- Tension headaches
- Migraine headaches
- Cervicogenic headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Sinus headaches
Chiropractic care and headaches
I see the benefits of chiropractic care for headaches daily in practice. I have had lots of great outcomes from headache sufferers that get relief through chiropractic care. However, we still need the research to back it up. Here is some research that proves the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments on headaches.
Research has shown that spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. Researchers from Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC released a report in 2001 that found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck. They also found that chiropractic care had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headaches than a commonly prescribed medication.
A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 1995, found that spinal manipulation is an effective treatment for tension type headaches. They also found that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after 4 weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
Home help for headaches – how to help yourself
Use a headache diary
A headache diary is a great option to try if headaches are a regular occurrence. You need to find out if there is a trigger for your headaches. A diary is a great way of finding this out. When you get a headache think about what you have been doing, eating etc. Triggers can be:
- Environmental stimuli (lights, stress, noises etc)
- Postural problems (work, sitting, looking at phones too much etc)
- Behavioral (excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, dehydration etc)
- A small portion of headaches are warning signals for other problems. This is why it is important to get them checked out.
Heat can be an effective way to help ease the symptoms of headaches. A lot of headaches come from the neck so using heat to reduce tension in the area will be beneficial. A wheat bag is the best option. When using heat, short bursts work better. Apply for 20min then leave off for 40min before re-applying.
Improve your posture
A lot of headaches can be due to poor posture. Working on posture can help ease the symptoms. I will be writing a post on “Upper Cross Syndrome” which is common cause of headaches and neck pain. Stay tuned for that. Make sure you get up and move around if you are sitting all day at work to help reduce the stress on your neck. Also, stop looking down at your phone for extended periods of time. This position puts huge stress on the neck.
Gentle neck stretches
Gentle neck stretches can help ease the tension in the area. Gently take your neck through its normal motions. Forward, backwards, turning left and right and taking the ear to the shoulder on both sides. Doing this in the shower is an effective way to get the benefit of heat and gentle stretches as the same time.
Take pain relief if needed, but be aware that pain relief eases the symptoms but doesn't necessarily fix the problem.
Soft tissue treatment AKA massage
Working on the soft tissue can be effective. The heat will help with this as well, but a good massage on the shoulders, upper back and neck can be useful. You can also use tools like massage balls etc to help. Ask me how to use these effectively.
Try the static back position
This is one of my favourite positions. Simply start by lying on your back on the ground. Have your legs bent up so they are resting on a chair or the couch and have your arms down by your side, preferably with palms up. It is best to make your hips and knees both form a 90 degree angle (this position is often referred to as the 90/90 position). Stay in this position for as long as it is comfortable, it can be up to 20min or longer. Using a wheat bag on your neck whilst in this position is an added benefit. I have had a lot of people say how good this position is. Try it and see if it helps you. This is also a great position for lower back discomfort.
As you can see, chiropractic care can be an effective treatment for headaches. I have also described 7 ways to help yourself at home. Try them and see if they are helpful for you. If you know someone that may benefit from this information please share it. If you suffer from headaches and would like to try chiropractic care, contact me and we can get you started on your road to recovery.