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Dr Katie March Newsletter

Written By Coastal Integrative Health on March 18, 2014

Headaches-treating the CAUSE

Did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. When you get a headache, it is your bodies way of telling you that something is wrong. Some are occasional, some are more frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some can be as intense as having debilitating pain and nausea. What do you think the majority of people do when this happens to them? Lie down? Grit their teeth and continue on? Or how about pop a pill? This may help for the time being, but this is just like putting a band-aid over the headache-we are only treating the symptom and not the CAUSE of the headache.

So what causes a headache? First off, all headaches are not the same- they can range from a migraine, a tension headache, a cluster headache, or a cervicogenic headache. Some can last for for a short period of time, others can last for days. Headaches may be a result of stress from a chemical, environmental, emotional or physical source or any combination of these. Even certain foods that you are eating on a daily basis can trigger a headache. The majority of primary headaches come from tension in the neck region. Today, more than ever, Americans are having more of a sedentary life style, especially in their jobs. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours in the same position and posture, overtime, can cause joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back, and scalp. Misalignments or restrictions in the spine, particularly in the upper part of the neck, can irritate nerves that provide pain sensation to various parts of the head and face, causing that unwanted headache. So in the long run, the most important cause of this headache is mechanical dysfunction or chronic hypomobility (fixation) of the cervical spine. So how do we fix the CAUSE of your headaches?!

Like I said at the beginning, most people will reach for the pain killers before thinking how to really fix the CAUSE-all we are treating are the pain symptoms, this may help temporarily, but in the long run we still have not fixed the underlying issue. Ever think that a chiropractor could help with the cause of your headaches?! Not only does a chiropractor adjust the misalignments in your cervical spine but they will also work on the soft tissues surrounding that area that is causing the muscle tension. The Spine Journal did a randomized controlled trial with 200 participants to test spinal manipulation and a low-load exercise program to treat cervicogenic headaches. The trial was done over a 12 month period and the results were as follows:
” At the 12-month follow-up assessment, both manipulative therapy and specific exercise had significantly reduced headache frequency and intensity, and the neck pain and effects were maintained….”
So next time your headaches start acting up, call the office and make an appointment to have your cervical spine (neck region) checked out, let us treat the CAUSE and get rid of your symptoms!

Reference: http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Abstract/2002/09010/A_Randomized_Controlled_Trial_of_Exercise_and.4.aspx
American Chiropractic Association, Mercola.com-headaches

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