Having been a chiropractor for the past 37 years I get many questions from patients. One question I received recently was from a woman in her early 30s who had suffered from tension headaches for nearly a decade. Her headaches were frequent, occurring several times per week. Unless she took an over-the-counter headache medication the discomfort could persist for many hours.
Another patient who spent a lot of his workday at a computer also experienced frequent stress related headaches. When he initially came to my office to be checked he related that he also needed to take anti-inflammatory medication to gain some relief of his condition.
Both these patients sought chiropractic care because they had heard that safe, gentle, treatment by a chiropractor could help them gain relief from headaches, naturally, without the use of medications. Both of them asked me: “Can I get relief from headaches without medications?”
After I had examined both of them, I was pleased to tell them: “Yes, your case will allow me to provide you with chiropractic care that will provide relief of your headaches.”
This article will provide information about a specific type of headache called, tension headaches. It will discuss what causes this condition and how natural chiropractic care can help with relief for this very common health problem.
There are various kinds of headaches that exist. It is estimated that half the population of the United States experiences some type of recurring headache. Experts have determined that approximately 25% of those suffering from this malady have problems with nerves in the upper part of the spine. The spinal bones of the neck are also called the cervical vertebrae. The joints of the cervical vertebrae and the upper sets of spinal nerves in that area can commonly be irritated if there is improper alignment or movement of the cervical vertebrae.
When this happens, it can trigger a tension or stress headache. One of my patients jokingly called them “headache nerves.” If she developed headache discomfort, she would call my office to tell me she was coming in to have her headache nerves taken care of.
To help her, and others who experience tension headaches, I will evaluate the alignment and motion of the upper cervical vertebrae. This is done by using my hands to feel vertebral movement and alignment. Frequently, I will also examine the area by taking some special x-rays to observe the upper vertebrae of the spine.
If there is a problem in this area it is just a matter of providing chiropractic care to treat the problem. The method of treatment a chiropractor utilizes is called manipulation. Manipulation may also be termed the chiropractic adjustment. This is a gentle, safe therapy for managing headache pain. A chiropractic adjustment involves a quick, mild movement of the doctor’s hands to bring about realignment of abnormally positioned cervical vertebrae. It is very safe and typically brings a good deal of pain relief to the patient.
The majority of patients suffering from tension headaches resulting from problems with nerves and joints of the upper cervical spine can obtain headache relief of this common, but very annoying condition with chiropractic care.