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Chiropractic and Migraines/Headaches

What causes migraines and headaches?

Nine out of ten Americans suffer from migraines and headaches. Causes for migraines and headaches can be food, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems. The remaining 95 percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. The majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. The more hours spent in one fixed position or posture (such as sitting in front of a computer) can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache. A migraine occurs when the blood vessels in your head expand and the tissue around your brain swells. This swelling is very painful and for many migraine sufferers, it can lead to vomiting, visual disturbances, and increased sensitivity to light. 


What can you do to prevent migraines and headaches?

If you spend a large amount of time in one position, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion. Light exercise (walking or low-impact aerobics) may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. If you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Avoid teeth clenching. Your upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. Clenching your teeth causes stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches. Make sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to migraines and headaches. Cut back on your caffeine intake, too much caffeine can lead to migraines. Make sure you get enough sleep or have a routine sleep schedule, not enough sleep or a irregular sleep schedule can trigger a migraine. 


How can Chiropractic care help with migraines and headaches?

  • Adjustments improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system. Correcting spinal alignments allows nerves the space they need to communicate properly, and relieve pressure put on muscles and ligaments.


  • Chiropractors can provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.


  • Chiropractors can 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.

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