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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic


My Headache is Gone!

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Chiropractic Care

Question: I went to my chiropractor because of neck pain and she got rid of my daily headache. I haven't had one for months! How was she able to do that?

Answer: It sounds like you had a tension-type of headache. These usually arise in the neck and can radiate up into the head, forehead and eyes.

Chiropractic care is very effective for these types of headaches. Let me explain.

There are nerves that come out of your neck and travel up the back of your skull and toward your forehead. When these nerves become pinched, a headache results. This may be dull and throbbing; it may become very severe to the point of debilitating pain, nausea and even vomiting. Headaches can occur when muscles are too tight or bones are out of alignment in your neck. Headaches are extremely common. 9 out of 10 Americans experience headaches. Many of these people have suffered since childhood.

95% of headaches are primary headaches -- that is, they do not result from some other disease. The most common type is the tension-type caused by muscle tension or misalignments in your neck. Migraines are also common and result from changes in the blood vessels. Cluster headaches are in groups over days or weeks and can be triggered by alcohol consumption. Sinus headaches are unfortunately common in the Miami Valley (better known as "Sinus Valley"). Other causes may be from eye strain or TMJ, which is jaw pain and problems.

Headaches can be a sign of something much more serious. Headaches from a brain tumor may awaken you from sleep. Blood vessel disease such as aneurysm or malformation can cause headaches. A sudden onset of "the worst headache you have ever had" may signal a stroke is looming. Chiropractors are trained to look for these danger signals and refer for appropriate testing and possibly to a neurologist.

Chiropractors treat tension-type headaches with spinal manipulation. Before this is done, a history will be taken to determine the type of headache that you have. Examination and x-rays are performed before manipulation to be certain for safe treatment.

A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache that are commonly prescribed medication.

Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches. Those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experience this sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received commonly prescribed medication.

Ways to help prevent headaches include:
-Avoid slouching which puts more tension on your neck.
-Avoid reading with your neck bent forward for prolonged periods of time.
-Keep your computer monitor at eye level, with your chin hitting the middle of the screen.
-Take frequent breaks from reading, computer work or sewing.
-Avoid teeth clenching. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) - the two joints that connect your joint to your skull - leading to TMJ tension and headache.
-Avoid caffeine, which may stimulate headache.

Chiropractic is a safe, effective way to manage your headache without the use of drugs. The only side-effect is feeling better!

Copyright © 2008 - Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Dr. Tom Konicki is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist and has practiced for many years in South Dayton. You can reach him at www.kschiro.com or mail your questions to Ask the Chiropractor, 2165 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459.

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