Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Get Rid of Those Annoying Headaches

There were approximately 45 million Americans complaining of headaches last year. These headaches can be very frustrating to many individuals especially if they are causing disability or interfering with daily activities such as work or interacting with your family. There are many different types of headaches, so the first step in treating headaches is to determine what type you are suffering from.

The most common type of headache is called a tension headache. It is estimated that 88 percent of females and 69 percent of males suffer from tension headaches. This type of headache is most often related to stress or mechanical problems in the neck and is usually described as pressure or tightness in the neck or around the head.

Migraines are the second most common type of headache. These debilitating headaches cause approximately 157 million hours of work lost every year and affect approximately 17 percent of the American population. Migraine headaches can be recurrent and typically last from 4 to 72 hours. They are described as moderate or severe pain that can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, throbbing pain in the head or neck, and sensitivity to light or sound. In children, these headaches may also be accompanied by abdominal pain which can make them very hard to diagnose. Many migraines are related to a trigger such as certain foods or hormone imbalance that causes blood vessels within the brain to dilate. These enlarged vessels can cause inflammation of the surrounding nerves in the brain which can contribute to the vicious cycle of violent and debilitating pain.

The last type of headache, a cluster headache, is characterized by frequent recurring cycles that are extremely severe and can be associated with pain around the eye with tearing or numbness, nasal congestion, and eyelid sagging. These headaches progress very rapidly and go from zero to debilitating in 10 minutes or less. It is theorized that these types of headaches are related to sudden and severe nerve irritation and can also be related hormonal changes.

As a Peoria chiropractor, I have found that the underlying cause of EVERY one of these headaches is an underlying nerve irritation which can be due to a mechanical misalignment in the neck, dehydration or toxicity in the body, or hormone imbalance that can trigger or exacerbate these headaches. I’ve found the absolute best way to determine the cause of your headaches specifically is to have consultation focused on the occurrence and characteristics of your headaches followed by an examination to determine the best approach to correct the underlying issue.

According to a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, migraine patients that utilized chiropractic adjustments to correct nerve irritation in the neck showed a significant improvement in the amount and length of their migraines and also reported less disability and medication usage. 72% of participants reported a decrease in incidence of their migraines with 22% of those reporting more than 90% reduction in migraines after 2 months of treatment.

Chiropractors are the only physicians that have extensive training in identifying and correcting the mechanical misalignment I mentioned above. They utilize specialized chiropractic adjustments to correct the nerve irritation without the use of medication or risky procedures. I’d highly recommend visiting your local Peoria chiropractic office at AlignLife for an integrative approach designed to find and correct the underlying cause of your headaches and they will empower you with proactive techniques to get rid of them for good!