Don’t let it get you down
If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.
What do you do when you suffer from a pounding head pain? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative.
New research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension head pain and headaches that originate from the neck.
A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-
Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
But to get to the bottom of the problem, your first need is to find out what is causing your pain. Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, environment stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behavior (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About five percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.
“The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck,” says Dr. George B. McClelland, a doctor of chiropractic from Christiansburg, VA, and a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Board of Governors. “Today, Americans engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache.”
What Can Cherry Hill Residents Do?
The ACA suggests the following:
• If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head through a comfortable range of motion.
• Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing or chewing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headache.
• Drink at least eight 8-
In addition, the ACA and its Council on Nutrition suggest you avoid the following food “triggers”:
• Avoid caffeine. Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain high levels of the stimulant.
• Avoid foods with high salt or sugar content. These foods may cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity to light, noise, or abrupt movements.
• Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. These drinks can dehydrate you and cause head pain.
• Other head pain sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also high-
What Can a Cherry Hill Chiropractor Do to help residents in Cherry Hill?
Dr. McClelland says your doctor of chiropractic may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:
• Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.
• Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition or B complex vitamins.
• Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
“Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways – not just back pain,” says Dr. McClelland. “They know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to relieve those problems.”
If your head pain is symptomatic of a health problem that needs the care of another discipline, your doctor of chiropractic will refer you to an appropriate specialist.