Headaches in short is a continuous pain around the head, face or neck, they can occur in any part of the head, on both sides of the head or in just one location. They are one of the most common medical complaints and can have a disabling effect on a day to day basis like quality of sleep, mood and overall function of the body.
Headaches are broadly categorised as either primary or secondary. A primary headache is when the headaches are not caused by another condition or disease. The two most common primary headaches are migraines and tension type headaches. A secondary headache is caused by problems elsewhere in the head or neck, or by a condition. The two most common secondary headaches are cervicogenic and medication overuse headaches.
One major contributing factor to both primary and secondary headaches can be upper back tension and poor posture due to the increase time using technology and more demand for people to work longer hours. A poor posture results in certain muscles tightening up or shortening while others lengthen and become weak. It can present with shoulders being rounded and elevated with the head in a forward position. This position is not ideal and leads to an increase in stress on the spine. It also has an effect on the shoulder blades as stability is decreased altering the movement pattern of the upper extremities. It’s not just the upper body that is affected by poor posture, the hips tilt forward increasing the curve in the lower back. This position also affects multiple muscles and places increase stress on both hip joints and lower back which can also have an input into the cause of headaches.
There is significant dissatisfaction with headache drug outcomes and the side effects that come with taking these drugs. Headaches are third most common reason for why people seek help from chiropractors.
So how does chiropractic care actually help with headaches?
Assessment of normal posture, muscle tone, functional movement patterns and how the spine and extremities are moving while taking into account work, hobbies and other daily activities is vital for pin pointing the possible cause of the headache. After this, appropriate treatment, lifestyle changes and patient education is needed. Treatment includes spinal manipulative therapy on areas of the spine that may be stiff or causing pain and soft tissue therapy on muscles that are overactive. Lifestyle changes may be needed such as improved posture at work or during particular activities and implementation of exercises and stretches. Patient education explaining possible variables contributing to the headaches and ways to manage them. There are multiple contributing factors to the cause, pain intensity and frequency of headaches but if a factor such as postural related stress is decreased or removed this can have a positive outcome and possibly stop the headaches altogether.
Simple management plans that you can implement straight away include:
Joshua is a very focused, dedicated and committed practitioner. He graduated from his Masters of Chiropractic in 2018. During his studies he worked as a chiropractic assistant and gained invaluable knowledge and experience. Joshua is committed to health and has achieved significant personal success in sport and through adopting a healthy lifestyle.
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