A few common causes of headaches...


Man with a terribe, migraine headache

Because headaches are so common, some people think that getting a headache is just a normal part of life. Headaches are a sign that something's wrong.

Stress, toxic fumes, certain foods, preservatives, and alcohol are common culprits.


There are many types of headaches.

X-Ray showing abnormal neck curvature

A frequent and overlooked cause of headaches is the malfunction of spinal bones in the neck and upper back. When bones in the spine lose their normal position or motion, sensitive nerves and blood vessels to the head can be affected.

When spinal nerves and related tissues are stretched or irritated, they can produce throbbing headaches. Aspirin and medication may cover up these warning signs, but do not correct the underlying structural cause. Many people experience correction and relief through chiropractic care.

If a thorough examination reveals reduced range of motion, loss of abnormal spinal curves, or mechanical restrictions, chiropractic care should be considered. After a complete examination, you'll receive a care program designed for your unique spinal program.

Specific chiropractic adjustments can help correct spinal joint dysfunction created by the various chemical, emotional and physical stresses in our lives.

Many patients report headache relief. Others find that the correction of their condition takes longer because their spinal problem has existed undetected for many years. Every patient responds differently. Benefit from the drug-free results millions have enjoyed by consulting a chiropractic doctor.

Drugs can cover up symptoms.

Assorted pain medicine

Each year, millions upon millions of Americans use over-the-counter(OTC) pain relievers to deal with headaches.

The big drug companies have conditioned us, through massive advertising, to believe that the remedy for a headache is to take a pain reliever. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

These pain relievers are known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve), ketoprofen (Orudis KT), and Acetaminophen (Tylenol and Panadol). These drugs, especially if taken for long periods of time, can cause additional health problems.

NSAIDs prevent the body from manufacturing prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances produced naturally by the body that act as mediators for a variety of physiologic functions including protecting the stomach lining, and regulating blood pressure. They also mediate pain and inflammation. An NSAID works by blocking all prostaglandins. So while they block those that cause pain, they also block those that protect the stomach lining and can, therefore, cause stomach upset or gastrointestinal bleeding in some people. The risk of problems increases with long-term use of NSAIDs. However, NSAIDs are effective at reducing aches, pain, fever, and inflammation.

Taking them for headaches on a regular basis does not fix the problem, it only suppresses the pain temporarily. The problem is still there, it's only masked. All the while, the affected area of the body continues to worsen and degenerate.

In the end, the only viable solution is to seek out the root of the problem and try to correct it.

Resources:

Elizabeth Quinn; Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers - Pain Medication. About.com Guide, January 24, 2008

Berman, T., D.C., Chiropractic Technique, p.732; Churchill Livingston, 1993.

Boline, R., PhD., Chiropractic Treatment and Pharmaceutical Treatment For Muscle Contraction Headaches, Proceeding 1991 International Conference of Spinal Manipulation, 303-304; Foundation for Chiropractic Eductaion and Research, Arlington, VA 1991.

Gatterman, M., D.C., Foundation for Chiropractic Subluxation, 315-316; Mosby, 1995.

Lu, J., Ebraheim, S., M.D., Spine, 23(6):315-316; Mosby, 1995.

Malgne, R., M.D. Diagnosis and Treatment of Pain of Vertibral Origin, 346-348, Williams and Wilkins, 1995.

Martelletti, J., M.D.,JNMS, 3(4): 182-187; 1995

Nilsson, N., D.C., M.D., JMPT, 20(5): 326-330; 1997.

Plaugher, G., D.C., Anrig-Howe, c., D.C., Textbook of Clinical Chiropractic; A specific Biomechanical Appraoch, 360-363; Williams and Wilkins 1993.,

Vernon, T., D.C., JMPT, 18(9): 611-617; 1995.

The Chiropractic Lifestyle

Doctor of Chiropractic with patient

Chiropractors are experts in the care of bones, nerves, muscles and connective tissues that make up about 60% of your body. All of the joints in your body and part of this musculo skeletal system and its optimal function is necessary for overall good health. Ask your Doctor of Chiropractic for more information about a care program which may include specific spinal adjustments, exercise recommendations, nutritional advice or other conservative methods of care based on your health history, age, current condition and lifestyle.