Adults may experience many different kinds of headaches. A primary headache is a headache that is not a part of another disease process. Secondary headaches can come from a poor eyeglass prescription, diabetes, the flu, or even a brain tumor. The most common primary headaches are tension-type, migraine, and cervicogenic (from the neck).
Tension type headaches feel like a tight band around your head. Stress seems to aggravate them and women tend to get this type of headache more frequently. Females are also more affected by migraine headaches.
There are two types of migraine: classical and common. The classical migraine headache may start with nausea or sickness in the stomach and proceed to an intense throbbing pain on one side of the head. The common migraine lacks this nausea and is more common than the classical type.
In cervicogenic headache, neck function is prominently disturbed. In addition to neck pain, there are usually tight neck and shoulder muscles, and a limited range of motion.
Recent research has shown that the three above described headaches can also overlap with one another. In chiropractic, we look to the spine as an often-overlooked factor in headache treatment. By objectively analyzing spine function, the doctor will identify the joints that are restricted in their range of motion or show abnormal posture and alignment. Many patients on x-ray, or through external postural analysis from the side, can show forward head posture. This is where the neck seems to arise from the front of the chest rather than back over your shoulders. The head is very heavy and with this poor posture, the muscles at the back of the neck must contract to restrain this heavy load.
There isn’t one particular bone that is treated for these different types of headaches, the premise being that the headache is a symptom of another problem in the spine.
Chiropractic care has an excellent safety profile and several studies have shown that patents with headaches positively respond to chiropractic care without the side effects often seen with drug treatments. Chiropractic care is one of the most researched non-drug options available for patients. Unfortunately, many patients choose over-the-counter and prescription medications and don’t consider more natural approaches that may get at the cause of the condition rather than just its effects.