Headaches can be a major problem, causing a lot of people pain and sometimes can be debilitating. Many people say they have “normal headaches.” But what if I told you there is no such thing as a normal headache? Headaches are caused by underlying issues, and thankfully can be treated.
One of the most common headaches encountered in my office are what people call “allergy or sinus headaches.” With these headaches, the pain is felt above the eyes or across the forehead. While it is possible these headaches are caused by allergies, this would only be the case if congestion is present. If there is no congestion in the sinuses, then there isn’t an allergy, and therefore is not the cause of the headache. This is actually a tension headache, and chiropractic treatment can help.
So what causes a tension headache? Well there is a nerve called the greater occipital nerve. It starts where the neck meets the back of your head and comes over top of the head, ending above the eyes. Does this pattern sound familiar?
How does the greater occipital nerve cause a headache? It’s fairly simple, poor joint motion of the upper neck causes inflammation irritating the nerve as it exits the spine. Often tight muscles in the suboccipital region also cause irritation to the nerve. This irritation stimulates the nerve, which incorrectly sends a pain signal, causing the headache.
Often times this type of headache occurs in the afternoon/evening or when under high stress. Sometimes poor sleeping position can cause these headaches in the morning. Improper posture while working on a computer is a common cause.
Tylenol or Advil is commonly the treatment of choice for tension headaches. While this can help temporarily, it does not address the cause. Getting adjusted by a chiropractor addresses the underlying cause of your headaches without negatively effecting your liver or kidneys.
Chiropractic treatment for tension headaches focuses on correcting the motion in the neck joints and reducing the inflammation irritation the nerve. This not only treats the current headache but it also prevents future headaches. Evaluation of the ergonomics at work and with daily activities is also critical to keeping the problem from returning.
Bottom line is there are no normal headaches, so get evaluated by a chiropractor and get on the road to recovery.