Chronic headaches can be a frustrating and exhausting condition. According to statistics, approximately 45 million Americans complain about chronic headaches each year, and these numbers are growing.
While some treatments, such as over-the-counter or prescription medications, can offer some immediate headache relief, they also have potential side effects, do not always address the root cause of the problem, and do not eliminate headache triggers, which means the headache pain will likely return.
In recent years, more and more people are turning to alternative and natural approaches to health care, including for headache treatment. Chiropractic care is one of these natural treatment approaches that can help with a variety of issues. It is a non-invasive, drug-free practice that focuses on restoring proper function to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, thus relieving pain and discomfort. That being said, visiting a chiropractor can help treat headaches.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of natural headache treatment through chiropractic care and how it can help address the underlying causes of frequent headaches.
How Headaches Can Impact Your Daily Life
Headaches are a common affliction that can significantly impact your day-to-day life. Depending on the type and severity of the headache, they can cause discomfort, dull ache, sharp pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that interfere with your ability to accomplish tasks.
Here’s how headaches affect your everyday life:
A chronic headache can make it difficult to focus on work, chores, schoolwork, and other tasks. Ultimately, a headache makes you less productive because the pain diverts your focus.
- Social Life
Frequent headaches can make it challenging for you to enjoy social activities and hobbies. They can ruin your mood, prevent you from engaging in social interactions, or even force you to cancel plans.
You know very well how headaches affect mood. No one enjoys experiencing pain or discomfort. Chronic headaches can lead to fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and depression, which makes it difficult to be in a good mood.
Besides affecting productivity, headaches can make falling or staying asleep difficult, and lead to several kinds of sleep disorders. Lack of sleep in combination with headaches might also result in other mental and physical health issues.
Depending on the severity of the headaches and how often they emerge, they can greatly affect your daily life. The worst part about chronic headaches is that the situation can worsen if the underlying causes are not addressed correctly in a timely manner. Consulting a professional chiropractor in Oak Brook is essential for natural headache treatment.
Types of Headaches and Their Symptoms
There are several types of headaches, each with different symptoms. Understanding what type of headache you’re experiencing is important to determining the right way to treat it.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the most common types of headaches that affect people.
Migraine headaches are often characterized by an intense, throbbing pain on one side of the head or both sides of the head. Some people experience seeing an aura as a kind of warning before the onslaught of a migraine headache. Apart from excruciating pain, you can also experience other debilitating symptoms.
Some common symptoms of a migraine attack include:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Partial loss of vision
- Muscle weakness
- Pain in nerves connecting the brain and spinal cord
Migraine headaches are pretty common in people with a family history of conditions such as epilepsy and depression. (Must Watch: Why Do I Get Migraines)
Another type of headache some people suffer from is a cluster headache. Instead of continuous pain that lasts for a length of time, cluster headaches cause frequent bursts of recurring pain at random intervals. The pain is usually focused in or around one eye, with tearing and redness of the eye, a runny or blocked nose, and possibly a droopy eyelid.
A cluster headache kicks in suddenly, without warning (no aura like before migraine headaches). Furthermore, cluster headaches can be episodic or chronic. Episodic cluster headaches might occur for a few days up to a year, with over 3-month remission periods. Chronic cluster headaches might occur for multiple years with less than 3-month remission periods.
While the most common symptoms are sharp pain, watering eyes, and swollen lids, some other symptoms include:
- Agitation or restlessness
- Sensitivity to sound and light
- Blocked or runny nose
Commonly known as “alarm clock headaches,” hypnic headaches wake people up at night and prevent them from falling back asleep, affecting their sleep schedule. This is a rare condition that usually begins when people are in their 50s or older, although it can start sooner.
A hypnic headache starts with mild pain that might lead to throbbing pain in both sides of the head. The pain can last up to 4 hours after waking, while other symptoms, such as nausea and light or sound sensitivity, and sinus issues, can last even longer.
Individuals with chronic hypnic headaches might experience several attacks per week, but it is still unknown what triggers the pain.
