Happy Father’s Day from the Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic office of Dr. James J Schofield.
Happy Flag Day from the Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic office of Dr. James J Schofield.
Tension headaches affect many people and are the most common type of headaches among adults. Sometimes they are called stress headaches. This article will discuss how to achieve tension headache pain relief without the use of medications.
The main symptoms of a tension headache are pain on both sides of the head and/or in the front or back of the head, they are brought on by a stressful event, and the pain is usually throbbing in nature. Women are twice as likely to suffer from tension-type headaches as men.
If a person’s headaches persist more than three months, they are considered to be chronic. Chronic tension headaches may be constant and almost always present although the headache pain intensity may vary throughout the day.
Tension headaches are commonly associated with neck pain. The medical anatomical term for the neck area is the “cervical spine.” Researchers have found that if spinal cervical bones are misaligned or not moving properly it can cause nerve and joint irritation which is the source or cause of tension headaches.
If one watches television, he or she will see no shortage of commercials advertising medications to help with tension headaches. A main drawback of headache medication is the harm caused to the gastrointestinal track stomach and intestinal linings. Many people suffer from ulcer side-effect problems caused by taking headache medicines.
Doctors of Chiropractic utilize a non-pharmaceutical, multimodal approach to help patients achieve relief of headache pain. Cervicogenic tension headaches show marked improvement with treatment of chiropractic adjustments. These adjustments allow realignment and restoring proper motion of the cervical spinal bones. This in turn, reduces pain of the nerves and joints of the cervical spine, resulting in improvement of tension headache frequency and intensity.
Chiropractors may also use other types of care to assist and accelerate pain relief. The use of cold packs, properly applied to the back of the neck helps reduce swelling and inflammation of the area. Deep muscle pressure and stretching of the neck and base of the skull musculature helps release spasms and stressed, tightened fascia. Learning simple corrective exercises to improve upper body posture expedites management for patients suffering from tension headaches.
Each patient is unique. There is no one approach that works for everyone. By discussing the problem with the patient, and conducting a thorough examination a doctor of chiropractic can determine the best method of care, monitor the patient’s progress and ultimately achieve tension headache pain relief.
As a practicing chiropractor of over 38 years, I am asked frequently by my patient’s, what exercises they should do to help get and stay free of lower back pain. I also see patients who have lower back pain and have been doing an exercise program that is deleterious to the back condition they’ve presented with. This article will discuss the do’s and don’ts of exercise if one has a history of lower back pain.
Let me first note that the information in this article is for general perusal and not specific to any person. Anyone who has, or is presently, suffering from lower back pain needs to, individually, consult with their healthcare provider as to proper guidance and activity. The ideas presented here come from my years of experience and are strictly my opinion.
My patients come in all types of different categories. I work with young, very fit professional and amateur athletes who aren’t necessarily in pain but are looking to improve their performance. Many of them are seemingly indestructible. They can exercise, practice, and participate in their sport with almost no restriction. With these people I tell them to recognize the “window of life” that they are in and enjoy it to the fullest. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever.
I mainly counsel them to be careful with exercises that could haunt them later in life. For instance, I tell runners to spend some percentage of their time running on a softer surface like a dirt trail, or a grass field or a track to lessen impact on their lower extremities and lower back. I advise serious weightlifters to limit compressive exercises like squats and deadlifts to one or two times per week.
The majority of my patients are middle-aged or seniors. They may have had injuries to their spine or occupations that have caused wear and tear. Nurses, people who work in construction and people with full-time desk jobs are typical of many of the patients I see.
The exercises I recommend to them are more of a gentle, stretching and strengthening warm-up nature. I encourage these folks to do some gentle stretching first thing in the morning to prepare for more vigorous exertion that their day will bring. The mindset is to ready themselves as an athlete would before a practice or game.
Lower back exercises for this category of patient might include lying face up and pulling one or both knees gently to the chest for 5 seconds. Pelvic tilts to gently strengthen the lower core muscles are also very appropriate. Stretching the gluteal/buttock muscles, which are the largest group of the body, can help immeasurably.
Patients who have neck and upper back problems can do a morning routine of neck ranges of motion, and pectoral stretches to increase flexibility. Gently strengthening the muscles of the back of the neck and between the lower shoulder blades can help with posture and in bringing about chronic neck pain relief.
Most of these people benefit from walking, lightweight lifting, swimming, elliptical machines and other age-appropriate activities. I’ve seen too many people go on YouTube and try to do unsuitable rehabilitation exercises like planks, use of exercise balls, leg lifts and abs of steel routines. These can be very harmful and make my goal of providing spinal pain relief much more difficult.
Exercises to provide neck and lower back pain relief should always be suitable for us at whatever stage of life we are at. The goal should be to help you for a long time to come!