Most of us experience the occasional headache. Whether it’s throbbing, aching, pounding or stabbing, a headache can make our lives miserable. It also affects our ability to focus and may increase our sensitivity to external stimuli.
There are several types of headaches, and each one has a different cause. The most common headaches are tension, migraine, cervicogenic and cluster. Migraines are often considered to exist in a category of their own. (We’ll discuss migraines in the next issue of Topic of the Week.)
The tension headache is the most frequent type of headache in the general population) It usually occurs most frequently in people susceptible to the effects of stress. This headache usually starts with tightness in the neck and shoulders, then progresses to pain at the base of the skull. The forehead and temples may also ache.
A cervicogenic headache originates from disorders of the neck. This type of headache is often preceded by awkward neck movement or positioning (such as painting a ceiling, or washing a floor). It’s usually accompanied by restricted range of motion in the neck and pain in the shoulder, neck or arm.
A frequent cause of both tension and cervicogenic headaches is irritation of the nerves leading to the scalp. These nerves exit the spine close to the base of the skull and pass around or directly through several layers of muscle tissue. If this area of the spine is restricted or the muscles in this location are extra tight, the nerves in the scalp can get irritated. When related with neck pain and stiffness, these headaches can generally be effectively treated with chiropractic. 2-5 Sometimes the relief from chronic headaches can be immediate and dramatic. Massage and trigger point therapy applied to the tight muscles may also reduce the symptoms associated with this type of headache.
Cluster headaches are relatively rare – affecting only 0.1% of the population. About 85% of cluster headache sufferers are male.’ This headache is distinct from migraine and tension headaches. It typically features intense bouts of stabbing pain felt in very specific focal areas of the skull. The pain usually occurs in clusters, and it can last from minutes to hours. The discomfort typically centers around one eye, and this eye may be inflamed and watery. Nasal congestion sometimes occurs on the affected side of the face. It’s suspected that cluster headaches are related to the sinuses.
This type of headache is not usually as responsive to chiropractic treatments as other headaches. But it’s a good idea to have your chiropractor check your neck to rule out any involvement of this area.
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The Deceiving Nature of Whiplash
The traffic light ahead turns red. You bring your vehicle to a stop. Then BANG! Your head snaps forward then backward. Your car is hurtled a foot into the intersection. You realize almost immediately what just happened. Your vehicle was rear ended. Other than being startled by the event, you’re okay… or are you?Despite feeling fine, you may have just received a common and sometimes serious injury: whiplash. Your chiropractor can tell you that it’s often a deceiving injury.
When your vehicle is rear ended, your neck can get stretched beyond its natural range of motion. Whiplash can occur at speeds as low as 5 mph. You may feel pain quickly or you may not develop symptoms for several hours, weeks, or months. Your neck (cervical spine) contains muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, joints and nerves confined to a relatively small area. And whiplash can injure all these body components.
Although it happens most frequently in rear-end vehicle collisions, whiplash can occur in other situations – especially in the sports of football, gymnastics, boxing and contact martial arts.
Besides the neck and upper back, pain from a whiplash may extend into other areas of the body, such as the arms and shoulders. You may also suffer muscle stiffness, burning or tingling sensations as well as headaches and numbness. Even if you don’t have any immediate whiplash symptoms, you should visit your chiropractor as soon as possible.
Many times, expectant mothers feel like pain and pregnancy go hand-in-hand. Lowery Chiropractic is here to give you an option for a pain free pregnancy.
During this very special time, we encourage you to let us take care of the discomfort that comes along with the rapid changes that are occurring to your body.
We achieve this naturally, without medication or surgery. As the baby (and mom) grow, the weight will transfer to the pelvis, low back, and hips of the mother.
These changes occur so rapidly that the body has difficulty “keeping up” and adapting. Many times these joints will lock up under the new stresses.
This means less irritation, less inflammation, and less pain! The imbalance of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are another cause of pain.
Chiropractic can ease the tension on the soft tissues as well.
If you have been diagnosed with sciatica, round ligament pain, back pain, or other pregnancy related issues, call our chiropractic office and see if he can help.
Keep in mind that chiropractors are not only trained in the health and treatment of the spine. At Lowery Chiropractic, we treat the whole body including the ankles, knees, and wrists.