Do you experience headaches during strenuous activities, and the pain worsens as you keep doing the activities? You might be experiencing an exertional headache that is triggered by running, jumping, weightlifting, and other arduous physical movements.
Unlike other types of headaches, exertional headaches are usually very short-lived. However, in extreme cases, they can last up to 48 hours. The pain starts at the back of the head and spreads, similar to the pain you experience in a migraine headache.
This is another common type of headache that emerges with sinusitis or inflammation of the sinuses. The condition generally stems from an allergy or infection lasting for a few days or weeks.
A sinus headache has a dull start, but results in a throbbing pain around the cheeks, eyes, and forehead. Generally, the pain experienced during sinus headaches is mild, but it may worsen with straining or movement, and can even spread to the jaw and teeth.
The possible symptoms of a sinus headache include, but are not limited to:
- Facial pain or pressure
- Reduced sense of smell
- Ear pain and bad breath
- Cough and dental pain
- Nasal discharge
Sometimes, a person may develop a headache after a head, neck, or back injury. Besides pain, other symptoms include vomiting, memory loss, and confusion.
Headaches after injuries sometimes don’t develop until a few weeks or months after the initial injury, making them difficult to diagnose. Pain can occur daily and persist for up to 12 months, depending on the type and severity of the injury.
Irrespective of the type, headaches can make it impossible for you to live a normal life. The constant pain and other symptoms can range from being simply irritating to being completely debilitating. Headaches might even lead to other severe issues if not treated in time, so you shouldn’t take them lightly.
While over-the-counter medications can provide some relief from headache pain, they don’t treat the root cause of the issue. Moreover, these medications have multiple potential side effects that are more dangerous than the headache itself.
Chiropractic care is a proven solution for treating different types of headaches. It addresses the root cause while reducing pain. Book your appointment with the best chiropractors at Oak Brook Medical Group. Call us at 630-317-7478 or fill out the online scheduling form to get started.
Common Causes of Headaches That Chiropractic Care Can Help Address
Headaches aren’t just a result of tension and stress, there are several physical contributors that can cause pain. Holistic chiropractic care in Oak Brook aims to alleviate all types of issues contributing to frequent headaches, such as a misaligned spine or a high level of stress.
Here are some common cases of headaches chiropractic care can address.
- Tension in the Neck and Shoulders
Some headaches are caused by tightness and tension in the neck and upper back muscles. When the muscles become sore and tight, you experience pain in the affected area, which travels to your head and spreads across your skull.
Tension headaches may worsen if you move your neck and shoulders as it spreads to the neighboring muscles.
Chiropractors in Oak Brook use multiple techniques, including spinal adjustments, physical therapy, and massage therapy, to help reduce the tension and thus, alleviate the severe pain. In some patients, muscle tension is a result of the trigger point.
A chiropractor might use trigger point therapy injections in the affected area to decrease the tension and relieve the headache pain.
- Poor Posture
Having poor posture can put strain on the muscles and joints of the neck and upper back, leading to headaches. And the effects of poor posture aren’t limited to headaches, you can also experience several other issues, such as a misaligned spine. (Read: Can The Spine Cause Headaches?)
Chiropractors can assess your posture and help improve it in order to reduce the associated headache pain. Getting chiropractic care in Oak Brook includes advice on proper ergonomics and posture, and various techniques to address any underlying musculoskeletal issues that may be contributing to the problem.
- Inflammation in the Body
Inflammation, especially in the neck and upper back, can cause pain and stiffness, which can then lead to headaches. These headache triggers are more painful than the other types and come with other symptoms, such as nasal issues and mobility issues.
Chiropractic care can help reduce inflammation in these areas and alleviate headache pain. One way it helps is through spinal adjustments, which restore proper alignment to the spine and reduce pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that run through it.
Soft tissue therapy is another chiropractic technique that can decrease inflammation. By applying pressure and massage, it can help to improve circulation and promote the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the affected areas. This can reduce inflammation and, ultimately, headache pain.
