At Holistic Pain Relief and Weight Loss in Maplewood, NJ, we know that headaches can hinder your normal lifestyle or possibly debilitate you. If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches.
Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. The number of people who suffer from headaches every year is staggering, yet two-thirds of headache sufferers remain undiagnosed and in pain.
Types of Headaches
Chronic daily headaches are classified by how long they last — more than four hours or less than four hours. The longer lasting headaches are more common and addressed here. Primarily, there are four types of headaches:
- Tension headaches
- Migraine headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Cranial or temporal arteritis
The two most common types of headaches we see are tension and migraine headaches.
Tension headaches occur five times more frequently in men than in women. Tension headaches usually start between 20 to 40 years old when stress levels from work and home increase.
Chronic tension-type headaches have at least two of the following characteristics:
- Hurt on both sides of your head
- Cause mild to moderate pain
- Cause pain that feels pressing or tightening, but not pulsating
- Aren’t aggravated by routine physical activity
- In addition, they cause no more than one of the following:
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Nausea (mild only)
Migraine headaches generally occur 15 days or more a month, for at least three months. In addition, on eight or more days a month for at least three months, you might experience the following symptoms.
Your headaches have at least two of the following characteristics:
- Affect only one side of your head
- Cause a pulsating pain
- Cause moderate to severe pain
- Are aggravated by routine physical activity
- And they cause at least one of the following:
- Nausea, vomiting or both
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Preventing Headaches
- Tips to reduce headaches
If you spend a large amount of time in one position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing, or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
Treatment of Headaches
Do you find yourself frequently taking over-the-counter medications such as Excedrin, Advil, Nuprin, Aleve or Tylenol?
“These types of drugs only serve to dull and hide the pain,” Dr. Wolf says, “they don’t treat the cause, or source of pain, which is why the headache returns.” With these common over-the-counter medications treating only the “symptoms”, headache-sufferers feel compelled to take more and more pain-relievers, subjecting them to the many harmful side effects these medications can cause.
What the Research Shows
Research shows that spinal manipulation – one of the primary forms of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.
A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.
Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
Treatment of Headaches
Perform chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.
Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.
Recommend massage therapy to reduce your stress, relieve sore muscles, improve circulation and immune system function.
Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), therapeutic exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
When you are treated at our office for your migraine headaches, you don’t have to worry about negative side effects…only positive results! We use state-of-the-art technology combined with a physical exam and potential x-rays, to find the source of your headaches. Then, we can recommend a course of treatment combining the finest in kinesiology, physiotherapy, and therapeutic exercises to reduce your pain and restore your health. Holistic Pain Relief and Weight Loss Center in Maplewood, NJ is just a phone call away - click on Contact Us or call 973-761-5060 to schedule an appointment today!