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Headaches

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 be helpful for reducing the immediate symptoms of a headache, they don’t address the reason a person is actually having the headache.

Often times headache suffers will report they get headaches only 3-4 times a week and that has been their “normal” headaches for some time. And for their “normal” headaches they just take a regular 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 todays society for all age groups. Statistics have shown 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. There are a number of factors that play a role in the high percentages 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 being constantly in front of a screen. And the 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 meds 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: 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 to the back your head and your neck. The headaches can be caused by stress, poor posture, or even looking down at your cellphone or computer for hours.

Cervicogenic Headaches: Cervicogenic Headaches often resulting from whiplash, poor posture or structural and functional changes to the neck and shoulders. The headaches frequently produce pain in the forehead or behind the eyes and are often associated with decreased function of the neck.

Migraine Headaches: Migraines are the sixth most disabling illness in the world and typically women will be affected at a higher rate. Migraines are unique in that they have a number of different triggers that can be different 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 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

A Comprehensive Consultation and Examination is Vital to Determine the Cause of your Headaches

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 on initial appointment where we can focus on a person’s case history to better understand their complaints. From there a comprehensive consultation, exam, and x-rays (if needed) are performed to help determine the cause and type of headaches. 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 patients’ 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 educate the patient on how to prevent the disorder from happening in the future.

Importance Of Diagnostic Digital X-rays (To See Is T Know, To Not See Is To Guess)

X-rays are invaluable when it comes to properly determining 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 finding 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 utilizing a digital x-ray unit. This means that we get instant results for our patients and the x-rays can be evaluated immediately with the need to refer out for imagining and wait for the results.

Tailored Chiropractic Treatment Plan for Your Headaches

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, 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 more commonly referred to as a joint restriction in our office. When one or more joints in the cervical spine is 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. It passes on the motion that is supposed to occur at the restricted joints, to the joints above and below the area to compensate for the lack of motion in the restricted joint. And it will eventually cause 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 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 through treatment we can and strive to get the fastest results possible.

In the initial phases of care treating the tissue with Active Release Technique can be not only expedite the healing process but it can also help to improve a persons overall function and help get the tissue ready to be rehabbed and maintained to prevent future injuries

Importance of Functional Rehabilitation

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 only to improve motion in the restricted areas but to build strength in the weak areas. When we can create balance in the body and the ability to maintain that balance the likely hood 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.