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Can Chiropractic Help With Headaches ?

We’ve all suffered a headache at some point - it is afterall one of the most common health problems in Australia, with around 15% of us taking pain-relief medication for headaches at any given time. Headaches can be incredibly debilitating to those who experience them and it can be a challenge to find relief in natural forms. Headaches are actually one of the most common reasons people seek out chiropractic care and treatment provided by a chiropractor can help with many headache conditions, including the most common type of primary (not caused by another condition) headache, Tension Type Headaches. A Danish study indicated that approximately 78% of the adult population has had at least one of these headaches in their life, and while adults are more commonly affected, the average being 25-30 years, it also is the most common form of headache in children.

What are Tension Type Headaches?

Tension Type headaches present as that dull, nagging headache that you feel wrapping around your forehead like an increasingly tightening headband. The duration can vary in length, from as little as 30 minutes, to as long as 7 days. You might notice this type of headache after a long day at work sitting at the desk, or during a particularly stressful time in your life. There are a few factors which have been linked to tension type headaches, including nutritional, environmental and genetics. Although, stress and poor posture are two of the most notable factors linked with the causation of tension type headaches.

Poor posture is a big challenge for all of us in this day and age, we are often in a sustained position of neck flexion (forward head posture), this leads to more stress placed on the neck joints which flows on to the shoulders which attempt to compensate by stooping forward to minimise that stress leading to muscular imbalances. It is this dysfunction that causes some muscles to become tight, eventuating to the tension type headache.

Our physical and emotional wellness are so intricately intertwined. Stress can cause our muscles to tense up, which is a normal physiological response, and after that stress is gone, the muscles will return back to their normal state. The problem lies when chronic stress is experienced, as this leads to chronic muscle tension, which can not only cause tension type headaches but also affect other body systems in negative ways. It is also postulated that nervous system dysfunction may contribute to tension headache development, especially due to interruption of sleep. The loss of sleep resulting in increased fatigue can lead to a rise in sympathetic overdrive (increased stress response), which can cause or intensify a tension headache.

A chiropractor can assist with headaches by addressing the tension patterns causing the headache. Treatment might include soft tissue release to address tight, tense muscles resulting from dysfunction, and joint mobilisations or adjustments to facilitate optimal mobility and reduce excess stress loading through joints. At-home care and exercises may also be prescribed to restore muscular function and provide stability to compromised areas, enhancing and prolonging the treatment your chiropractor provides.

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