- Misalignment in the Spine
Also known as subluxation, misalignment in the spine is a common cause of severe headaches. When the vertebrae in the spine become misaligned, it can put tension and pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that run through it, leading to pain and discomfort in the neck and head.
Chiropractic adjustments are a common treatment for misalignments in the spine. These adjustments involve applying controlled force to the vertebrae to restore proper alignment and improve mobility in the affected areas. By reducing pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the spine, chiropractic adjustments can help to alleviate headache pain.
In addition to spinal adjustments, chiropractors may also use other techniques to address misalignments in the spine and reduce overall pain caused by the headache. If you choose holistic chiropractic care in Oak Brook, expect the chiropractors to recommend lifestyle changes to help prevent future misalignments and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
Sinusitis is another reason for a severe headache that can cause facial pain and pressure around the skull. There are several contributors to this condition, such as problems with the spine and pressure on nerves brought on by poor posture.
Chiropractic care helps treat sinus headaches by addressing spinal misalignments and muscle tension. By correcting misalignments or subluxations in the spine, chiropractors improve the function of the nervous system and facilitate the body’s natural healing process, which helps you with headache relief.
Additionally, chiropractors may use soft tissue therapy, such as massage or trigger point therapy, to release tension in the muscles around the sinuses, relieving headache symptoms.
Chiropractic care may not treat severe sinusitis, but it is a proven non-invasive approach to managing symptoms and improving overall health.
Post-traumatic headaches are prevalent and can be severe. While the exact cause of a post-traumatic headache may vary, it often has to do with damage to nerves, blood vessels, or muscles in the head and neck.
Chiropractors can address many potential causes of post-traumatic injuries to alleviate headaches and other related symptoms. They use multiple techniques, such as soft tissue therapy, trigger point therapy, and physical therapy, to release tension in the head and neck muscles.
How Can Chiropractors Help With Headaches? What Are the Benefits of Chiropractic Care?
Besides alleviating headache pain, chiropractic care also helps reduce the symptoms and treat the primary cause of the issue. Chiropractors in Oak Brook use a combination of techniques in a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and the root cause of the issue.
Below you’ll find more details on adjustment techniques professional chiropractors use to treat headaches and the benefits of chiropractic care.
Common Chiropractic Adjustment Techniques for Headache
Depending on the type, severity, and underlying cause of the headache, chiropractors use individual or a combination of techniques. These include:
- Spinal Manipulation
An adjustment technique is used for almost all types of headaches related to the spine. A certified chiropractor uses a high-velocity, low-amplitude force to adjust the spinal column and improve its alignment while relieving pressure on nerves that may be contributing to headaches.
- Soft Tissue Therapy
In addition to spinal adjustments, chiropractors may use soft tissue therapy, such as physical massage, trigger point therapy, or stretching, to relieve tension in the head and neck muscles.
Soft tissue therapy is extremely helpful for treating headaches and other symptoms and can improve overall health.
- Cranial Techniques
Headaches caused by traumatic injuries affect the muscles around the skull and neck, which chiropractors can heal using cranial techniques. The techniques involve giving gentle adjustments to the affected area to improve circulation and relieve tension.
These effective techniques are especially helpful for patients with post-traumatic headaches and tension headaches.
- Activator Technique
If the severity of spinal misalignment or muscle tension doesn’t allow for using high-velocity thrust, chiropractors use a handheld instrument to deliver a low-force impulse to a specific area of the spine. The activator technique is beneficial in alleviating pressure on the nerves, thus, improving signal transmission and reducing pain.
- Upper Cervical Specific Techniques
If the pain caused is by a problem in the upper cervical spine, chiropractic professionals use specific techniques to eliminate muscle tension in the area. Depending on the symptoms and cause of the headache, chiropractors can use these techniques in combination with trigger points and massage therapy for better results.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Headaches
Over-the-counter, prescription, and preventive medications may offer quicker results, but chiropractic care is the better choice in the long run.
