Headache treatment in Virginia Beach.
Headaches are one of the most common conditions seen in a chiropractic office. As you can see from the picture above there are many different types of headache. The location and severity factor heavily into the labeling of the different types of headache. Causes can include trauma, muscle tension, allergies, hormonal or even extremely rare tumors. Some sources list up to 18 different types and categories of headache. The really great news is that regardless headache type chiropractic and other drug free treatments have proven to be very effective.
Fall and winter are the seasons when sinus infections and headaches become more prominent. Cold dry air and increased airborne, bacteria, viruses, pollen and molds cause the sinus to become irritated and then infected. When this happens the sinuses swell up and the pain and pressure build up in the cheeks and often radiate to the jaw. This pain can very from a dull ache to severe gnawing pain. This type of headache is frequently misdiagnosed as a migraine. These headaches often accompany a cold or flu.
Sinus headaches are generally more severe in the mourning. Head position can make these headaches worse particularly leaning forward. Chewing food, coughing or straining at the stool (#2) can also aggravate this condition. These headaches can be on and off or constant daily in duration. Other symptoms that go with a sinus headache are stuffed up nose, pressure in the face, and postnasal drip with sore throat.
The goal of treatment is of coarse headache relief followed by modification of diet and activities directed to prevent future recurrence and to restore full normal daily activities. The normal treatment regiment is to avoid allergens, correct any cervical dysfunction, and use a vaporizer and hot compresses to clear the sinuses. We must also try to avoid second hand cigarette smoke and use a quality air filter when possible.
There are a multitude of herbal remedies that can be extremely effective when used in combination, without the common side effects that come with over-the-counter medications. The most effective herbs are; Ginger, Licorice, Turmeric, Fever few, Bromelain and mixed citrus bioflavanoids. These often come in a single product such as BioAllergy (Biogenesis Inc.) For more information call New Life Chiropractic in Virginia Beach. 757-222-0910
Muscle tension/neck headaches
Muscle tension headaches often start at the base of the skull or neck area and wrap over the top of the head and eventually settle behind the eyes. These are the most common type of headache and because of the severity are often called migraines. Muscle pulling do to locked up joints in the neck start the pain and then it creeps up the small nerves in the scalp to the muscles around the eyes. Dietary sources as well as sleeping position can definitely be a factor for the duration of these headaches.
These headaches can be temporarily alleviated by non steroidal anti inflammatorys. For a longer lasting treatment it requires getting rid of the cause of the irritation. Chiropractic adjustment to the area of trouble in the neck works crazy good. Adjustments combined with massage and dry needling creates a even more substantial repair and correction. Its rare that we don’t see a large reduction in both severity and frequency within the first couple of treatments.
Migraines can also start in the neck in the form of stiffness and pain. The most common migraine pain is a pulsing or throbbing in the temple and area surrounding the eyes. These headaches are commonly preceded by an aura. Auras are best described as a visual disturbance. They can be flickering light, blurring, spots or in the extreme temporary blindness. Migraines can also come with an inability to sleep, nausea/vomiting, and photo phobia which is a extreme sensitivity to light.
At the first sign of a migraine consuming a small amount of caffeine, going into a dark quite room and applying a cold compress to your head can slow or stop the progression. For those of us living in the real world taking a anti inflammatory with caffeine can give relief. Treatment at our office is adjusting the spine, dry needling the back of the head and cold compress. This treatment is designed for a long term correction. Migraines are often triggered by food allergies, so keeping a food diary is a good idea. Every time you get a migraine notate what you ate in the past few hours. Common triggers are cheese, chocolate and alcohol.
Headache case study – daily migraines.
Two weeks ago we started a new patient that was complaining of daily migraine headaches. She stated these headaches had been going on for more than a month. This patient that I will call Mary had been to two other doctors and to the ER when the headaches became severe. She was prescribed several medications ranging from Motrin to muscle relaxers. She was also prescribed Valium and Topiramate (an anti seizure medication that made her dizzy and caused tingling in her hands and feet). These medications “knocked her out and allowed her to sleep” but the headache would return the next day. Mary described these headaches as feeling like her head was in a vice. She had light sensitivity and would regularly get sick to her stomach.
Examination showed a substantial fixation in her upper cervical (neck) area of her spine. She also had positive findings for nerve irritation. X-rays revealed subluxation (malposition) of the C2 vertebrae in the upper neck. These are common findings for both muscle tension and migraine headaches. Her medical doctor looked at none of these things.
I put Mary on a three time a week treatment regiment for two weeks at which time we would re-evaluate her condition. Treatment consisted of a chiropractic adjustment followed by ultrasound to the upper cervical region of her spine.
Outcome: Mary has been headache free following her second treatment and has remained so to present. As expected. Call Today!!
If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Virginia Beach residents suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.
What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative.
Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.
A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.
Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are indicators of a more serious condition.
Ninety-five percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as muscle tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease. The headache itself is the primary problem.
“The vast majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck,” says Dr. Mike Geheren, a doctor of chiropractic from Virginia Beach, VA. “Today, Americans engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase stress on the joints which causes irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache.”
What Can You Do?
We at New Life Chiropractic suggest the following:
If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
Dr. Geheren your chiropractor in Virginia Beach may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:
Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.
Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.
Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
“Chiropractors undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways – not just back pain,” says Dr. Geheren. “We know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and we can take steps to relieve those problems.” If you live in Virginia Beach, and suffer with headaches, call us today! 757-222-0910.