Could Your Headache Be Coming From Your Spine?

Migraine Headache
Headache Pain Relief Through Chiropractic Care

Many people struggle with headaches. There are certainly various types of headaches. One person may have migraine headaches, another may have tension headaches, and someone else may have sinus headaches. What do they all have in common? In my 35 years of chiropractic practice I have found that the majority of headaches, are coming from the spine. This article will discuss headaches, important research concerning this condition and headache pain relief.

As I noted earlier, there are varying types of headaches. Let’s briefly discuss these. Migraine headaches are classically located on one side of the head. They are usually preceded by a “prodrome.” A prodrome occurs before the actual head pain. For some it might be a loss of peripheral vision, others may get a ringing in the ears and another might get a feeling of numbness in the facial area. Migraine sufferers usually experience a severe pain that can cause them disability to the point they may have to lie down in a dark quiet room.

Tension headaches, which also may be called muscular stress headaches, can be located anywhere in the skull. Some people get them in the back of the head, others might get them in the temples and another might find them to be all over the entire skull. Stress and tiredness tend to trigger tension headaches. Usually, they are mild to moderate in nature and those suffering from them are accustomed to continuing on with their day, albeit under duress.

Sinus headaches are usually located in front of the head and are located around the eyes, forehead and upper cheeks. They may occur with changes in weather, temperature or seasonal changes. They are confounding to those having them due to their unpredictability.

Fortunately, there is a single type of conservative care that is blessing for headache pain alleviation. Research has found that the cause of headaches is frequently found by correcting spinal misalignments in the upper neck. In fact, the Journal of Occupational Trauma published a research article that said: “Headaches are more frequently caused by spinal stress than any other condition.”

A doctor of chiropractic is trained to evaluate the upper spinal bones of the neck for misalignments and improper motion. If there is abnormal alignment or motion of these bones, called vertebrae, it can irritate nerves that cause migraine, tension, and sinus headaches.

Chiropractors are also trained to restore proper alignment and motion to the upper spinal vertebrae by way of a chiropractic adjustment. A chiropractic adjustment is very safe, gentle conservative. Many headache sufferers are used to taking medications for headaches. These drugs may have unhealthy side effects. Chiropractic care is known to be a non-pharmaceutical alternative for headache pain relief.

For over 125 years chiropractors have cared for patients suffering from headaches and provided pain relief.

From the headache pain relief chiropractic office of Dr. James J Schofield. See our video for Pittsburgh North Hills chiropractic headache pain relief.

Do Chiropractors Only Adjust The Spine?

Chiropractic Adjustments
Chiropractic Adjustments & Myofascial Disruption Technique

When I meet someone new and they ask me what I do, I tell them I’ve been a practicing chiropractor in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh for 35 years. The majority of their responses, in some way, indicate they believe I treat back problems with chiropractic adjustments. This is certainly true. I am able to give patients pain relief for their back and neck problems by adjusting their spinal misalignments. In fact, I have always considered spinal adjustments to be the gold standard in the treatment of most back problems. However, there are adjunctive methods of treatment, that I also utilize. This article will discuss a particular adjunctive treatment modality that I also use at times called Myofascial Disruption Technique (MFDT).

Myofascial Disruption Technique is a hands-on technique commonly used by doctors of chiropractic that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into connective tissue restrictions to help eliminate pain and restore motion.

Let’s further explore MFDT. Myo is a term that means muscle. Fascial denotes fascia. The fascia is a type of connective tissue that holds and connects different parts of our body together. Fascia is not muscle tissue, ligaments, tendons, skin or organs. It is the diffuse, broad, fibrous tissue that is found all over the body that is somewhat flexible and allows our bodies to move properly. A good example of fascia is that found along the bottom of our feet called the plantar fascia. This fascia inserts at the front of the foot and extends back to the bottom of the heel. It is attached to the bones and the small muscles of the arch of the foot. When this fascia gets irritated it is called the plantar fasciitis.

There is fascia all over the body. There is a broad sheet of fascia along the side of the thigh called the Tensor Fasciae Latae. Another fascial area is in the lower back, called the lumbar fascia.

Normally muscles and fascia are smooth and the fibers form a flawless matrix. However, at times muscles and fascia can become disrupted. The fibers can become separated, pulled from their insertions, wrinkled or otherwise damaged.

MFDT is a method I like to use for these types of injured tissues. By applying pressure into these damaged muscle and fascial tissues we are able to repair the fascia and muscles and bring pain relief.

In October 2019 a research study was published in Clinical Interventions in Aging that documents how well this technique works. In a study involving 45 elderly patients with nonspecific low back pain, those treated with a combination of Myofascial Disruption Technique and core strengthening exercises three times a week for six weeks experienced improvements in low back pain and function, lower body flexibility, fear avoidance behavior, and overall quality of life.

As mentioned earlier, while I love using chiropractic spinal adjustments to bring neck and back pain relief, I also use Myofascial Disruption Technique as an adjunct to get faster and better healing for my patients.

Visit Dr James Schofield, chiropractor, neck and back pain relief. Discover UPMC chiropratic back and neck pain relief.


Mike Spangler
Dr James Schofield & Mike Spangler

I had numbness in my fingers caused by a pinched nerve in my neck. I really had not done anything to get help. My family members recommended Chiropractic.

