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Headache and Migraine FAQ

Chiropractic treatment can be highly effective in reducing pain. Using spinal manipulation, one study showed that nearly 25% of the participants had a 90% reduction in the number of migraine incidents, while nearly half had a decrease in occurrences.

Spinal manipulation and daily dosing with Elavil have been shown to reduce the occurrences of migraines and the pain as well. At Nichols Chiropractic, we can help alleviate your headaches.

What causes headaches?

Common causes of headaches are TMJ, reactions to medications, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, stress and fatigue. Recurring headaches are usually caused by tension, or are migraine headaches, which are generally caused by unknown factors. Cluster headaches are related to migraines but aren’t as common.

You can lessen the occurrence of headaches by avoiding headache triggers. Changes in weather and mood are triggers that can’t usually be avoided, but there are many that can. Avoid MSG, exposure to household poisons, lead, preservatives in meat and those foods that are high in tyramine, like chocolate and cheddar cheese.

What do tension headaches feel like?

These headaches feel like a constant dull pain on one or both sides of the head. Sometimes there’s a dull ache behind the eyes. They don’t start suddenly, but rather build gradually and can last from several minutes to several days.

It’s not usually possible to tell what causes them, but often they result from poor posture, which can result in muscle and neck strain.

Tension headaches (also called stress headaches) can be as short as half an hour or as long as several days. Sometimes chronic tension headaches continue for months. Generally symptoms are limited to pain and don’t include nausea or vomiting.

How are tension headaches treated?

Chiropractic manipulation of the upper two cervical vertebrae and spinal adjustments will generally help to relieve the pain caused by tension headaches. The same treatment is often effective for migraines as well.

Tension headaches are often caused by subluxations in the upper back and neck, especially the upper neck, sometimes in combination with active trigger points. People who spend significant time working at their desks are likely to suffer from this kind of headache.

Tension headaches can also be the result of referred pain from trigger points in the levator muscle on the side of the neck. Whiplash sufferers may also have this type of headache.

What are migraine and cluster headaches?

25 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches annually, most of them women. These intense headaches are often associated with vomiting, nausea and some sensitivity to light or noise. Migraines are caused by a constriction of the blood vessels in the brain, triggering a dilation of blood vessels.

Cluster headaches are usually short in duration and usually occur at night. Like migraine, they’re extremely painful and may be related to blood vessel dilation in the brain.

In many cases migraines can be treated effectively with spinal manipulation, by close monitoring of the factors surrounding migraine onset, and with corresponding behavior modification.