Everyone has headaches at some point in life, and they manifest in four different types: tension, cluster, migraine and trigger point headaches. Each type can present in different ways. Some can be mild, while others are severe enough to cause nausea and vomiting. Because they have become so common, many people consider headaches a normal part of life, but at no point in life are headaches normal. A headache is a warning sign that something in your body has gone awry.
Research study after research study, new findings continue to demonstrate that chiropractic adjustments have been shown to help many people with their headaches. This is no surprise to chiropractors, as a majority of headaches originate in the neck region, which a majority of chiropractors specialize in. A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that “spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than commonly prescribed medications.” These findings support an earlier study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that found spinal manipulative therapy to be effective for treating tension headaches. This study also found that those who stopped chiropractic treatment after four weeks continued to experience a sustained benefit in contrast to those patients who received pain medication.
The following suggestions can significantly reduce or even prevent headaches:
- If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, at a sewing machine, typing, or even reading, take a break and stretch every 30 to 60 minutes. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
- Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
- Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
- Schedule regular chiropractic adjustments to keep the stress off you neck.