Headaches? Don’t let them keep you from being active
The American Chiropractic Association found that nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Sometimes, these headaches are simply occasional inconveniences, sometimes they are frequent. Some of these headaches are dull and throbbing while some cause debilitating pain and nausea. What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Simply deal with it and carry on? Lie down and wait for it to go away? Take pills and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative than passively accepting your headaches. Research shows that Chiropractic adjustments may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.
In 2001, researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC found that Chiropractic adjustments 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. A 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that patients undergoing 4 weeks of Chiropractic care experienced a longer therapeutic benefit than those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
There are things you can do on your own to help keep headaches at bay too. Headaches have many causes: foods, environment (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5% of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems. 95% 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 problem.
Many primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. With most Americans engaging in a more sedentary lifestyle than they used to and more hours are spent in one fixed position, there is an increase in joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache. If you spend a lot of time in one fixed position (in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing, reading, etc.), take a break and stretch every 30 minutes. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfort- able range of motion.
Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches, but avoid heavy exercises if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics. Avoid teeth clenching. This results in stress at the TMJ, the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull, leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches. Also, drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches. Don’t let your headaches affect your activity level. Become proactive and follow the aforementioned tips as well as visit our office. We can help provide chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system while offering advice on posture, ergonomics, exercises and relaxation techniques to help relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back. weight of your head can displace this kind of foam and provide little support. Choose firmer foam and materials that press back and support the head. If you find yourself sleeping on your side with one hand propped under your pillow, you’re not getting the support you need.
Chiropractic care can help too. If you continue to experience pain and discomfort at night or have difficulty falling asleep, visit your Chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained to treat spinal problems that can interfere with a restful night’s sleep. They can also offer nutritional and ergonomic advice that can help improve the quality of your sleep.
In short, don’t let your busy life get in the way of your health. Make a good night’s sleep one of your priorities before poor health stops you in your tracks. If you have any questions or would like more tips, please give us a call or stop by our office. We’d love to help!
Dr. Kristin Smith
LifeCare Family Wellness & Chiropractic