If you struggle with headaches, you are certainly not alone. An estimated 15 percent of all Australians regularly take medications to deal with headaches. Headaches can range in severity from a simple “annoyance” that prevents you from being able to concentrate or engage in any intense physical activity, to such severity that they become totally incapacitating. Adding to the issue is that there are several different causes for headaches; these may include muscular tension, ear/nose or throat problems, blood pressure problems, jaw problems, eyestrain, neck strain, dental issues, and many others. Headaches can come and go like clockwork or arrive suddenly. Despite the fact that headaches can be extremely frustrating for those who have to deal with them, it is possible to find relief from your headaches.
How does chiropractic help headaches?
Studies have shown that spinal adjustments, the primary form of care for chiropractors, can be an effective way of relieving headaches that start in or around the neck. While people may have a headache for a number of different reasons, it may be attributed to the irritation of blood vessels and nerves in the neck or because of muscle tension. Excessive physical and emotional stress may lead to one or several of the seven cervical vertebrae becoming misaligned. This may cause minor constriction in some blood vessels, which could easily lead to a headache.
A report from Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Centre in Durham, NC revealed that when compared to commonly prescribed medication, there were significantly fewer side effects and better longer-lasting relief when it comes to tension-type headaches when using chiropractic. They also found that spinal manipulation could provide an immediate improvement in those headaches that start in the neck.
A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 1995 found that spinal manipulative therapy could be an effective treatment for tension headaches. When compared to those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication, those who received chiropractic treatment for only a month saw greater sustained therapeutic benefits.
At Total Back Care we use the Watson Headache treatment protocol to treat most headaches. This method focuses on the examination of the small movements of the top three spinal segments. The fundamental feature of the Watson Headache Approach is the reproduction and resolution of head pain and associated symptoms when examining movements of the upper three spinal segments to get to the underlying cause of the headache. The method is based on Dean Watson’s clinical experience that consists of more than 22,000 hours with 7,500 headache and migraine patients. Dr Bernadette Weiland is, at the time of writing this article, the only chiropractor in South Australia who has been formally trained in the technique by Dean Watson himself.
How does massage therapy help headaches?
When it comes to relieving headaches, massage therapy plays a proactive role. By ensuring that body maintains an optimal level of stress relief and relaxation, it is possible to avoid certain headache triggers that would otherwise lead to headaches. This approach will relax specific trigger points and relax muscle spasms, thus reducing the overall chance of a tension headache.
Massage can also help relieve the pressure that comes with a tension-related headache. By focusing on the head, shoulders, and neck, it is possible to reduce discomfort and pain that is brought on by tension headaches. Studies show that myofascial trigger points may be the cause of headaches for a number of different headaches. Those same studies show that massage therapy is able to provide relief at the affected trigger points to deliver headache relief.
Recent studies show that people who receive massage therapy experience better sleep quality and fewer headaches during the weeks that they receive massage therapy. A different study found that adults who struggle with headaches had fewer distress symptoms, sleep disturbances, and headaches thanks to massage therapy. It also increases the production of serotonin, a chemical that is important in regulating appetite, sleep, and overall mood.
Why it is important to take action for your headaches
The truth is that headaches can come and go, but sometimes, reoccurring headaches are indicative of something more serious. Perhaps there is a spinal misalignment or poor ergonomic working conditions are to blame for the constantly reoccurring headaches. There have been many patients who struggle with headaches and find relief after a single appointment. Some may take a little longer. If you are interested in seeing if your headache can be a thing of the past, make sure to call Total Back Care today on
(08) 8357 8211 to schedule an initial appointment with Dr Bernadette Weiland.