Headaches will affect many people at different times in their lives. They can come in many different forms:
- Pain in just one part of their head
- Pain behind their eyes
- A slight to intense pounding sensation
- Dull pain or sharp pain that could last from minutes to hours to days
The good news is that most headaches are not related to serious medical conditions, and can easily be treated with chiropractic care, diet and exercise.
Many headaches are due to a wide variety of causes, including:
- Drug reactions
- TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
- Tightness in neck muscles
- Low blood sugar
- High blood pressure
- Stress and fatigue
The majority of headaches that are recurrent are one of three types:
- Tension headaches – also called Cervicogenic
- Migraine headaches
- Cluster headaches – not very common
Headaches and Chiropractic Care
Several studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments are effective in the treatment of tension headaches, especially those that begin in the neck area. These studies also found that even if chiropractic treatment is stopped after just four weeks, there was a sustained, ongoing benefit for those patients compared to those only taking medication.
Of course, each patient’s condition is different and an evaluation is always required in order to determine if chiropractic care can be beneficial, but in most cases, the answer is generally yes. There are also many lifestyle things that can be addressed like food and exercise.
Avoiding Headache Triggers —
- Certain foods, odors, menstrual periods, and changes in weather
- Emotional factors: depression, anxiety, frustration, letdown, and even pleasant excitement
- Keep a headache diary – put it on your calendar – this will help you determine whether factors might be the cause
- Repeated exposure to nitrite compounds can result in a dull, pounding headache – Nitrite, which dilates blood vessels, is found in such products as heart medicine and dynamite, but is also used as a chemical to preserve meat. Hot dogs and other processed meats containing sodium nitrite can cause headaches.
- Eating foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate) can result in headache. Soy sauce, meat tenderizer, and a variety of packaged foods contain this chemical
- Exposure to poisons, even common household varieties like insecticides, carbon tetrachloride, and lead.
- Children who ingest flakes of lead paint may develop headaches – anyone who has contact with lead batteries or lead-glazed pottery
- Foods high in the amino acid tyramine should also be avoided: ripened cheeses (cheddar, brie), chocolate, as well as any food pickled or fermented foods.