Author Mark Lawrence once said that “Some pain you can distance yourself from, but a headache sits right where you live.” Many adults write off headaches as part of everyday life but they certainly don’t have to be. Some can be fixed through hydration, new glasses, relaxation, and avoiding trigger foods or alcohol, but others—like migraines—are debilitating. If you or someone you love suffers, consider adding a chiropractor to your existing medical team.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports “Headache has been underestimated, under-recognized and under-treated throughout the world…Despite regional variations, headache disorders are a worldwide problem, affecting people of all ages, races, income levels and geographical areas.” There are different types of headaches including migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, and medication-overuse headaches.
Dr. Chani Henderson of Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic explains that common causes include “stress, joint dysfunction, dehydration, clenching your teeth, TMD, eye strain, sinus pressure, and food allergies.” Chiropractic treatment can help tremendously with tension headaches, sinus headaches, and those that sit at the base of your skull.
“If the headaches are stemming from a musculoskeletal condition, adjustments help restore normal spinal joint motion, which can get rid of the headache,” she explains. “Also having normal segmental joint motion helps to keep muscle spasms down and eases any pressure on a nerve root.”
The National Headache Foundation reminds individuals not to suffer in silence. “Some individuals are reluctant to seek help because they don’t want to arrive only to learn that nothing out of the ordinary is wrong.” They provided a detailed guide for prospective patients and the first item is perhaps the most crucial. “Establishing strong communication with your healthcare provider is important. Effective physician/patient communication is increasingly important given today’s time constraints for office visits and the variety of new treatment options available. Seek help. Be a self-advocate.”
Other suggestions include keeping a headache diary to look for environmental triggers (foods, activities, or stressors) and to seek immediate treatment for headaches which include vomiting, loss of vision or consciousness, or continue uninterrupted for more than 72 hours.
Dr. Henderson says that if a headache strikes at home or the office, there are simple, easy things to try. “Neck stretches can help with headaches at the base of the skull. Make sure you have an appropriate prescription of eyeglasses. Make sure you are drinking water and staying hydrated. Consider using the blue light filter on your computer.”
Headaches are no laughing matter. WHO research shows that “Headache disorders impose a recognizable burden on sufferers including sometimes substantial personal suffering, impaired quality of life and financial cost. Repeated headache attacks, and often the constant fear of the next one, damage family life, social life, and employment. The long-term effort of coping with a chronic headache disorder may also predispose the individual to other illnesses. For example, anxiety and depression are significantly more common in people with migraines than in healthy individuals.”
As with many medical issues, prevention of illness or pain is as important as treatment. Chiropractic care can potentially stop headaches from slowing you down, missing out on work or activities, and relying on over-the-counter medications. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has several ways you can try to avoid the onset of a headache from anywhere.
“If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. 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…Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.”
As the ACA explains, “If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative.”
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Henderson by calling 360-254-0400. By offering an array of chiropractic services, she’s always willing to sit down and discuss your complete health and wellness outlook and potential treatment outcomes.