Who hasn’t had a headache? That pounding sensation in your head or behind your eyes that lasts for just a few minutes or days, can stop you in your tracks. Sometimes, the pain even makes you feel nauseous.
Headaches have many causes including reactions to drugs, TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) tightness in the neck muscles, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, stress and fatigue, the majority of recurrent headaches are: tension headaches (also called cervicogenic headaches), migraine headaches or a cluster headache which is a cousin to the migraine.
Fortunately, most headaches come and go, but there are times when medical attention is required.
Chiropractic Care from Ocon Family Chiropractic
At Ocon Family Chiropractic, can help you with your headache pain. We read and study the latest research and trends in chiropractic care to better serve your needs. Current research supports the belief that chiropractic adjustments are effective for treating tension headaches, especially those that originate in the neck.
A report byDuke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that, “spinal manipulation 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 headaches than commonly prescribed medications.” These findings support an earlier study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that found spinal manipulative therapy to be very effective for treating tension headaches. This study also found that those who stopped chiropractic treatment after four weeks continued to experience a sustained benefit in contrast to those patients who received pain medication.
We now know that 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.
We will complete a thorough evaluation before we identify a proper course of chiropractic care for your individual needs.
Headache Trigger Points
Trigger point therapy for headaches tends to involve four muscles:
Splenius muscles — comprised of two individual muscles – the Splenius Capitis and the Splenius Cervicis. Both of these muscles run from the upper back to either the base of the skull (splenius capitis) or the upper cervical vertebrae (splenius cervicis).
Trigger points in the Splenius muscles are a common cause of headache pain that travels through the head to the back of the eye, as well as to the top of the head.
Suboccipitals — a group of four small muscles responsible for maintaining the proper movement and positioning between the first cervical vertebra and the base of the skull.
Trigger points in these muscles will cause pain that feels like it’s inside the head, extending from the back of the head to the eye and forehead. Often times it will feel like the whole side of the head hurts, a pain pattern similar to that experienced with a migraine.
Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) — runs from the base of the skull, just behind the ear, down the side of the neck to attach to the top of the sternum (breastbone).
Trigger points are widespread, including referred pain, balance problems and visual disturbances. Referred pain patterns tend to be deep eye pain, headaches over the eye and can even cause earaches. Unusual characteristics of SCM trigger points are that they can cause dizziness, nausea and unbalance.
Trapezius — the very large, flat muscle in the upper and mid-back.
Trigger points located in the very top of the trapezius muscle refer pain to the temple and back of the head and is sometimes responsible for headache pain. This trigger point is capable of producing satellite trigger points in the muscles in the temple or jaw, which can lead to jaw or tooth pain.
Manage Your Headache Triggers
- Keep a headache diary to help determine whether factors such as food, change in weather, and/or mood have any relationship to a headache pattern.
- Avoid eating foods prepared with monosodium glutamate (MSG). Soy sauce, meat tenderizer and a variety of packaged foods contain this chemical.
- Identify stressors—certain foods, odors, menstrual periods, changes in weather — and be prepared in advance for these changes.
- Avoid foods that are high in the amino acid tyramine such as ripened cheeses (cheddar, brie), chocolate, as well as pickled or fermented foods.
- Be aware of emotional factors such as depression, anxiety, frustration, letdown.
- Limit exposure to nitrite compounds which can result in a dull, pounding headache sometimes accompanied by a flushed face. Nitrite, which dilates blood vessels, is found in such products as heart medicine, but is also used as a chemical to preserve meat like Hot dogs and other processed meats.
- Remove Exposure to poisons, even common household varieties like insecticides, carbon tetrachloride and lead is a cause. Children who ingest flakes of lead paint may develop headaches. So may anyone who has contact with lead batteries or lead-glazed pottery.
We can help you with your headache pain. Contact us today and schedule an appointment.