Chiropractors address the cause of headaches, rather than giving painkillers and other drugs which only treat the symptoms.
What Puts the Ache in Headache?
The ache in a headache does not come from your brain - your brain cannot feel pain. During brain surgery a patient is often wide-awake feeling nothing, even talking to the surgeons and nurses while his/her brain is being operated on (a local anesthetic numbs the scalp). The pain comes from the non-brain structures: blood vessels, membranes around cranial nerves in the brain and skull. When the structures are stretched, compressed, irritated, inflamed or infected, headaches often result.
Are Headaches Normal?
The simple answer is no, headaches are not normal. Chiropractic has a unique healing approach, which is why do millions of headache sufferers turn to the natural, drug-free chiropractic approach to health. Chiropractors are the only health professionals trained to analyze your body for a serious and often ignored condition that can damage your nerves, cause tissue inflammation, muscles to tighten and set the stage for sickness and disease. This condition is called subluxation.
Just as you may have a cavity in your tooth and be unaware of the damage it's causing, a subluxation in your spine may be causing serious harm to your body - sometimes for years - without your knowledge.
What exactly is a subluxation? It is a misalignment in your spine and structural system that stresses your nervous system. What causes subluxations? Any physical or emotional stress that your body cannot withstand can cause your spine and structural systems to develop a subluxation.
What are the symptoms of headaches & migraines?
Headaches are divided into primary headaches (which account for 95% of headaches) and those headaches that signal another physical condition. Migraine symptoms may include:
- Dull, sharp, or throbbing moderate to severe pain
- Pain behind the eyes or on one or both sides of the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Increased sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell
- Pain that gets worse with routine physical activity
- Blurred vision
The Chiropractic Checkup
Using his or her hands, postural examination and X-ray, your chiropractor will determine if you have a subluxation. If you do, your chiropractor will give you a safe, gentle correction or adjustment to realign the spine and remove the pressure on your nerves, brain and structural system.
Why Does Chiropractic Work So Well?
Why has chiropractic been so effective for millions of headache sufferers? The reason may be that most headaches sufferers appear to be carrying around subluxations in their spines (and don't even know it). For example, one study of 6,000 long-term headache sufferers (suffering 2 to 25 years) revealed that neck damage (whiplash, falls) was the most important factor in the cause of the headache and should be suspected in every nonspecific case of headache. 1
In a randomized controlled trial performed at the University of Odense, Denmark, those under chiropractic care decreased their use of painkillers by 36% and the number of headache hours per day decreased by 69%. 2
Headaches affect children too. For example a 10-year-old girl with chronic, severe migraines (six times a week for the previous three years) wasn't able to attend school due to the severity of her condition. Neurologists could not help her. A chiropractic examination revealed a subluxation in her upper neck. After her third adjustment she no longer needed pain medications and by the third week she was back in school, had started dance class for the first time in two years and begin to smile again. "She was leading a normal and healthy life... by the end of the fifth visit."
How Long Will it Take?
It depends. Some patients report dramatic relief after just one adjustment. Others may take months of care to finally resolve them. There are several factors that may effect how long it takes to respond to care including, the severity of the spinal misalignments, the length of time problem has been present, and damage to the spine and structural system. An analysis of 47 studies of chiropractic for headaches, neck pain and upper back pain revealed that it took about 8 visits to see a 47% improvement in these conditions and 17 visits to completely resolve them.
Many studies and clinical reports repeatedly revealed anyone suffering from headaches should seek out chiropractic care.
1. Braaf MM, Rosner SJ. Trauma of the cervical spine as cause of chronic headache. Trauma. 1975;15:441
2. Nilsson N, Christensensen HW, Hartvigsen J. The Effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of cervicogenic headache. JMPT. 1997; 20:326-330