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Ideal Family Chiropractic

Headaches and Migraines, Chiropractor

Breaking the Cycle: How Chiropractic Adjustments Tackle Headaches and Migraines

Headaches are very common.  Roughly 80% of us will get a headache throughout the course of a year.  Around 1 in 4 had a headache within the last 14 days.  1 in 5 women, 1 in 16 men, and 1 in 11 children suffer from migraines.  With headaches and migraines being so prevalent, we want to detail what they are and what can be done about them.

What is a Headache?

Did you know the brain does not have pain sensation?  There are no nerves in the brain that detect pain.  Therefore, when your head hurts, it is from something else.  Some other things that may cause pain in your head include:

  • Skin or muscles of the face, neck, or skull
  • Periosteum of the skull or facial bones
  • Arteries and veins of the head and neck
  • Meninges and intra-meningeal blood vessels
  • Cervical vertebral structures (subluxation)

Headaches come in two broad categories, those that are just a headache and those that are a symptom of something else.  Luckily, most headaches are just a headache, and usually a tension headache or cervicogenic headache.  Both tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches are caused primarily by subluxation, which is a vertebral restriction that causes nerve irritation.  Headaches caused by other issues can be serious.  Those issues include:

  • Hemorrhage or tumor within the skull
  • Eye disorders
  • Sinus issues
  • Meningitis
  • Post-concussion
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
Migraine and Headaches, Chiropractic Care

Types of Headaches

The main types of headaches which are not a result of other more serious issues are tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines.   Tension headaches are caused by tight muscles of the neck or head, and cervicogenic headaches are from misaligned or restricted vertebrae in the neck.  Tension headaches typically feel like a band is constricting the head and felt on both sides.  Cervicogenic headaches usually feel like a pain on one side of the head.  

Cluster headaches consist of a severe pain around or behind one eye, and these are usually experienced by men. These headaches occur in clusters but each episode is brief, but can repeat every few months.  Sometimes this causes an eye to droop and nasal congestion.  

Migraines are felt most commonly on just one side of the head, though which side it is may change from migraine to migraine.  Migraines can cause light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, and can last up to 72 hours.  Scotomas and photopsias can also be present in some cases.  Scotomas are partial losses of vision with irregularities in the field of vision.  Photopsias can be like flashes of lightning or irregularities in the field of vision.

How to Get Rid of Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and migraines can range from a mild nuisance to severe and debilitating.  A key piece to solving this puzzle is the role of your nervous system.  As you encounter stress on a daily basis, your nervous system slips into fight-or-flight mode.  Just as your shoulder muscles can tighten when you are stressed, so too can the muscles connecting your vertebrae together.  When those muscles tighten, they prevent your vertebrae from moving freely which is a subluxation.  These restrictions in motion cause interference or irritation to nerves in that area, introducing more stress into the nervous system and continuing the vicious cycle.  These stress responses, especially when present in the neck, head, or face, can cause headaches and migraines.

We use technology called INSiGHT scans to determine where there is stress in your nervous system.  One particular scan is called surface electromyography (sEMG) and looks at neuro-muscular energy or tension.  When headaches or migraines are present, this scan usually reveals significant tension patterns in the neck.  Thermography is another scan we can do which looks at skin temperature.  Thermography can reveal neurological issues with the autonomic nerves that control skin temperature.  Looking at the scan graphs below, the one on the left shows the sEMG scan.  The black line in the upper neck is a huge amount of neuromuscular tension.  The scan on the right is the thermography scan and shows the failure of the nerves to properly regulate temperature in the upper neck.  Both of these results attest to the severity of neurological dysfunction contributing to that patient’s migraines.

Headaches and Migraine Relief, Chiropractor
Headache and Migraine Relief

Through neurologically-focused and targeted adjustments, we can break through that neurological tension and remove the stress from your nervous system.  This neurological approach will give you the relief you’re looking for by activating your Vagus Nerve, which brings your body out of fight-or-flight mode and puts you in a more restful and relaxed state.

If you struggle with frequent headaches or migraines, we can provide hope, answers, and drug-free help.  Message us or give us a call so you can escape the downward spiral of stress and subluxation and hop on the train to healing and restoration.