Headaches: The signs and symptoms.

Headaches and Chiropractic Care

Headaches are a common complaint among adults, with up to 75% of adults experiencing headaches each year. While the odd one may not disrupt your day to day life, if they become more frequent they can quickly become limiting. In addition

When looking to treat headaches it is important to note that there are a variety of different types of headaches, each coming with their own causative factors. With each type the onset, symptoms, and relieving factors vary. Some of the most common types of headaches include:

  • Tension Type
  • Migraines
  • Sinus Headaches
  • Cluster
  • Caffeine Headache
  • Exertion Headache
  • Dehydration Headaches 

Factors that help us differentiate between each of these types include: Severity, frequency, location, relieving factors, aggravating factors, age of onset, gender, and associated symptoms.

Symptoms of a headache vary but can include feelings of deep pressure, sharp pain, throbbing, a dull ache, pain or pressure behind the eyes, shooting pain into the face or jaw and visual auras. When treating headaches the first step is to determine the cause which will determine the best course of treatment. 

There are certain situations where it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. These include:
  • Experiencing the worst headache you have ever had
  • Associated blurred vision, slurred speech or paralysis in part of your body
  • Vomiting, rash or a high fever

Once any underlying conditions have been ruled out, and the type of headache has been determined, chiropractic care can be an effective method to both treat and prevent future occurrences of many types of headaches. With proper treatment you can decrease both the intensity and severity of many headaches.

If you suffer from frequent headaches and are considering seeking care for them it can be helpful to track:
  • The location of the pain 
  • The onset of the pain (timing, aggravating factors)
  • Associated symptoms (vision, speech, hearing)
  • Duration and frequency
  • Intensity 

Wondering what Chiropractic care for headaches looks like?

Treatments are always individualized and based on not only the type of headache but also the testing done in office. In addition to assessing the symptoms, we also look at the joints and muscles in the neck and shoulders to determine the best course of treatment. For instance treatments can include spinal manipulation of the neck and upper back, soft tissue therapy, mobilizations of the neck and upper back, patient education, as well as exercises and activity modification. However, in cases where there is concern about the causative factors or any findings in the clinic, a referral to your medical doctor may be warranted. Chiropractors are trained to assess headaches and determine the best course of action. Working together with patients is the key factor to getting rid of headaches and keeping them away as much as possible. 

Note: Migraines are one type that are difficult to eliminate completely. It is typically through a combination of activity modification, chiropractic treatment and prescription medication that you can achieve the best results. Chiropractic care has been shown to decrease the severity and intensity of migraines when treatments are provided at regular intervals. The downside is that Chiropractic adjustments haven’t been shown to be effective at completely eliminating migraines. Above all, the goal of treatment is to help decrease the negative impact of migraines on day to day life. 

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