Headache is a very general term for any pain in the head. Some headaches have origins relating to structural changes in the neck that may be putting pressuring on nerves that go into the head. Other types of headaches can relate to internal chemistry problems like insensitivities to gluten and dairy, allergies and, dehydration. Poor vision can also contribute to headaches.
The two most common types of headaches are tension headaches and migraines.
Tension headaches, also known as stress headaches or cervicogenic headaches), are the most common form of headaches for adults. Tension headaches are caused most frequently by stress, anxiety, poor posture, or depression. Symptoms can range from mild to discomfort to completely debilitating affecting activities of daily living. Tension headaches usually originate in the neck and symptoms are felt anywhere in the head. The symptoms generally start at the base of the skull and can form a complete “band” around the entire head.
Poor computer working posture is one of the more common causes of tension headaches. Leaning forward and looking at a computer screen causes certain muscles to get tight and cervical joint dysfunction which can put pressure on the suboccipital nerves. These nerves go up into the head and when inflamed, cause tension headaches. Changing a person’s posture can help to alleviate this pressure and make tension headaches go away.
Alternative health treatments can reduce and relieve symptoms associated with tension headaches. More often than not, tension headaches are caused by structural changes, whether it is tight muscles, joint dysfunction, and nerve pressure. Chemical solutions (pain medications) may offer short term relief from tension headaches, but long term correction will require a structural solution. Research from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapy shows that chiropractic care in the traditional form (spinal manipulative therapy) is very effective at relieving headaches that have a structural cause.
If a person has headaches relating to adverse structural changes in the neck, long term relief will come from changing a person’s structure. If a person has poor posture, there are certain muscles that have become tight and certain muscles that have become weak. Stretching a weak muscle makes matters worse, as does strengthening a tight muscle. The Wellness Exam with Dr. Moyer will help identify these postural imbalances. A Personalized Fitness Plan is a personalized exercise prescription developed from the Wellness Exam that will detail out the exercises needed to restore proper posture to your body.
There is overwhelming evidence from peer-reviewed research showing chiropractic care is more effective than medications for treating chronic headaches. Chiropractic Care for headaches should be considered for two phases of care: short term and long term.
Spinal manipulation performed by a chiropractor can do many things for relief from tension headaches including reducing pressure placed on nerves, restoring motion to cervical vertebrae that have become stuck, and improve range of motion of the spine as a whole. Short term, this provides for quick pain relief in only a few visits over the course of a week or two. Long term, this prevents tension headaches from coming back. If you are interested in finding out if chiropractic can help relieve your headaches, schedule a free chiropractic consultation with Dr. Moyer today.
Muscle manipulation, performed by an experienced and well trained massage therapist, can also help relieve headaches that are caused by tight neck muscles. Massage also increases circulation of needed nutrients and release of the “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. Moyer Total Wellness won Best Massage in Denver in 2012 because we only hire therapists with experience in proving therapy. Click here to schedule a massage with one of our experienced therapists.