Headaches & Chiropractic

Female with headache

Headache is a common experience in adults, with more than 10 million people in the UK getting headaches regularly, making them one of the most common health complaints. However, most aren’t serious and are easily treated. Recurring headaches can have a negative effect on family life, social activity, and work ability. Accurate diagnosis is key to management and treatment.

There are two types of headache:

  1. Primary headaches: when there is no underlying health problem. The most common primary headache disorders are tension-type headache and migraine.
  2. Secondary headaches: when there is an underlying disorder and include headaches associated with medication overuse, giant cell arteritis, raised intracranial pressure and infection.

Tension headache is thought to be the most common headache. It is usually associated with stress, high alcohol consumption, poor sleep, depression and dehydration. This headache feels like a dull ache with constant band-like pressure around the front, top and sides of the head.

Migraine is a common disabling primary headache disorder. It is characterised by severe pounding pain on top or behind the eye. It can be associated with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sounds, changes in appetite, mood and libido.

Most people treat their migraines successfully with over-the-counter medication or stronger migraine-specific medication that is only available on prescription.

There is some research evidence which supports the effectiveness of manipulation/ mobilisation and nutritional therapy in treating migraine.

Medication overuse headache is found in patients that suffer from daily headaches and becomes increasingly unresponsive to pain killers. Patients will also notice worsening of the headache symptoms if the medications are missed or delayed.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction affects the joint between the base of the skull and the lower jaw and muscles of mastication.

Headaches are one of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs). TMDs affect the joint between the lower jaw and the base of the skull.

Giant cell arteritis (temporal arteritis). Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a condition in which medium and large arteries, usually in the head and neck, become inflamed. It usually affects adults over 60 years old.

Giant cell arteritis should be regarded as a medical emergency and you should contact your GP immediately if you suddenly develop:

  • a severe headache
  • jaw pain when eating
  • blurred or double vision
  • a sore scalp

What would a chiropractor do to help?

Headache sufferers are turning to the natural, drugless, chiropractic and massage approach to health. Treatment modalities typically used by chiropractors include spinal manipulation, mobilisation, massage, advanced soft tissue therapies such as trigger point therapy, and strengthening and stretching exercises. A spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment is designed to improve spinal function, alleviate the tension on the joints of the neck and improve the range of motion. Your chiropractor will also offer you advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.

What Can You Do?

  • If you spend a lot of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
  • Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
  • Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which irritate and can cause tension headaches.
  • Drink at least eight 8 glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.

If you would like to make a booking with a Chiropractor please call 01892-543029 or book online here

-Further Reading-

headaches, do you suffer from them and know why they occur?

Do you suffer with headache

Firstly nearly all of us will suffer from occasional headaches, some more than others.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined the structures responsible:

  • The Neck
  • The Scalp Muscles
  • The Brain Covering Sheath

Secondly, did you know…

Chiropractic treatment can help chronic headaches. According to a study carried out in North America, Europe and Australia approximately 10% of all chiropractic patients attend for the treatment of headaches.

Thirdly causes of headaches can be…

  • Dysfunction of the joints in the neck
  • Physical Trauma
  • Emotional Stress
  • Nutritional imbalance
  • Dehydration
  • Visual Strain

However sometimes in rare cases, headaches and migraines, can be a sign of more serious problems. So if you suffer from recurrent or chronic headaches it is often good to seek professional advice.

Lastly, did you know…

People can get two types of headaches;

  1. The first of which is tension headaches. These are caused by cramps or spasm in the muscles surrounding the skull.
  2. The second are neck (cervicogenic) headaches. These are caused by problems of the joints and muscles in the neck referring the pain into the head.

How does chiropractic treatment help? Chiropractors will use a variety of specific manipulation or adjustment techniques in order to stretch, relax, mobilise the neck joints, strengthen the neck muscles and remove any spinal irritation or tension.

Massage and it’s amazing benefits!


Massage and it’s amazing benefits!

Massage has had positive results in surveys for many different conditions. Conditions from stress and aches and pains to pregnancy and headaches. However, it is still not entirely clear why these benefits occur. Most recent research suggests two of the greatest changes induced by massage therapy are an increase in blood flow and in lymphatic fluid circulation.

The lymphatic fluid is an important element of the immune system as it contains white cells; and the drainage system, which rids the body of unwanted by-products and toxins. Massage can increase the effectiveness of both systems by increasing the flow of lymphatic fluid.

Increased blood and lymph circulation will bring about a reduction of swelling. It will also bring about faster healing, better delivery of nutrition to cells and the removal of cellular debris; it can also lower heart rate and blood pressure, increase the volume of blood and enhance overall health.

Sports Injuries

Massage can we used to treat acute and chronic sports injuries, It also helps maximize recovery. To help identify any soft tissue abnormalities, which left untreated, could lead to injury.

Sports injury massage should not be during the acute inflammatory response stage (straight after an injury). Once this period is over. Massage is often a very effective form of pain relief. By reducing the amount of pain producing chemicals in the affected tissues. Regular, professional massage has also been shown to increase the healing time for athletic injuries.

Massage also calls up the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, into the brain and nervous system. It often provides deep relaxation as it relieves muscle tension, spasm, and stiffness, which can all contribute to pain. Experts suggest that tense muscles are usually deprived of oxygen because the tightness reduces blood circulation to the area. Massage improves blood circulation, bringing with it the oxygen and other forms of nourishment that muscles need. Muscles then relax and pain often decreases.

How Are Migraines Different From Headaches, And How Should You Treat Them?

Stressed young woman in kitchen

A lot of people will only suffer from migraines once or twice in their lives and are not too adversely affected by them. However, there is a severe type of headache called a migraine that can keep returning and be incredibly debilitating. One in every five women suffer from migraines. One in every 15 men suffer from migraines. This is an estimate by the NHS. They usually begin in early adulthood.

The Cause

The exact cause of migraines is still somewhat unknown; the current understanding is that there is a temporary change in the chemicals and blood vessels of the brain.

A Migraine are typically experienced as a severe headache. Often with a throbbing pain in the front or sides of the head. Some people have other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound or smells. Migraines can last from a few hours to a few days.

There are different types of migraine. You can get migraines with aura, which is where there are warning signs of the migraine in the form of visual disturbance such as seeing spots, lights or blurred lines. There are also migraines that occur without warning, and it is even possible to have a migraine aura without the accompanying headache.

There are also many different possible triggers;

  • Stress
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Hormones
  • Tension

How to Treat them

In order to manage migraines in a regular sufferer, identification of a specific trigger is essential. Behavioural or lifestyle changes playing an important part in the treatment. This includes avoidance of certain foods. Maintenance of a regular sleep pattern. Chiropractic treatment also has the ability to alleviate some contributory factors or after effects including relieve of restriction in movement of the neck, muscle tension in the neck, upper back and shoulders and helping correct any postural issues that may influence the occurrence of both migraine and tension headaches.