompanied with or without flashing lights, nausea, vomiting, numbess or tingling. In extreme cases, migraines can cause temporary paralysis or blindness to occur. These headaches are due to a disturbance in brain activity that goes in a wave from the back of the brain to the front.
The visual areas are therefore usually affected first, followed by a sensation in the body and then motor control. It is through to be due to increase excitability of the nerve cells in the brain; causing them to fire impulses resulting in sensations that follow and pain from deeper areas being activated. There can be various triggers, which many sufferers are aware of such as red wine, chocolate and cheese. It is also thought that hormone levels may be a factor too.
Although these headaches are of a more central origin (i.e. from the brain), treatment of the joints and muscles can reduce the body’s sensitivity to stimuli that build up to trigger an attack by helping to reduce the potential for the nerves to get over excited.
There are other more serious types of headache. As chiropractors we are skilled in the diagnosis and treatments of headaches and migraines. We will refer you on for further tests if we suspect that the cause is not due to the muscles or joints.
Another fact that you may be surprised about is that the prolonged or regular use of pain killing medication such as Codeine can actually cause headaches too!