Headaches affect just about everyone at some point and they can present themselves in many different ways. Some people only experience pain in one part of their head or behind their eyes, some people experience a pounding sensation inside their whole head.
Tension type headaches are the most common, affecting upwards of 75% of all headache sufferers. Most people describe a tension headache as a constant dull, achy feeling either on one side or both sides of the head, often described as a feeling of a tight band or dull ache around the head or behind the eyes. These headaches usually begin slowly and gradually and can last for minutes or days. Tension headaches are often the result of stress or bad posture, which stresses the spine and muscles in the upper back and neck. Tension headaches, or stress headaches, can last from 30 minutes to several days. In some cases, chronic tension headaches may persist for many months. Although the pain can at times be severe, tension headaches are usually not associated with other symptoms, such as nausea, throbbing or vomiting. The most common cause of tension headaches is subluxations in the upper back and neck, especially the upper neck, usually in combination with active trigger points. When the top cervical vertebrae lose their normal motion or position, a small muscle called the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle goes into spasm. Chiropractic helps with these symptoms with conservative chiropractic care.
Migraine headaches are intense and throbbing headaches that are often associated with nausea and sensitivity to light or noise. These migraine headaches can last from as little as a few hours to as long as a few days. Many of those who suffer from migraine headaches experience visual symptoms called an "aura" just prior to an attack that is often described as seeing flashing lights or that everything takes on a dream-like appearance.
Chiropractic Care for Headaches
Numerous research studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments are very effective for treating headaches, especially headaches that originate in the neck. Each individual’s case is different and requires a thorough evaluation before a proper course of chiropractic care can be determined. However, in most cases of tension headaches, significant improvement is accomplished through manipulation of the upper two cervical vertebrae, coupled with adjustments to the junction between the cervical and thoracic spine. This is also helpful in most cases of migraine headaches.