Are headaches stopping or limiting the quality of your life? Do you suffer with headaches? Do you have someone close to you that is suffering? You are not alone. Approximately 45 million Americans complain of headaches each year. That breaks down to 1 out of every 6 people. Knowledge is…
One of the most common patient complaints that we hear in our Fort Lauderdale office is patients suffering from headaches. I, too, suffered with debilitating headaches my entire life until I found a solution. Since that time, I have devoted my professional career to help others. I now specialize in the detection and correction of spinal misalignments (called subluxations). Objective and specific X-Rays are the best way to detect and measure a subluxation. In my 19 years of practice, I have found, more often than not, that a spinal misalignment in the neck which effects nerve function (causing neck pain, radiating pain down an arm, or muscle spasms) often also effects blood flow to the brain causing headaches. There are, of course, environmental and habitual conditions that can also play a role in the condition. It is vital to be able to objectively get to the root cause of the headaches. Otherwise, like so many suffering patients, you will find yourself chasing treatment after treatment over and over again to only find dead ends filled with no results. I would like to share with you my experiences with patients and the amazing results and miracles I have seen.
Understanding the Effects of Headaches
Before I begin with my story, I would like to take a moment to explain how I have found subluxations to be the route cause of many people’s headaches. The brain needs proper blood flow because blood carries oxygen. Oxygen is used as the fuel for the brain to work. There are two main sources of blood flow to the brain: the carotid arteries and the vertebral arteries. The vertebral arteries supply approximately 25% of the blood directly to the brain and is completely encapsulated within the spinal column. Much like when you put a kink in a water hose, when the bones in the spinal column move out of their normal position and get stuck that way (a subluxation) it could pinch on the vertebral artery decreasing the amount of blood that can get to the brain. In response, the brain tells the heart to pump more blood. However, when the increased volume of blood actually makes its way through the pinched artery, that excess volume puts pressure on the brain causing pain (ie: headaches). I have found that most often if you realign the spine and take the pressure off the vertebral artery the blood flow regulates, decreases the pressure on the brain, and decreases the intensity, frequency or completely eliminates the headaches.
X-Rays are an industry standard to locate and measure misalignments of the spine. Science, through basic anatomy, tells us, within normal limits, what a spine should look like. Anything detected on an X-Ray outside that normal limit would then be deducted to causing pressure, either directly or indirectly, on the nervous system. That pressure then, of course, has the potential to cause dysfunction wherever that nerve goes and the tissue that it controls. Given the conclusion that a misalignment could and would affect function, it is vital to have accurate and specific X-Ray findings to determine if Chiropractic may be a possible solution for headaches.
Often patients come into my office complaining of neck pain, radiating pain down an arm, muscle weakness, or progressive shoulder problems. Within minutes of our consultation, commonly patient will also admit to significant and frequent headaches that they classify as “normal” because they have had them for so long. There is nothing “normal” about headaches. Pain is a red flag from your body telling you that there is a problem that needs attending to. Taking either prescribed or over the counter medication to make the pain go away is only a temporary band-aid to a significant problem. Getting to the underlying cause is exactly what you want and need to do.
Additional complicating factors to a misalignment of the spine causing headaches is environmental and habitual factors. Environmental exposure to chemicals, intense heat, toxins or the like can be an exacerbating factor that takes an already bad situation to a whole other level. Bad habits such as posture, ergonomics of your work station, how you carry purses or wallets, etc. can (just like environmental factors) exacerbate your condition. One cannot forget to evaluate food sensitivities and/or toxins related to processed foods as a limiting factor. A thorough consultation on your first day in the office combined with continual daily visit query and monthly exams will allow us to dive that much deeper into the underlying causes of your headaches ensuring our very best results.
There are five common types of headaches: tension, migraine (vascular), allergy or sinus, hormonal, and hypertension. I have found that in my 19 years of experience as a chiropractor, patients respond best and get the best results with tension, migraine or vascular, and hypertension type headaches. However, I have had several patients over the years with allergy, sinus and hormonal related headaches that have had great results too. Let’s look more closely at each type of headache to help you determine if Chiropractic might be a solution for you.
Tension headaches appear as a dull, aching sensation all over your head associated with tenderness or sensitivity around your neck, forehead, scalp, or shoulder muscles. These types of headaches come on with increased stress and most patient complain that their headaches progress as the day goes on and by mid afternoon they begin to get their headaches. Most of the time patient take an over the counter pain medication and the pain goes away only for the pain to come back the following day. Many times stress may make things worse; however, the underlying cause we find is a pinched nerve to the muscles that go into spasm. Chiropractic has the potential to work very well with relieving a pinched nerve and helping with tension headaches.
We have already explained in great detail the most common type of headache, the vascular or migraine headache. These headaches are characterized as an intense deep pulsing pain in your head. For some patients this pain is so intense that it limits daily activities and is associated with sensitivity to light and sound often resulting in nausea or vomiting. Most patient report that they are able to feel a vascular or migraine headache coming on with a general sense of a cloud coming over them and/or visual disturbances. Many patient begin with over the counter medication for treatment and then end up seeking the help of a Neurologist who prescribes with a nasal spray, pills or injections. Most patients I have encountered over the past 19 years in practice say that these types of treatments are somewhat effective during an episode (but don’t cure anything) however, the side effects to the medications, that are felt for days after, are almost as bad as the headache themselves. Luckily, most people get quite a bit of relief in frequency and intensity to the headaches with Chiropractic treatment.
Allergy or sinus related headaches usually present with pain directly over the sinus area. Migraines are often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. True sinus headaches are treated by thinning out the mucus that builds up causing the sinus pressure. However, as stated earlier, whether the headaches are misdiagnosed or a true sinus related problem, I have seen many patients obtain amazing results with Chiropractic treatment.
Hormone induced headaches affect women more than men and usually are associated with menstrual cycles. It is estimated that 60% of women who suffer with hormonal headaches also experience migraines with their menstrual cycle too.
Lastly, with blood pressure medication being one of the most prescribed medications in America, it does not surprise me that hypertension headaches rounds the list of the five most common types of headaches that we see in the office. When lifestyle and posture related changes are achieved, patients seem to get the best results.
All-Natural Headache Relief
So, what does it look like to determine if in fact a Chiropractor is the right course of action for you to begin your journey to back to health and being pain free. When you come into Dynamic Chiropractic we will sit down with you and complete a thorough consultation to hear what your needs are, what level of suffering you are going through, and what has gone on in your life leading up to where you are now. If during the consultation, I determine that I may be able to help you, we will continue with a examination of your posture, range of motion and general passive motion of your spine. Taking a full set of x-rays is vital information to objectively see what the structure of your spine looks like. If we are told by science what the structure of your spine should look like, then anything outside of the within normal limits of that structure could very well be the underlying cause of your problems and suffering. I will analyze and study your findings that evening. If I find something that I can help with and that I believe to be the cause of your pain and suffering, I will be able to explain that to you the following day when you come back into the office to review those x-rays with me during your report. At that time, we will be able to determine a course of action with time and frequency related to potential results. If all that makes sense, we will begin right away.
I know firsthand how debilitating and disruptive headaches can be to one’s life. You do not have to live that way. Life does not have to be full of pain or carrying around a bottle of pills everywhere you go in fear that if you do not have your pills you could be caught in a situation that could leave you helpless. If this story sounds like you or someone you care about, do not wait another day. Get evaluated to find out if the help you really need is possible.