There are several studies which have proved that chiropractic procedures are quite effective in managing tension headaches. Ask any Denver chiropractor and most will tell you that they have helped numerous patients with headaches.
A study suggested that spinal manipulative treatment was significantly useful in the management of tension headaches. In addition to that, the results of the study also maintained that the patients who underwent chiropractic procedures and then stopped after four week still experienced continued benefits when compared to the patients that had been offered pain medication.
Since patient’s cases are of different kinds, it's essential to conduct a serious evaluation first, before any chiropractic procedures are undertaken. In most cases, however, positive results are acquired after corrections to the junction found between the thoracic and cervical spine alongside operations on the two upper cervical vertebrae. Such procedures are significantly useful in many migraine-related headaches, so long as proper adjustments are made to the patient’s lifestyle and food as such are triggers which bring the unwanted results.
What’s more about headaches?
Reactions from drugs, tightness in the neck muscles, increased blood pressure, Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction, low blood sugar level, fatigue, and stress are some of the many causes of headaches. Even though headaches might be caused by a variety of these and more issues, the most common headaches include tension or cervicogenic headaches and migraine headaches. Then there's a third, though a less-occurring type of a headache that is related to migraine headaches, which is known as Cluster headache. Most headaches will commonly fall under these three categories.
This type of a headache is quite common to a number of patients, with stats indicating that up to 75% of headache patients will have suffered from tension headaches. Most patients do experience a dull, achy feeling that seems to remain constant on one or both sides of their head. It’s also described as a dull ache, either behind the eyes or around the head, as if one has a tight band around the head.
These headaches which can be as a result stressful moments or bad posture hence affecting the spine and muscles in the neck and upper side of the back can last anywhere from several minutes to days. They also have a tendency of beginning in the middle of the day, or as the day nearly comes to an end. There are some cases when chronic tensional headaches persist, sometimes even a month or several months. Though the pain from tensional headaches can be severe from time to time, such headaches won’t normally be related to other indicators such as vomiting or nausea.
Subluxations in the neck and upper side of the back as well as active trigger points as the most common casual factor of tensional headaches. The problem starts with the top cervical vertebrae losing their normal position or motion, and the result is a muscle known as rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPM) going into spasm. The major problem in such is that the muscle contains a tendon that is attached to a pain-sensitive tissue that covers the brain. The pain-sensitive tissue, known as the Dura matter, is the one responsible for the pain, and not the brain as the brain at such a point has no feeling. Therefore, what happens is that the RCPM goes into spasm, the tugs at the Dura matter, and the resulting pain is a headache. This mostly common to individuals that hold desk jobs.
In a year, an approximated population of up to 25 million people in the U.S. suffer migraine headaches, and from such a population, 75% of the patients are women. Such headaches are described by many as an intense throbbing pain in the head, and they can last anywhere from few hours to several days. Before a migraine attack, most of the patients will experience “aura”, a visual symptom and the patient might see as if everything appears in a dream-like vision or flashing lights.
Such headaches will first attack the patients before age 30, and they do have a genetic component in them as they are common in some families. Patients in Denver with such headaches might suffer attacks that vary from having several attacks in a single month, to suffering no attack at all in one year. There’s a common observation among some patient’s though since most of them have realized that such headaches do at times get less severe and reduce in number as one gets older.
Such headaches are as a result of constriction of blood vessels located in the brain, after which a blood vessels dilation occurs. The visual symptoms that most of the patients experience are as a result of the constriction of the blood vessels, which results in reduced blood flow to the brain. Even when one is lucky not to experience the aura symptom, most of the migraine patients will tell that an attack is happening at that time. Once the dilation of the vessels occurs, blood pressure will increase in the head, and this is what that leads to a pounding feeling of the headache. Each time the heart beats, the pressure caused by the blood flow acts like a shock wave up the neck into the brain, and the pain comes after that.
Though there is no clear information about what causes the constriction of the vessels in the brain, there are some factors that are known to trigger migraines. Such factors include failure to sleep enough, strong odors, stress, a change in weather patterns, flickering lights, as well as foods that have high levels of an amino acid known as “Tyramine”. This means that migraine headaches can be controlled by taking proper control of your lifestyle.
These are very painful, short-lived headaches which commonly attack one side of the head, most commonly at the back side of the eyes. Cluster headaches, unlike migraine headaches, are most common in men, and they do attack up to 1 million people in the United States. They are known as cluster headaches since they tend to attack one to four times a day for several days, and they are the only type of headaches that attack at night. After a single attack, it could take months or even years for the next attack to hit. This type of a headache is related to migraine headaches since it’s suspected to be caused by dilation of blood vessels.
Headache Trigger Points
Four muscles, namely the Splenius muscles, Trapezius, the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM), and the Sub occipitals muscles are involved in the trigger point therapy meant for headaches. The splenius muscles are made up of two other muscles known as the Splenius Capitis and the Splenius Cervicis which both come from the upper back all the way to the upper cervical vertebrae or one of the bases of the skull. Trigger points in the Splenius muscles are a common cause of a headache that moves ends up in the back of the eye or the top of the head.
Sub occipitals muscles are a combination of four muscles meant to maintain proper positioning and movement between the first cervical vertebrae and the skull’s base, and they also do have trigger points. The trigger points in the muscles cause pain that feels to the patient like it’s in the head and will commonly be from the back of the head, back of the eye, all the way to the forehead. At times, the pain felt will be like that of a migraine, whereby the whole side of the head hurts.
The SCM muscle begins at the bottom of the skull, running down the side of the neck then attaches to the top of the breastbone also known as the sternum. The SCM trigger point effects include disturbed vision, referred pains, and balanced problems. Referred pain patterns can be headaches over the eye, deep eye pain, or even earaches. SCM trigger points also cause unusual symptoms such as dizziness, unbalance, and nausea.
The trapezius muscle, the last of the fours muscles is a large, flat muscle that is found in the upper and mid back. There’s a common trigger point located at the top of the muscle, and it refers pain to the back of the head and temple, and can even cause headache pains at times. The concerned trigger point can also produce satellite trigger points in the jaw or temple, and this can lead to tooth or jaw pain.
So, what are the common headache triggers?
Stress is one of the most common factors, though odors, menstrual periods, some foods, and weather changes are also included among other factors that trigger headaches. Emotional factors like anxiety, depression, frustration, and also some degree of excitement are also associated with headaches.
You also need to acknowledge that being exposed to nitrite compounds repeatedly can lead to headaches that might go along with a flushed face. What nitrites do is that they will dilate your blood vessels, and that may result in a headache after some time. Such nitrites may be found in heart medicine, dynamite, and are also used as to preserve food chemically. Some processed meats such as hot dogs can contain sodium nitrite, which may lead to headaches.
In addition to the above, some foods such as soy sauce, a variety of packaged foods, and even meat tenderizer are prepared with monosodium glutamate(MSG), commonly used to enhance flavor. MSG can, however, be a causal factor for headaches. Foods that have a lot of the amino acid Tyramine, such as ripened cheese, chocolate, fermented foods, among several other foods should also be avoided as they can be causal factors for a headache.
Exposure to poisons such as lead, carbon tetra-chloride and even some insecticides can also lead to headaches. The best thing to do if you commonly suffer such headaches is to keep a diary that can assist you in determining what factors commonly lead to their headache patterns.