Headaches are one of the most common health concerns in today’s society. It is estimated at any one time, 15% of the population is experiencing head pain and they represent 10% of primary reasons why a patient will visit a chiropractor.
There are different types of headaches ranging from a mild ache in the back of the head to full blown migraines where they are debilitated for a couple of hours to days.
The main types of headaches are:
- Classic Migraines
- Tension Type headaches
- Medication-overuse Headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Sinus headaches
- Hormonal headaches
- Rebound Headaches
- Other types of headaches are from overindulgence such as overeating or alcohol. Headaches can also be caused from dehydration or low sugar levels, such as missing a meal.
- Some headaches can be Organic in nature and these are the most sinister. These usually occur due to an underlying medical condition such as an abnormality in the brain or skull such as a brain aneurysm, meningitis, hematoma, brain tumor (benign or malignant), brain abscesses, cerebral hemorrhage or encephalitis.
Your chiropractor has been educated to assist and manage many of these headaches and refer the patient to the necessary health care professional/s when necessary.
So what’s the cause?
There are many causes of headaches, with one of the main causes being irritation to the nerves that supply the head and neck. In chiropractic terms this is called a subluxation or spinal joint dysfunction. Your body’s response to these dysfunctions is to tighten muscles to protect and attempt to correct.
Toxic overload can also be a common cause of headaches due to the excess of toxins in your body. Alcohol, drugs, certain foods and additives can cause high levels of toxins in your body. The main triggers for headaches are tea, coffee, chocolate, citrus fruits, dairy products, wheat and certain alcoholic drinks, i.e. red wine.
The Natural Approach
Like any symptoms, headaches and migraines are often a sign that your body is not working well, or that you have not been nurturing yourself. Chiropractic care helps to keep your nervous system free of interference from subluxations and help improve spinal health. This provides effective nerve function and can enable your body to more efficiently cleanse itself of toxic substances.
Vitamins that can also help are:
- Co-enzyme Q10. This is a nutrient that declines, as we get older. It is essential for heart function and as well as brain and nervous system maintenance. It can act as an antioxidant, boost energy and enhance our immune system.
- Vitamin D3 is synthesized in our skin when it is exposed to sunlight especially UV-B rays. Unfortunately due to our current society that spends most of the sunlight hours inside or covered up, Australians are now Vitamin D deficient. And up to 42% of migraine sufferers have been shown to be lacking Vitamin D. (See my previous article below for further information on Vitamin D).
Most importantly, stay hydrated! Increasing water intake can be beneficial at stopping a migraine in its early stages and also stopping dehydration. It is recommended the level of water intake be your weight in kilograms divided by 30. Therefore if you weigh 75kg, you need 2.5 liters per day to stay hydrated.
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- Rozen, TD, Oshinsky, ML, Gebeline, CA, Bradley, KC, Young, WB, Shechter, AL & Silberstein, SD. “Open label trial of coenzyme Q10 as a migraine preventive.” Cephalalgia 22 (2) 137-141.
- Wilkins AJ, Wilkinson P. A tint to reduce eye-strain from fluorescent lighting? Preliminary observations. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 1991; 11(2):172-5.
- Bogduk N. The anatomical basis for cervicogenic headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992;15:67-70