Chiropractic Treatments for Migraines and Cluster Headaches
Few of the millions who get occasional headaches have it as bad as the migraine sufferer. Far from being a minor annoyance these headaches can ruin lives. The migraine is a special type of headache-a vascular headache (as opposed to the more common tension headache). A migraine includes a collection of symptoms (a syndrome) that appear before the headache pain itself hits.
Migraines and Cluster Headaches
Examples are: spots, lines or colored lights before the eyes, redness, swelling, tearing, muscle contraction, hallucinations, irritability, depression, numbness, constipation or diarrhea, and sometimes even a feeling of well-being! As the warning symptoms leave the headache itself hits. It may range in severity from minor discomfort to immobilizing agony and may last from minutes to days. A few of the most common expressions of it are:
- The pain most likely occurs on only one side of the head.
- Nausea and vomiting are usually associated with it.
- The throbbing eventually evolves into a dull steady pain
The Migraine Headache
The migraine is different from tension headaches because tension headaches usually involve the whole head, start suddenly and only include nausea and vomiting if it becomes very severe. Also, migraines affect more women than men, and usually begin after puberty. The cause of migraines is not known. Because other members of the family may also have headache problems, some researchers believe migraines may have a hereditary component. But there are many things you inherit from your parents that have no genetic component which may be related to headache formation: how you deal with stress, anger and tension and how you hold your body (posture). Genes usually give us tendencies, not the condition itself. No “migraine gene” is known. Chiropractic is a method of removing spinal damage so your body may work better and heal itself.
The Cluster Headache
Cluster headache attacks seem to mostly affect men between 20 and 40. They come on abruptly, with intense throbbing pain arising high in one nostril and spreading behind the eye on that side of the face. The attacks tend to occur from once to several times daily in clusters lasting weeks or even months. Without apparent reason the cluster subsides as quickly as it began.
The treatment for a headache depends, of course, on what has presumably caused it. A headache arising from visual problems can often be cured by eyeglasses. An infection headache of the sinuses or ears is relieved when the infection subsides. But the most common headaches are usually treated with painkillers. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year on everything from aspirin and aspirin substitutes to codeine and prescription drugs may provide relief from headache, but does it correct the cause?
The Chiropractic Approach
Millions of headache sufferers are turning to the natural, drugless, chiropractic approach to health. Chiropractors are the only healing professionals who are trained to analyze and correct the vertebral subluxation complex, a spinal distortion that damages the nerves. It is a very common, often painless condition-that weakens the body, causes fatigue, lowers vitality and sets the stage for sickness and diseases. Chiropractic is a method of removing spinal damage so your body may work better and heal itself. Chiropractors don’t treat headaches and yet millions of headache sufferers have benefited from the safe, natural, drugless, chiropractic approach to health care. By correcting your vertebral subluxation complex, your body, with its magnificent natural healing ability, is better able to address your overall needs.
The Chiropractic Checkup
Using his/her hands, X-ray and other instruments to analyze your spine, the chiropractor will determine if you have any vertebral subluxations in your body. Then, using special techniques, your chiropractor will perform a chiropractic spinal adjustment to correct the vertebral subluxation complex, removing the nerve pressure and spinal distortions. Please keep in mind that the purpose of the chiropractic spinal adjustment is not to cure your headache but to remove the nerve and spinal stress caused by the vertebral subluxation complex. This permits our body to restore itself to a greater level of health and wholeness to better heal itself.
The Spine/Headache Relationship
It was once believed that the structures of the neck were not related to headaches; however that is no longer the case. Now there is a special term for those headaches that originate in the neck: the cervicogenic headache. As Dr. Howard Vernon (D.C.) concluded in reviewing the literature on the spine/ headache relationship, “The body of literature supporting a [spinal] origin of headache … is substantial.” It appears that there are many pain-sensitive structures in the neck-the joints, discs and even ligaments that may be related to problems that whiplash and accident victims often report: headache, dizziness and other problems.” In fact, a study of 6,000 people who suffered from recurring headaches for two to 25 years showed that spine injury was the most important factor in the cause of the headache and should be suspected in every nonspecific case of headache.’
Can Chiropractic Help You?
Chiropractors have, for over a century, observed that after chiropractic spinal care, children and adult migraine sufferers report improvement or alleviation of their condition. No matter what disease or condition you have, you can benefit from a healthy spine. Spinal health can be as important for your overall healing as proper nutrition. Are you and your family carrying the vertebral subluxation complex in your spines? Only a chiropractic spinal checkup can tell. Among the many things contributing to your health: the quality of the air, food and water you take in; how you handle emotional stress; your inherited weaknesses and strengths; your use of drugs; exercise; and relaxation-a healthy spine is absolutely essential. In some people it is a major factor and can make the difference between a life of health, strength and vitality and a life of disease, weakness and disability. A healthy spine can improve your life. See your Minnesota Chiropractor for periodic spinal checkups.