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Posted on 10-12-2016

Chiropractic Adjustment for Treating Headaches

A tension headache is typically described as a tight, dull aching around the head or behind the eyes. This kind of headache is often caused by subluxations in the upper back and neck, which can be treated with chiropractic adjustments. Many studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments are effective for treating tension headaches, especially those that originate in the neck.

Each case of a tension headache is different and requires a thorough evaluation before the course of chiropractic care can be determined. In most cases of tension headaches, improvement can be accomplished through the manipulation of the upper two cervical vertebrae, coupled with adjustments to the junction between the cervical and thoracic spine. This can also help relieve migraine headaches, seeing as food and lifestyle triggers are avoided.

Tension and Migraine Headaches

Headaches can occur due to a wide variety of causes, including drug reaction, TMJ, tightness in the neck muscles, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, stress and fatigue. However, the majority of recurrent headaches are tension headaches and migraine headaches.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common, affecting around 75 percent of most people. People usually describe a tension headache as a constant dull, achy feeling on one or both sides of the head. Tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to several days and in some cases, chronic tension headaches may persist for many months. The pain can be severe but is not usually associated with symptoms like nausea, throbbing or vomiting.

These headaches are typically caused by subluxations in the upper back or neck. When the top cervical vertebrae lose their normal motion or position, a small muscle called the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle goes into spasm. This small muscle has a tendon which slips between the upper neck and the base of the skull and attaches to the dura mater, a pain-sensitive tissue that covers the brain.

Migraine Headaches

In the United States, about 25 million people experience migraine headaches each year, 75 percent of which are women. Migraines are intense, throbbing headaches that are associated with nausea and sensitivity to light or noise. They can last for a few hours or even a few days. Many who suffer from migraines experience visual symptoms called an "aura" before a migraine attacked. This experienced is described as seeing flashing lights or viewing the world in a dream-like state.

Migraines are caused by a constriction of the blood vessels in the brain, followed by a dilation of blood vessels. During constriction, there is a decrease in blood flow, which leads to the visual symptoms that many experience. Once blood vessels dilate, there is a rapid increase in blood pressure inside the head, leading to the pounding headache. Every time the heart beats it sends a shockwave through the carotid arteries in the neck and up into the brain.

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