Most people have experienced headaches, and many perceive it as a common transient phenomenon that is not considered a problem.
Headaches have many complex causes and for many are associated with a significant deterioration in quality of life. 40 percent perceive headaches as a problem. Three percent of the population has a daily headache, and ten percent have a headache at least once a week. One percent of the population has headaches, which are solely due to long-term overuse of painkillers! Ten percent of those who consult a chiropractor have headaches as their primary reason for consultation.
There are many different types of headaches. The three headache types that respond well to chiropractic treatment are tension headaches, neck headaches and migraines.
Tension headaches, also called stress or tension headaches, are characterized by the fact that the pain is pressing/pressing and is located on both sides of the head. Tension headaches often begin as muscle tension from the neck and shoulders, which spread to the back of the head and forward towards the forehead. It is often described as a tight band pressing on the head. Does not worsen with activity. Tension headaches often occur without any warning. The episodes can be short-lived from 20-30 minutes (sporadic tension type) to continuous lasting days to weeks (chronic tension type).
Cervicogenic headache are caused by loss of movement in the joints of the neck and tense muscles at the top of the neck. There is also neck pain, and the headache worsens or is affected when the neck moves.
Migraines are divided into two types – with or without aura. In migraine with aura, there are classic warnings that the migraine will occur. The warning signs are characteristic visual disturbances such as flickering, dots or flashes of light in the eyes. Symptoms such as temporary, mild paralysis of the face, arms or legs may occur. The pain is pulsating and usually on one side of the head. The pain is very intense and worsens with exertion or activity. Nausea and hypersensitivity to light and sound may be experienced. The headache can last from a few hours to a few days. Migraine without aura does not have the classic warning signs, and the headache is usually less intense.
During a migraine attack, it is known that blood vessels in the brain constrict. Fortunately, today there are effective migraine preparations that can stop or postpone a migraine attack. It is known that there are many migraine-triggering factors ranging from food intolerance, intense smells, noise, light, malfunctions in the neck and shoulders as well as trigger points in the neck and jaw muscles.
Headache in general
Headaches are rarely caused by an underlying serious illness, but sudden, severe and persistent headaches MUST always be taken seriously - especially in children and people who do not normally have headaches. Here we recommend that you contact your doctor. In these cases, rare causes such as infection, poisoning, sinus problems, high blood pressure, brain hemorrhage and brain tumor should be ruled out. If your chiropractor is in doubt, you will be referred to a doctor.
Headaches are often accompanied by symptoms such as malaise, nausea, fatigue, ringing in the ears, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Recurring headaches can affect mood and quality of life in the long run.
In cases where the headache is due to malfunctions in the muscles and joints of the neck and shoulder, it is possible to achieve a good effect from chiropractic treatment. The chiropractor sees the headache patient in a holistic context, and it is often useful with the interdisciplinary efforts to identify and reduce predisposing factors such as stress, depression and anxiety, as well as advice on physical activity, exercises and sleep patterns.
We have good experience in combining acupuncture and chiropractic for chronic headaches. In patients with chronic headaches, regular chiropractic treatment can be a good and safer treatment alternative compared to long-term use of painkillers.