The benefits of chiropractic care aren’t just limited to natural pain management. Chiropractic care helps address the underlying causes of frequent headaches without any side effects, which is something medications cannot do.
Here are more benefits of undergoing chiropractic care for headaches.
- It’s Non-invasive
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive approach to treating headaches, so there is zero downtime. You don’t have to undergo surgery or take addictive prescription medications to manage your symptoms.
- Chiropractic Care is a Holistic Approach
Chiropractors in Oak Brook take a holistic approach to health, which means they focus on treating the whole person, not just the symptoms of the headaches. After a few sessions, you’ll start experiencing a reduction in headaches and an improvement in your overall well-being.
- It’s Highly Personalized
Everybody is unique, and the symptoms you might be experiencing can be different from other individuals with the same condition. Chiropractors assess the cause of your headaches and your personal medical history so they can tailor a plan specifically for you. The personalized plan works better as it addresses the underlying cause and factors in anything specific to your life.
Statistics on How Chiropractic Care Helps With Headache
Several studies have proven the efficacy of chiropractic care for headaches, which is why many patients prefer it over other treatments. Here are a few examples to help you understand the effectiveness of chiropractic care:
- According to one research survey, chiropractors who are headache specialists reported that 1 in 5 new patients came in with a main complaint of headache. The majority of chiropractors then provide headache diagnosis and treatment for common primary headaches and secondary headaches using formal headache classification criteria.
- In a small abstract study, researchers conducted multiple tests on three patients with varying causes of migraine attacks. The study revealed that patients reported an improvement in pain scores, decreased medication usage, and decreased anxiety/dysthymia after several sessions with chiropractors.
- A larger study published in The Spine Journal evaluated 256 adults with cervicogenic headaches (CGH), 18 sessions of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) helped reduce CHG days by half. Additionally, spinal manipulation was more effective than light-massage control in alleviating symptoms.
- Finally, a descriptive analysis of a nationally representative survey found that chiropractors provided successful headache diagnoses for common primary headaches in 84.6% of cases and secondary headaches in 90.4% of cases.
How to Prepare for a Visit With a Chiropractor in Oak Brook for Headaches
Decided to see a chiropractor for acute headaches or chronic headaches? Experienced professional medical providers can determine the underlying causes while providing holistic treatment for pain relief and overall well-being. Before you visit the chiropractic care facility, here are some tips to prepare yourself.
- Fill Out Intake Forms
Many chiropractors will provide intake forms for new patients to fill out before their appointment. These forms will ask about your medical history, current symptoms, and any medications you are taking. Fill out these forms thoroughly and accurately to help the chiropractor understand your condition.
- Avoid Taking Any Pain Medication
It is generally recommended that you avoid taking pain medication before your chiropractic appointment. This is because pain medication can mask symptoms and make it more difficult for the chiropractor to assess your condition.
- Bring a List of Questions
If you have any questions or concerns about chiropractic care, it is a good idea to write them down and bring them with you to your appointment. It can help ensure that all of your questions are answered and you are fully informed about your diagnosis and treatment options.
- Be Honest About Your Symptoms
When you meet with the chiropractor, be honest about your symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to your headache. Chiropractors are trained to look for underlying causes of headaches that may be related to other parts of the body.
- Have Realistic Expectations
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, holistic approach to treating headaches. While many patients find relief through chiropractic care, it is important to have realistic expectations and understand that it may take several appointments to see improvement.
- Prepare to Discuss Your Lifestyle
Chiropractors often consider lifestyle factors that may be contributing to headaches, such as stress, diet, and sleep habits. Be prepared to discuss these factors with the chiropractor and be open to making changes to improve your overall health.
Tired of Recurring Headaches? Discover How Chiropractic Care in Oak Brook Can Help
Headaches can affect the entire body, so it’s crucial to treat the underlying cause while seeking care for severe pain. Oak Brook Medical Group provides holistic chiropractic care to treat headaches and improve overall well-being.
Our certified and highly trained chiropractors will create a personalized treatment plan for you according to your symptoms and preferences for faster and more natural healing.