If you are someone that suffers from frequent headaches, you know all too well how chronic pain can affect daily life. Headache pain can be downright distracting, limiting your ability to function optimally. You may find yourself desperate for some relief, popping pain pills left and right, just to get through the day.
Despite being an all too common complaint, did you know that nothing about headaches is ‘normal’? Headaches are a symptom of an underlying cause and a signal that your body is alerting you to another issue.
Headaches are classified into 2 main groups–primary and secondary.
Primary headaches are those that are not caused by another condition, but rather is the condition itself. Migraine, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are all primary headaches.
Secondary headaches are those that are related to an underlying medical condition such as trauma or injury, infection from sinusitis or of the jaw or teeth, cervical vascular disorder, hypertension, withdrawal from substances such as alcohol or caffeine, and medication overuse.
Headaches of any kind can inhibit your ability to enjoy life. Many people suffer in silence for years without finding lasting or permanent relief. That’s no way to live!
Spinal Subluxations Are A Common Cause Of Headache
In my practice, of all the patients that come to see me for headache relief, I estimate at least 80% of them have cervicogenic headaches––caused by subluxations or misalignments of the cervical spine. The cervical spine consists of the first 7 vertebrae (C1-C7).
The nerves that run through this part of the body supply the brain, shoulders, scalp, facial muscles, pituitary gland, eyes, intracranial blood vessels, thyroid, and much more. When the bones of these vertebrae are not moving properly, pressure is put on corresponding nerves, and this can be a primary cause of headaches. One of your spine’s main jobs is to protect your central nervous system
Spinal subluxations are musculoskeletal adaptive response mechanisms the body develops to deal with stresses in the environment. Subluxation is the abnormal separation or misalignment of the joint. Headaches and neck pain are common symptoms of a subluxation stemming from stress or pressure buildup in the misaligned joint.
How Do These Subluxations Occur?
Subluxations arise in response to the body’s exposure to prolonged stress, be it physical, emotional/mental, or chemical stressors in the environment.
The International Headache Society has identified more than 150 different types of headaches. Do you know what all these headache types have in common? STRESS!!! Physical, emotional, and chemical stressors (or a combination of all 3) are all causative factors of headache pain.
When we think of stress, it’s often emotional or mental stress that comes to mind—an argument with a loved one, being stuck in traffic, financial worries, or a looming deadline at work.
Chemical stressors come from, you guessed it––chemical and biochemical exposure in our diet and environment. Food additives and preservatives like MSG and aspartame are well-known culprits, however, caffeine, and aged foods like cheeses, cured meats, red wine, and beer all contain compounds which can trigger headaches. A diet high in processed foods and refined sugars and carbohydrates can exacerbate headache pain. We are also exposed to a myriad of synthetic fragrances, exhaust, and pollution daily; this poor air quality may provoke pain in some individuals.
Physical stress from injury, poor sleep ergonomics, improper posture, and frequent cell phone and handheld device use lead to misalignment in the spine which is the root cause of many headaches.
Anterior head carriage is a common condition where the head is improperly aligned with the neck and shoulders. It is caused by poor posture and repetitively leaning forward for prolonged periods. Office workers who tend to hunch over while working at a desk, long haul truck drivers, and hair stylists are commonly affected, however, I am seeing it more and more in my patients. Also referred to as “text neck” our excessive use of cell phones is pulling the spine out of alignment. For more information on “text neck” read a recent blog I wrote HERE. The average human head weighs around 5kg and is supported by only 7 vertebrae and around 20 muscles. It’s not a wonder that improper alignment can lead to pain. Sleep position and pillow type can be contributing to subluxation. I often ask my patients to bring their pillows into the clinic when being assessed for neck and headache pain. Sleeping on the wrong type of pillow can exaggerate the natural curve of the neck, or not provide adequate support, both of which can potentially cause pain.
Headache Assessment—What To Expect During Your Appointment
Headaches are one of the most common complaints I address in my practice. It also happens to be one of the easiest complaints to be solved by chiropractic care!
When you arrive for your appointment at the clinic, you will be asked to fill out forms that will give us a clearer picture of your health history, lifestyle, and any past injuries or physical traumas that could potentially be contributing to your headache pain.
After a consultation, a thorough neuromusculoskeletal examination will be done. We have the latest technology in the office to perform neuro-spinal scans. This measures the efficiency of your nervous system, and brain-body connection.
If necessary, x-rays will be taken to determine the health of your spine in regards to degeneration or if any specific spinal problems such as subluxations are contributing to your pain and symptoms.
Once the examination and x-rays are completed, we will work together to come up with a treatment plan to have you living pain-free as soon as possible!
Chiropractic is a safe, effective, and drug-free way to manage headaches and migraines. At Sante Chiropractic we have the latest technology at our disposal to assess and address the root cause of your pain. We have been proudly serving the community for over 25 years—patient success is our priority!
If you are ready to start living a life free from pain and discomfort, please reach out to the team at (613) 837-2883 or click HERE to book an appointment. We look forward to helping you on your path to wellness!