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Headache

Headache Treatment: A Belmar, NJ  Chiropractor’s Perspective

Introduction

(Any general info on the condition or stats or studies about how effective chiropractic is useful here.  2-3 paragraphs.  Stay focused on why they should get it taken care of and that chiropractic is their best bet.)

Headaches are a very common problem that we treat at Kinney Chiropractic.  50% of people will suffer at least one headache per year. The main symptom of a headache can be described as some kind of pain in the head or face. 4% of the world’s population suffers with chronic headaches that occur 15 days or more per month.

Headache Causes can be from several different sources  For example emotional headaches can stem from stress, anxiety or depression.  Headaches can develop from a medical condition, like high blood pressure, vision or eye problems, or dehydration.     Environmental factors can cause a headache like allergies, and certain weather conditions.  But the most common cause of headaches that we see are from mechanical or physical stresses.  Perhaps there is a history of injury or accidents.  Maybe you have poor posture, or stare at a computer screen for 8 hours a day and don’t notice your poor biomechanics.  Often we find dysfunction in the spine, nerve irritation, or tight muscles.  Many people consider their Headaches as normal.  They are a common problem, but headaches are not normal.   A headache is usually a warning sign your body is giving you, telling you something is wrong. 

If your headaches are coming from your spine not moving correctly or being out of alignment, they will not go away until you have your spine looked at and corrected.  This is why Chiropractors specialize in headaches.  80% of headaches don’t actually come from the head...they come from the neck, and its important to find the root cause of the problem.  Are the headaches originating from the muscles, joints, discs or something else?     

A very common cause of headaches that we see more and more of is from what we like to call Tech Neck.  The neck spine is supposed to have a 35-40 degree curve to the neck.  With prolonged electronics usage, people looking down at phones or devices for long periods of time can start to lose that normal curvature of the spine.  This puts tremendous stress on the joints, the discs and the nerves of the neck.   This also makes the muscles of the enck have to work harder to hold the head upright.  This constant neck stress causes headaches. 

At Kinney Chiropractic, we specialize in helping patients with headaches.  Once we have done a thorough consultation, examination and taken specialized digital xrays, we can develop a specific treatment plan to help not only get rid of your headaches and get you out of pain, but prevent headaches from returning.

How we Treat Headaches in Belmar, NJ

1. Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

When a patient comes into Kinney Chiropractic with headaches, its important to take a very thorough, detailed history and really listen to the patient’s past symptoms and experiences.  Many things can contribute to headaches whether it be a past car accident, sports injury or perhaps they sit at a computer for 8 hours a day.  Maybe there are allergies, be it food or environmental allergies causing the headaches.  Regardless, we sit with the patient and take detailed information.  Then we perform specific chiropractic, orthopedic and neurologic tests as well as palpation and range of motion so we can try to get to the root cause of the problem.

2. Digital X-rays

If a patient comes into the office with Headaches, we will almost always take cervical or neck x-rays.  80% of headaches don’t actually come from your head, they stem from your neck.  The first thing we would like to see is if there is a good curve in the neck or not.  The neck curve should be between 35-40 degrees.  If the neck curve is less than this, then there is additional stress on the joints, on the discs, the nerves and the muscles, which will almost always cause a headache.  

X-Rays will also show if there are issues with alignment.  Again, improper alignment will put abnormal stress on the discs and nerves.  This may cause a headache.

The last thing we want to see is if there are good disc spaces in between the cervical bones.  If there is loss of disc space, this congests the spaces where nerves exit out and can cause a headache.  Thats we take xrays on every patient who comes into our office with headaches.  We don’t want to guess what's happening...we would rather know.

3. Specific Chiropractic Care

Many patients who come into Kinney Chiropractic suffer with headaches.  While taking a detailed thorough history, I learn all the different things people do to try to get rid of their headaches from medication, to massage and everything in between,  with little relief.  We specialize in helping patients with headaches. 

One of the most common causes is what we call Subluxations.  Spinal joints in the neck should be able to move well.  If a patient has a history of poor posture, old accidents or injuries, or just repetitive stress of looking down at a phone or laptop for several hours a day, this can stress the joints of the neck or cause them to lose normal alignment and lose normal motion.  This puts abnormal stress on the joints and the nerves and can cause the joints to ‘lock up’ or get stuck.  This is called a subluxation.  This is what chiropractors adjust.  The adjustments help correct subluxations but helping get better motion and movement back in the spinal joints and take pressure off the nerves.  Alleviating pain and headaches almost instantly. 

4. Cervical Spinal Decompression/Traction  / Belmar, NJ

Headaches can come from abnormal curve of the neck and abnormal stress on the discs. It's important to alleviate stress on the discs, especially if we uncover in the history that there was a previously herniated or bulging disc in the neck or if there was an accident or injury. 

One of the ways we treat disc and loss of curve in the neck is with cervical traction.  This is an additional therapy we build into a patient's treatment plan, especially if they suffer with headaches.    This is a simple exercise that helps re establish a curve in the neck, alleviating stress on the discs, the nerves and decreases strain on the muscles.  We do this in addition to adjustments, and exercises in the care plan and is an excellent adjunctive therapy for headaches.

