Headaches and Migraines
Of the wide variety of musculoskeletal issues chiropractors deal with , headaches and migraines are often not associated as an ailment that can be treated. However, a large portion of patients will report some type of headache or migraine as their chief complaint when visiting a chiropractor.
First off, we can think of “Headache” as an overarching term. There are many types of headaches and it is important to determine which is affecting the patient. A chiropractor will perform a thorough history and examination to conclude which headache type is affecting the patient and what is the root cause.
Types of Headaches
The main type of headache a chiropractor treats are tension or muscular based headaches. These headaches are the result of not only stiff or tight joints, but of knots/trigger points or imbalances in certain muscles that can refer pain and lead to headaches. For example, a patient could have a knot in their right upper trapezius muscle that could be referring pain around their neck and up into the head. In this case, the pain is felt in the head but the cause of the problem is the tight knot in the trapezius muscle that needs to be addressed.
What about Migraines?
Migraines are often separated into their own category. Migraines can be thought of as an “advanced” type of headache. They can be caused by muscular issues but they also can be triggered by certain sounds or smells that patients refer to as their “trigger.” In some cases, migraines are the result of increased blood flow due to genetic conditions which leave the patient with larger arteries carrying blood to the brain. But most commonly, as chiropractors we deal with the more prevalent types of migraines.
Chiropractic Treatment Plan
For any type of headaches and migraines, the treatment plan will be catered to that individual patient to best reduce their pain and discomfort. Chiropractors use a variety of different muscle releasing techniques paired with the chiropractic adjustment to treat these conditions.
In addition, exercises or stretches, lifestyle changes will be integrated into the patient’s daily life to help prevent these headaches in the future.