Dr. Schofield listened to my problem, did X-Rays to identify the problem, did adjustments, and gave me an exercise program. I like to go bowling, golf, and play sports. I have been able to do things pain free as a result of the adjustments and exercises. I can do things now that I was unable to do before my care.

I would encourage anyone who is not sure about Chiropractic to try it.  It works!  Don’t expect immediate results, it is a process that includes doing exercises.  Dr. Schofield is very understanding and knowledgeable.  He can direct you, but you need to help yourself as well!

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Back Pain Relief For Seniors

Get moving with chiropractic care
Chiropractic Care Helps Seniors With Back Pain

Many senior citizens suffer from lower back pain. At a time of their life when they could and should be enjoying themselves back conditions can be a source of ongoing pain and cause great limitations with ability for enjoyment. This article will discuss the most frequent cause of back discomfort amongst seniors, a recent research study revealing data concerning older adult back conditions and a safe, inexpensive, drug-free, nonsurgical conservative care approach to helping this very common malady.

Older adults have usually spent their earlier decades engaging in activities that cause cumulative physical stresses to the low back. Quite a few have had occupations requiring physical labor that affects the back. Those employed in construction work, the trades, nursing, law enforcement and emergency responders and military personnel are all susceptible to back injuries and repetitive stress damage to the back. People employed in sedentary jobs such as administrative assistants, accountants, lawyers, engineers, chemists and dental professionals are not immune to back problems. Likewise, homemakers, whether male or female, who are raising children and keeping a household are susceptible to this condition.

A scientific research study published in Clinics (Brazil), October 2019 reviewed data from 35 published studies involving over 135,000 older adults. The research noted that it’s very common for seniors to experience low back pain that affects their ability to carry out daily tasks. According to the researchers, about one in five adults in their 60s currently have back pain and the risk increases with age, affecting up to 75% of those over the age of 100.

The most frequent cause of back pain for senior citizens is misalignment and/or improper movement of the bones of the lower spine which are called vertebrae. If the vertebrae are not in proper alignment and move improperly, they can pinch spinal nerves and cause irritation of the spinal joints. This is, by far, the most common source of lower back pain.

Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to help this problem. Chiropractic care is the gold standard when looking to help the majority of people suffering from back problems. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate problems of the lower spine. By way of a spinal evaluation consisting of the chiropractor feeling along the muscles of the back for spasm and tightness and misalignments and improper movement of the spinal bones and joints the doctor of chiropractic can determine if a patient is a candidate for chiropractic care. In the event the patient can be helped by chiropractic care treatment can be commenced. The most common method of treatment given by a chiropractor to seniors suffering from lower back pain is a chiropractic adjustment. The adjustment is a very safe, gentle, conservative treatment to realign and restore proper movement to the area of the spine requiring care. Should a patient not be a candidate for chiropractic care the doctor of chiropractic is qualified to refer that person to the best healthcare provider for their specific condition.

For over 125 years chiropractors have been helping seniors get relief of lower back pain. The older adult suffering from a mechanical pain condition of the back would be well advised to consult a doctor of chiropractic.

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What Relief Is There For Pain Radiating Down The Arm?

Pain Radiating Into The Arm
Pain Radiating Into The Arm

Many people suffer from pain traveling or radiating down their arm. This discomfort can range from a mild tingling or ache to an agonizing sharp or throbbing pain. For some the onset is gradual, over time. For others the pain occurs suddenly from an accident or overexertion. This article will discuss pain down the arm, a recent scientific research study describing the condition and what can be done to give relief of pain going down the arm.

There are a number of different types of conditions causing a person to have pain in the arm. A very common category of arm pain is called cervicobrachial radiculopathy (CR). “Cervico” refers to the spinal area of the neck which is called the cervical spine. There are seven spinal bones called vertebrae that make up our cervical spine. “Brachial” is a term that means arm. “Radiculopathy” denotes a pain that radiates or travels. Thus, CR is pain that radiates down the arm with it’s origin coming from the neck.

Typically, the cervical vertebrae become misaligned and pinch upon exiting nerves that travel into the arm. At times, a cervical disc, which is a type of specialized cartilage that sits between the vertebrae, can bulge, protrude or herniate against nerves which causes radiating pain.

A research study in the Archives of Medical Sciences, June 2018 describes pain that extends from the neck into the shoulder and arm. The study found that patients treated by a form of treatment performed by doctors of chiropractic called mobilization, for six weeks experienced improvements in both pain and function. The research team concluded, “our findings challenge the role of pharmacologic versus manual therapy as possible treatments that may improve pain intensity and upper limb functionality in subjects with cervical radiculopathy.”

Insight we can gain from this research indicates there are treatments from pharmacological drugs and treatment from hands-on manual therapy. Medications typically tend to either reduce inflammation or provide pain killing approaches. Manual therapy tends to look at methods to realign misaligned cervical vertebrae and to reduce cervical disc protrusions.

Chiropractors are considered to be experts in providing manual therapy to give pain relief of pain radiating down the arm. A chiropractor will examine the patient’s cervical spine and usually obtain x-rays in the initial evaluation visit. Once the chiropractor determines where the misalignment and/or disc problem is located gentle, safe, hands-on chiropractic care can be given to correct the cause of cervical radiculopathy.

Anyone seeking relief of pain traveling down the arm would certainly benefit from consulting with a chiropractor for this terribly uncomfortable condition.

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