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Experiencing Headaches?

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you have a headache, you're not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.
If you have a headache, you're not alone. Nine out of ten 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.
Research shows that spinal manipulation - the primary form of care provided
by doctors of chiropractic - may be an effective treatment option for tension
headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.
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 a 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.

Headache Triggers

But to get to the bottom of the problem, you first need to find out what
is causing your pain. 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.

What Can You Do?

  • 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. 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 at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration,
    which can lead to headaches.
In addition, the ACA and its Council on Nutrition suggest you avoid the following food "triggers":
  • Avoid caffeine. Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain
    high levels of the stimulant.
  • Avoid foods with a high salt or sugar content. These foods may cause migraines,
    resulting in sensitivity to light, noise, or abrupt movements.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. These drinks can dehydrate you and
    cause headache pain.
  • Other headache sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also
    high-protein foods, dairy products, red meat and salty foods.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

Chiropractors may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:
  • Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal
    function and alleviate the stress on your system.
  • Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps
    the addition of B complex vitamins.
  • Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation
    techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation
    and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways - not just back pain.
If your headache is symptomatic of a health problem that needs the care of another discipline, your doctor of chiropractic will refer you to an appropriate specialist.

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ChiroWorks Care Center
Anthony Tsai, D.C.
Chiropractor in San Jose, CA
ChiroWorksCareCenter.com
Graston Technique Certified

Disclaimer: The content in this blog is for informational purposes only and an opinion for specific individualized circumstances. It is not a prescription for therapy or diagnosis for you. All opinions expressed in these articles are solely those of the particular author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Anthony Tsai, Graston Technique®, its employees, providers or affiliates. Any opinions of the author on the site are or have been rendered based on scientific facts and/or anecdotal evidence, under certain conditions, and subject to certain assumptions, and may not and should not be used or relied upon for any other purpose, including but not limited to for use in or in connection with any legal proceeding. If there is any issue with the content or images on this blog, contact us an we will remove it immediately. Please refer to http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/ for more information.

References:
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
American Chiropractic Association
Brought to you by the ChiroMatrix Wellness Newsletter. Register as a member for more newsletters like this.

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