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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

Headaches and Chiropractic

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

The majority of the Canadian population will suffer from a headache at some point in their lifetime. Some are occasional, some are frequent, some are debilitating and all are simply irritating at best.

What do you do when a headache hits? OTC medications? A dark room? Self massage? Did you know that chiropractic may help?

Research shows that when headaches originate from the neck, chiropractic can help.

A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that chiropractic often 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 headaches than commonly prescribed medication.

Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.

Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.

Ninety-five percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease. The headache itself is the primary concern.

Humans are living a much more sedentary lifestyle today. Spending hours in a fixed position with poor posture can create lots of muscle tension and joint irritation in the head and neck leading to an aching head.

In addition to seeing your doctor of chiropractic for an adjustment to improve your headaches, you can improve your workspace ergonomics and posture, drink more water, exercise and stretch regularly, remove any food triggers and actively take time to reduce your day to day stresses.

Chiropractors have extensive training in treating the spine and understanding how tension in muscles and joints can cause problems to other body parts. They can help you find relief.

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