Headaches. From nagging discomfort to debilitating pain and nausea, they’re never fun, and unfortunately, they’re quite common — afflicting 9 out of 10 people at some point in their life, including many of the clients at our Cambridge, Ontario chiropractic clinic.
But what causes a headache, and how can a chiropractor help? Headaches have a few different potential causes (and sometimes they overlap and reinforce one another), which we’ll get into below. The good news is that, yes, chiropractic can often bring headache relief.
Headaches can generally be grouped into 3 categories, or types. Migraine headaches are the most debilitating: they are typically felt more on one side of the head or the other, and are accompanied by sensitivity to sound and light, and by nausea. Tension headaches feel like, well, tension wrapping around the head, almost like a headband that is on too tight. Finally, cervicogenic headaches — quick language lesson: tension around the cervical vertebrae (i.e. the neck) is the genesis of cervicogenic headaches. With this type, pain also radiates up into the face and head.
At our Cambridge, Ontario office, we see and provide chiropractic care for all 3 of these headache types — sometimes in combination.
Unfortunately, there’s not a single straightforward answer to this question. In most cases, headaches are the result of tension and imbalance in the body — both the spine and the muscular system. Poor sleep, excessive exercise, stress, and poor posture (hello, working from home!) are all contributors. But sometimes external inputs like light and noise play a role. For some people, headaches (and sensitivities to things that cause them) run in the family. And on rare occasions, they’re a sign of a deeper medical concern. (A chiropractor or other medical professional will know what to look for.)
Short answer: probably! In our 30+ years as a Cambridge chiropractor, we’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of our clients find relief from headaches.
Spinal manipulation is a central tool in the chiropractic toolkit, and it works wonders on headaches. Remember how we talked about muscle tension in the neck as a leading cause of headaches? That’s not just because of the muscles: muscular tension puts strain on the spine, which shifts the spine out of alignment, causing poor communication between the body and the brain — and this manifests as aches, pains and (you guessed it) headaches.
Chiropractic headache treatment often includes a combination of spinal manipulation and soft tissue therapy. Soft tissue includes muscles and other parts of the head, neck and shoulders. Now that you understand how neck tension can turn into headaches, you can see why this combination can be an effective treatment!
Finally, it’s worth noting that the whole foundation of chiropractic care is based on a holistic view of the body, and the power of the body to heal itself when it’s functioning properly. If you come to our office for headache treatment, we focus on alleviating your symptoms so your headaches dissipate. But we also work with you to get at the root cause of your headache, taking a deep look at lifestyle and environmental factors, and providing personalized education and guidance to help set you up for a happier spine (and an ache-free head!) in the future.
If headaches are keeping you from enjoying the moment, we would love to put our passion for holistic health care to work to help you find relief, too. Please get in touch to learn more about how we can help.