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While you may normally think of chiropractic care in terms of back pain or neck pain treatment, you might be surprised to learn that our treatments and other natural healing modalities can be equally effective against headaches and migraines. That pounding ache in your head may be related to musculoskeletal tension or other manageable, avoidable triggers. Here at Arlington Chiropractic, P.C., we can identify and address those triggers to help you experience safe, natural headache and migraine relief.
The term "tension headache" is an apt one. Classic tension headaches are typically set off by tightness in the neck or shoulder area. This tightness might be induced by emotional stress, or it might be the by-product of a cervical spinal misalignment that has pushed your head slightly off-balance in relation to your spinal column. (The latter problem may be chronic in nature or brought about suddenly by an injury such as whiplash.) Spasms in the shoulder can affect the neck muscles, which in turn can tug on sensitive tissues at the base of the skull. These tissues then radiate waves of pain to the head.
Migraines can also be triggered by physical tension and/or emotional stress -- as well as food sensitivities, environmental changes, hormonal shifts, flashing lights, and changes in a sleep routine. These devastating attacks can go on for days once they get started, often beginning with strange visual distortions called "auras." Other symptoms include debilitating headaches, nausea and vomiting, extreme light and sound sensitivity, faintness and blurred vision. The actual mechanism behind a migraine seems to be a complex sequence of biochemical changes that force blood vessels in the head to swell up.
Whether you suffer from recurring headaches or you cannot function due to random migraine attacks, you've probably tried medications only to experience limited results. These drugs may mute the symptoms somewhat, but they can't resolve the underlying issues that make you prone to headaches or migraines. Some migraine medications can even produce "rebound" migraines once you stop using them. Our chiropractic team can actually address the reasons behind your suffering to provide meaningful, non-pharmaceutical relief for patients. Your individual treatment routine might include such safe, effective therapies as:
A WORD ON HEADACHES
There are many nutritional, mechanical and lifestyle causes of headaches. Treatment of headaches with chiropractic techniques has been anecdotally supported for many years. More recently, the causal relationship between headaches and cervical spine dysfunction has been advanced. Recent research suggests that the older theories of blood vessel dilation with migraines, and muscular contraction with tension-type headaches do not adequately explain how these headaches occur.
A recent anatomic finding may further explain the relationship between the response to chiropractic manipulation and headaches. Where the upper neck connects to the skull there appears to be a connective tissue attachment between the rectus capitis posterior muscle and the posterior spinal dura (outer covering of the spinal cord). The increased dural tension due to upper neck spasm has been suggested as a cause of tension and cervicogenic-type headaches. This type of headache is the most common and quite easily treated with chiropractic care.
Hormonal influences on serotonin levels may play a role in migraines in women. Migraines affect women more often than men (3 to 1 ratio). 60% of migraine attacks in women are associated with menstruation (due to hormone fluctuations), which affects serotonin levels. Generally too little serotonin is the primary cause. Dysfunction in the brainstem's perception of sensory input is a major element of migraine pain. This is why light and sound (sensory input) can be annoying to a patient suffering a migraine attack. Some foods especially those high in caffeine and tyramine can exacerbate this effect.
Occasionally a vitamin or mineral deficiency (magnesium for example) can produce migraine-like symptoms. Proper diagnosis is a must. It is important to remember with all headaches, that the symptoms may sometimes resemble other medical conditions, and you should always consult a qualified chiropractor for diagnosis.
To learn more about the latest research and treatments, attend our up and coming headache solution workshop, or call for a consultation to determine if we can help your headaches. Call for the dates of our next workshops.
If you're ready to get your quality of life back, start today by calling Arlington Chiropractic Clinic, P.C. at 847-259-4493. Your chiropractor at our clinic is ready to help you get on top of that headache or migraine problem!
Dr. Gerald T. Andreoli, DC, DACBN
Arlington Chiropractic Clinic, PC · 1702 W Campbell St · Arlington Hts, IL 60005
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Our headaches and migraines patients visit us from Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect and Rolling Meadows in Cook County, IL.