Headaches far too often are dismissed as minor ailments that can be easily managed by simply taking a few over-the-counter pain relievers. Although pain medication may help reduce the immediate symptoms of a headache, they don’t address the reason a person is actually having the headache.
Oftentimes, headache sufferers report getting “normal” headaches 3-4 times a week and for these “normal” headaches they take a “normal” dose of pain medication to get through their day. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers daily is not “normal”, as pain relievers can cause liver or kidney damage and other serious side effects if you take too many of them. Fortunately, Chiropractic care offers a drug-free treatment option.
Headaches have become more frequent in today’s society for all age groups. Statistics show that globally 23% of people will experience headaches multiple times a year, 18% will experience headaches multiple times a month, and 10% will experience headaches multiple times a week. Several factors play a role in the high percentages of headaches in the 21st century. Our societal norms have changed fairly rapidly from active manual labor jobs to an increase in jobs that require long hours sitting at a computer. Kids have gone from constantly being outside, riding bikes, and running free, to constantly being in front of a screen. Their lack of physical activity has led to a higher rate of obesity and poor posture. Our current day-to-day routine does not allow us to express the healthiest versions of ourselves.
Headaches, though common, are not “normal”. We shouldn’t just accept that they are part of your everyday life and continue to mask the symptoms with over-the-counter pain medication, or even something stronger. There are many causes of headaches and Chiropractic care can be a great option for addressing these issues.
3 Most Common Types of Headaches That We Treat
Tension headaches occur when the muscles in your neck and head contract and become overly tight. You may feel tightness and pain in your forehead only, or the pain may wrap around the back of your head and your neck. Tension headaches can be caused by stress, poor posture, or even looking down at your cellphone or computer for hours.
Cervicogenic Headaches often result from whiplash, poor posture, or structural and functional changes to the neck and shoulders. These headaches frequently produce pain in the forehead or behind the eyes and are often associated with decreased function of the neck.
Migraines are the sixth most disabling illness in the world and women are typically affected at a higher rate. Migraines are unique in that they have different triggers that can be unique from person to person. Migraines may be triggered by certain foods, smoke, wine, weather, stress, or hormonal changes. Pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, in addition to other unpleasant migraine symptoms, can affect the quality of your life and make it difficult to work or care for your family.
How We Treat Headaches at Excel Chiropractic and Wellness
Comprehensive Consultation and Examination
At Excel Chiropractic and Wellness, our goal is to get to the root cause of the issue and not to just treat the symptoms. The best way to do that is to spend time on the initial appointment where we can focus on a person’s case history to better understand their complaints. From there a comprehensive consultation, examination, and x-rays (if needed) are performed; these steps are vital to helping determine the cause and type of headache. Then, if the results of the exam show that the patient is a good candidate to receive Chiropractic care, we will develop a tailored treatment plan for each patient’s conditions.
Getting our patients back to a healthy, normal lifestyle is our main focus, but it should be a result of improved function that leads to healing and not just taking away the pain. We accomplish this with a therapeutic exercise and stretching regimen and by educating the patient on how to prevent the disorder from happening in the future.
Diagnostic Digital X-rays
To See Is To Know, To Not See Is To Guess
X-rays are invaluable to properly determine if there are underlying factors that may be contributing to your headaches. Poor posture, arthritis, imbalanced muscle groups, and even birth defects can all lead to pain in the cervical spine as well as headaches.
X-rays are used to diagnose the severity of the issue and, in some cases, used to determine how long the ailment has been around. Many patients are surprised to see abnormal findings such as improper alignment of joints, degeneration, and even scoliosis with minimal to no pain in the areas of change.
At Excel Chiropractic and Wellness, we have the advantage of having a digital X-ray unit in the office. This means X-rays can be evaluated immediately and we get instant results for our patients, without the need to refer them out for imagining and wait for the results.
Tailored Chiropractic Headache Treatment In Lincoln, NE
After completing the Chiropractic, functional, orthopedic, and neurological exams, we are able to pinpoint the true cause of your headaches and what type of headaches we are dealing with. We’re able to create a tailored treatment plan to best address your pain.
The main focus of any treatment plan is to, yes, relieve pain, but more importantly to restore function. At the core of our treatment is the Chiropractic adjustment. When an area of the body is not functioning properly it could be due to something called a subluxation, or, in our office, more commonly referred to as a joint restriction.
When one or more joints in the cervical spine are restricted in motion those areas will also have a decrease or loss of function. This forces the muscles around that joint to spasm in order for the body to self-preserve or brace the area. To compensate for lack of motion in the restricted joints, the joints above and below take on extra responsibility, causing inflammation and irritation to the nerves surrounding the area. Locating and identifying these areas of malfunction allows your doctor to customize a treatment plan that is right for you, getting you on track to true health and wellness.
Active Release Technique
Active Release Technique, or ART, is a hands-on soft tissue technique used to address the soft tissues that support our joints. We feel that it is important to address not only the joint dysfunction we find in our evaluation but also the soft tissue dysfunction that is contributing to any specific condition as well.
For headaches specifically, the muscles in the neck and shoulders, when combined with joint restrictions, can be a large part of the reason for frequent headaches. We always want to provide the most thorough treatment we can and strive to get the fastest results possible.
In the initial phases of care, treating the tissue with Active Release Technique expedites the healing process. It helps to improve a person’s overall function and get the tissue ready to be rehabbed and maintained to prevent future injuries.
Once we have improved the overall function and decreased the frequency and severity of your headaches, we want to make sure that we keep them under control. That is why we need to rehab and retrain the neck and mid back area to ensure that you can maintain proper strength and mobility to avoid future headaches.
Functional Rehab is meant not just to improve motion in the restricted areas but also to build strength in the weak areas. When we can create balance in the body, and the ability to maintain that balance, the likelihood of future flare-ups is greatly reduced.
So, the next time you or someone you know is dealing with a headache don’t reach for the bottle of pain medication. Reach for the phone and give our office call so we can get you on the road to a headache free life.