To treat headaches and migraines, our chiropractors offer an array of soft tissue manipulation therapies aimed at reducing muscle tension and improving spinal function. Often tension in the body is the cause of headaches and migraines, and relieving this tension can help reduce head pain.
Our method is to first identify if any of your muscles or the vertebrae in your neck or spine are out of place and putting pressure on your nerves. Additional stress on the nervous system can be a common cause of headaches and migraines. Based on this assessment, your chiropractor will talk to you about whether manual therapies may help with your headaches by reducing tension and helping your body to function more freely.
At Gateway to Wellness we can also provide direction on lifestyle changes that may help alleviate headaches and migraines.
Headaches and Migraines
Our treatments can be particularly worthwhile if you’re suffering from migraines. With no agreed cure, and many medications prescribed having significant side effects, alternative therapies such as chiropractic practice are becoming increasingly popular among migraine sufferers.
A 2018 Migraine in America survey found that 69% of migraine sufferers reported dealing with neck pain when they experienced migraines. If this is the case for you, chiropractic therapies may benefit you. By targeting the source of the tension, we get to the root of treating the problem, not just the symptom. This is not the case with anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants etc. This can pave the way to stopping your migraines for good.
Types of headaches our chiropractors treat
Headaches can vary greatly in terms of location in the head, intensity and frequency. We break headaches down into 3 types: tension headache, cluster headache and migraine.
1. Tension headaches
Tension headaches are the most common of the 3 headache types. These are typically associated with stress and tight muscles. Tension headaches are known for coming on slowly and the head hurting on both sides. Pain is often dull or it feels like a vice is around the head. Tension headaches may involve pain felt in the back part of the head or neck but not always. Pain is mild to moderate, but not severe. Generally tension headaches do not cause vomiting, nausea or sensitivity to light.
2. Cluster headache
Cluster headaches usually take place in a series or “cluster” that may span weeks or months. Typically cluster headaches involve severe pain on one side of the head, often behind one eye. They can cause the infected eye to get red and watery, and sometimes the pupil shrinks. The eyelid of the affected eye can also swell. So can the forehead. A runny nose or congestion can also be associated with cluster headaches.
Migraines are headaches that come with additional symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea, lightheadedness and/or sensitivity to light. Migraines also typically, although not always, occur in phases. A migraine phase may include:
- Premonition phase. A change in behavior or mood occurring hours or days before the headache.
- Aura phase. Vision changes, hallucinations, numbness, muscle weakness etc occurring just before the headache.
- Headache phase. Period experiencing a throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. Sensitivity to motion and light are common.
- Resolution phase. Pain recedes and fatigue and irritability are common.
Causes of headaches and migraines
Headaches and migraines are typically caused by overactivity in the brain or problems with pain-sensitive structures in your head, neck or spine. Some people also have a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to suffer from headaches.
Typically, we lump headaches into two cause buckets:
- Primary headaches. Triggered by lifestyle factors (e.g. alcohol, diet, sleep, posture, stress).
- Secondary headaches. Triggered as a symptom of a disease (e.g. sinus infection, ear infection, concussion, flu, medication side effect, dehydration etc).
Our chiropractors treat both types of headaches.
When to seek urgent care
If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms along with your headache, we suggest you contact a doctor:
- Shortness of breath
- Double vision
- Change in level of consciousness
- Recurring headaches in children
- Headache following a head injury
- Personality changes
Otherwise, contact our team at Gateway to Wellness to discuss possible treatment options for your headaches and migraines.