Common Types of Headaches in Belmar, NJ

1. Tension Headaches

There are many different headaches that we treat at Kinney Chiropractic.  The first and most common is a Tension Headache.  Tension headaches are usually diffuse, mild to moderate pain that feels like a tight band around the head or extending up from the neck. 

These headaches can have a few causes.  First is muscle tightness or tension.  When the muscles in the neck are overused for long periods of time, for instance looking at a phone or laptop for hours, this puts constant stress on the muscles that attach from the neck to the back of the head and over time this will cause a headache.  The next cause is a trigger point.  This is better known as a knot in the muscles of the neck into the back of the head.  These muscle fibers ball up in times of overuse and become hypoxic (lack of oxygen) which will cause neck pain, temple pain and headaches.    The last cause is abnormal spinal function.  As previously described, if the joints of the neck are not moving well, they can become stuck out of alignment and put pressure on the nerves.  This is called a subluxation, and often causes headaches.  Chiropractic Adjustments are the only correct spinal subluxations, to help alleviate Tension headaches.

2. Migraine Headaches

Another type of headache that we see often at Kinney Chiropractic is the Classic Migraine Headache.  This can be a debilitating type of headache.  Patients often describe a severe pulsing or throbbing head pain that usually occurs more on one side of the head. 

People who suffer with migraines often describe seeing ‘floaties’ or flashes of light, which is called the Aura, and happens right before or during a migraine.  Many people are light and sound sensitive and must lie down in a dark room.  Some people have migraines so bad that they have nausea and sometimes vomiting along with their headache. 

There are many theories about what causes migraines.  Some experts say its a blood flow issue to the head.  Some patients have headaches that start as a tension headache and become a migraine.  Some patients know their triggers, like certain food or drinks.  Some patients have spinal subluxations that cause migraines.   Regardless of the cause, Chiropractic Adjustments are an excellent way to treat migraines.  With adjustments and a specific treatment plan, we help patients get out of pain and not have migraines anymore. 

3. Allergy or Sinus Headaches

Another common headache that we see is an Allergy or Sinus headache.  This headache feels like pain or pressure in the face, around the eyes, or across the forehead.  This pain can be caused by a sinus infection or inflamed sinuses from allergies.  Pain usually worsens when you bend forward or look down.

Some of the nerves that exit out of the top of the neck feed into the sinuses, ears, the nose and throat as well as to the immune system.  When you come to Kinney Chiropractic, we will assess if you have subluxations or misalignments in the spine in the upper cervical region.  If you do, then more than likely there is abnormal stress on those nerves, which can cause sinus pressure or make allergy symptoms worse.  Chiropractic adjustments correct spinal subluxations, and help open the nerve pathways to the sinuses, ears, nose and throat and allow for proper drainage.  Many people  describe their ears popping and noticing much less sinus pressure after adjustments.

4. Whiplash Headache

At Kinney Chiropractic we treat lots of car accident patients.  Many car accidents are from being rear ended, and patients suffer a whiplash to their necks.   A whiplash is when the head and neck snap backward and forward in seconds,  during a rear ending accident.  Often after a whiplash injury, patients suffer with headaches.

The pain after a whiplash injury usually is at the base of the skull and is exacerbated by neck movements.  Some patients cannot move their head and neck at all after a whiplash.  This is why its so crucial to be seen by a chiropractor, have xrays taken and start treatment soon after you have a whiplash injury.  The sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcomes will be.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a chiropractor in Belmar, NJ good for headaches?

Yes.  At Kinney Chiropractic, we specialize in helping patients with headaches.  Through a detailed history, examination and Xrays, we find out the cause of why patients are having headaches and create a very specific treatment plan to get rid of your headaches in the shortest amount of time possible.

2. When should you see a chiropractor for headaches?

Are your headaches constant, lasting all day, 1-2 times per week?  Are your headaches coming for weeks at a time and then subsiding?  Have you been having headaches for years with no relief?  Do you take a lot of medication for your headaches?   If you answered yes to any of these questions,  then it's time to see a Chiropractor.  Chiropractic is a natural, drug-less way to treat headaches.  Chiropractic is safe, effective and proper correction of the spine can eliminate your headaches forever. 

3. Are chiropractors covered by insurance for headaches?

At Kinney Chiropractic, we accept most major medical insurances.  If you are having headaches, and want to be a patient, we will take your insurance information, and as a benefit to you, call to find out what your insurance coverage is.  Then we can begin treatment to help alleviate your headaches.

4. Can getting your neck adjusted help with headaches?

Most headaches don’t actually arise from your head, they come from your neck.  Many patients come in to Kinney Chiropractic with headaches, but upon examination of the neck, we find the problems are there.  Once we start adjusting the neck, almost all of our patients see a reduction or elimination of their headaches.

5. Is chiropractic effective for migraines?

Yes.  Chiropractic is Very Effective for Migraines.  Chiropractic adjustments help restore proper alignment, motion and movement in the neck spine, and help take pressure off the nerves.  This is a cause of migraines.  We see amazing improvement in our migraine patients with Chiropractic adjustments.