Can Chiropractors Help Headaches and Migraines?
It may surprise you to read that chiropractors can help with headaches and migraines.
The reason for this is simple. Most headaches and migraines have a “mechanical” component.
This means that muscles and joints, particularly around the head and neck, play a part in causing or triggering headaches and migraines.
The great news is that Gloucester Chiropractors are experts at treating muscle and joint problems, and so can help if you have headaches or migraines.
If you are looking for an appointment with a Gloucester chiropractor, please follow this link.
How do Chiropractors Treat Headaches/Migraines?
The short answer is that this depends on the cause of your headaches/migraines.
In most instances, Gloucester Chiropractors will use a variety of treatment methods in combination for best effect.
This could include soft-tissue techniques such as active/passive release, dry-needling, fascial mobilisation and trigger point therapy. Treatment may also include joint mobilisation or manipulation.
Chiropractic treatment is tailored to each individual patient, and is safe and usually totally painless.
Our approach at Gloucester Chiropractors is to treat patients holistically. This means that we will address any issues that could be contributing to your symptoms, even if these issues are located away from the source of your pain.
Patients attending Gloucester Chiropractors for headache and migraine relief can expect, therefore, to have treatment directed at their upper back, neck and head, as an absolute minimum.
Our chiropractors are also trained to provide nutritional and lifestyle advice, so will discuss other factors that could be influencing your symptoms. We will provide clear and easy to follow recommendations of steps you can take to address these factors.
We will also provide rehabilitative exercises, to help strengthen, mobilise or off-load tissues as appropriate. This is very important for preventing recurrence of headaches and migraines.
If chiropractic treatment is not the best option for dealing with your symptoms, our chiropractors will refer you for further investigation/another type of treatment, as the situation demands.
Muscles and Joints Causing Headaches??
People are often surprised by this, but it’s absolutely true that muscle and joints can cause headaches/migraines.
And even when your symptoms are caused by other factors, problems with your muscles and joints can be triggers or exacerbating factors.
This is true even when you don’t have any neck pain or other symptoms apart from your headaches/migraines.
But at Gloucester Chiropractors we won’t just treat you and hope for the best. Prior to any treatment, we will conduct a thorough examination.
At an absolute minimum, this process includes discussion about your medical history, your lifestyle and symptoms, followed by neurological examination. We’ll even take your blood pressure.
While diseases that cause headaches are rare, the examination process allows us to check for indications that a pathology could be to blame for your symptoms.
If there is any doubt, we’ll refer you for the most appropriate further investigation right away.
Migraines vs Headaches
It can be difficult to know whether you have migraines or headaches, but the label probably isn’t very helpful in either case.
Since the causes of both migraines and headaches are so variable, a diagnosis needs to be more specific to be useful.
This is where seeing a chiropractor can be helpful.
Chiropractors undertake a full time, five year degree prior to registration. The bulk of work done in this time is learning how to diagnose painful conditions.
Once we have established a diagnosis, the most appropriate treatment can be provided.
This means a higher chance of resolving your problem, lower risks of treatment and, usually, quicker results.
Self-Help for Migraines and Headaches
The advice in this section must not substitute for advice from a medical professional, such as a chiropractor, GP or neurologist.
It is intended as a guide and, since migraines and headaches are complex disorders, not every tip will help every person.
- Posture Matters
Your posture can affect blood flow to your brain, as well as your joints and muscles. For this reason, posture is a very good place to start if you have headaches or migraines.
Anything that brings your chin closer to your chest or tilts your chin forward can aggravate symptoms.
Try tucking your chin into your neck slightly, without letting your head come forward. This activates core muscles of the neck, something that we can all benefit from.
Common triggers for headaches and migraines include refined sugars (eg. chocolate/sweets/fizzy drinks), caffeine (eg. coffee, chocolate, tea), Alcohol and MSG (monosodium glutamate, found in highly processed foods such as ready meals/takeaways).
In some instances, headaches can occur in people with lactose or gluten intolerance.
Experiment a little with your own diet to see if excluding one or two common triggers makes a difference. If there is no difference after 8 weeks, you can reintroduce and try another.
A balanced diet, with lots of varied plant material, will ensure you are not deficient in any micronutrients, however supplementing with Magnesium, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B2 and fish oil (or flax-seed oil) can help some people.
Stress is a major factor in many headache/migraine cases. It can be the primary cause.
There are many ways of relieving stress, not everybody can get relief in the same way.
Common stress-busters include meditation, intense exercise, time outdoors, Yoga, therapy, breathing exercises and socialising.
Recognising the signs of stress is key to dealing with it. Once you recognise your body entering a stressed state, you may be able to remove yourself from that situation temporarily in order to facilitate a winding down.
“Pretending” to be not stressed, by breathing slowly, lying down, talking/moving slowly, smiling/laughing and unclenching muscles can interrupt your body’s stress responses.
Poor sleep affects your body in many ways, only one of which is to worsen headaches/migraines.
If you struggle to sleep, remove devices/screens from the bedroom. De-clutter. Spend as little time as possible in the bedroom apart from while asleep.
Aim for around 7 hours’ sleep. Go to bed later. Force yourself to get up early. Your body will become more efficient at sleeping when the opportunity presents.
Try not to sleep on your front. This will usually force you to twist your neck, causing problems with the joints/muscles around your spine.
- Seek help
You may already be looking to see a chiropractor, but what about an optician? Or a dentist?
Poor vision, tooth problems or jaw clenching can all cause headaches.
Your GP will be able to prescribe you medication to relieve some of your symptoms. While nobody likes taking medication long-term, as a short-term solution it can facilitate things like better sleep, lower stress levels and more activity, helping you gain control of your symptoms.
Make a Chiropractic Appointment
If you have headaches or migraines, our chiropractors will be only too happy to help.
They each have years’ of experience diagnosing and treating headache/migraine problems.
You can make an appointment by clicking this link and filling in the contact form.
Alternatively, if you are unsure about seeing a chiropractor, you can call us on 07716 489363 and one of our chiropractors will answer the phone.