Table of Contents
Why Your Head Hurts
At one time or another we’ve all experienced throbbing or stabbing pains in our heads. Because the head controls the rest of the body, nothing else can get our attention quite so immediately or completely. If there were only one cause of headaches the treatment would be a lot easier. However, headaches come in many different shapes and sizes, and the causes can be equally complex. There is no one simple answer.
Headaches can be triggered by physical or emotional stress, toxic fumes, certain foods, preservatives, alcohol, bright light, trauma, hormonal changes, too much or too little sleep, allergies, or blood pressure to name just a few causes. Another frequently overlooked cause of headaches is misaligned spinal bones in the neck and upper back. When spinal bones lose their normal position and motion, delicate nerves and blood vessels to the head can be affected.
One thing is certain. A recurring headache is a sign that something is wrong. While pain-relievers like aspirin may temporarily ease discomfort, they also mask the symptoms. They do nothing to correct the source of the problem. And while the problem remains, the headaches will come back…again and again.
What Type Of Headache Do I Have?
There are specific labels for many types of headaches, but when your head is pounding, it’s hard to care. By far, tension headaches are the most common type in the United States and may affect as much as 95% of the population at one time or another.
Tension headache sufferers report dull, steady pain on one or both sides of the head and often a feeling of vice-like tightness. Typically, these headaches begin with physical or mental stress that causes contractions of muscles in the neck, back, and head. These prolonged contractions rob the muscles of oxygen, making them release chemicals that transmit "referred" pain signals to the brain.
So many seemly innocent things can trigger a tension headache, it’s often hard to pinpoint a cause. Emotional stress from a job, home, or relationship can cause muscle tension. Sitting for long periods hunched over a desk or computer, gripping telephone between the shoulder and ear, driving in heavy traffic or bad weather, adjusting to new lenses in glasses-all these things can cause muscles to tighten in the neck and back. Physical stress from pain in another part of the body, often spinal problems, can also cause chronic muscle contractions leading to tension headaches.
Vascular Headaches (Migraine and Cluster)
This category of intensely throbbing, stabbing headaches occur when blood vessels supplying the scalp and brain rapidly dilate. It includes migraines and cluster headaches. Migraine sufferers are often completely debilitated, feeling nausea and unable to bear noise or light, from a few hours to a few days while the migraine lasts. Even worse, can be cluster headaches, so-called because they occur in clusters, lasting from 10 minutes to three hours up to eight times a day.
These headaches caused by problems within the cervical (neck) spine are felt in the back, sides and front of the head or the front of the face or neck. Changes in the normal curvature of the neck caused by trauma, degenerative arthritis, or poor posture can cause chronic irritation to vertebral nerve roots. The onset of pain is sudden or acute, and may also cause muscle tension in the neck bringing on tension headaches as well.
This usually occurs with change in temperature or weather change from cold to hot. Pressure is usually above the eyes and sinus area, base of the skull and temple area. You may experience itching eyes and pressure in the face. When I was a child I suffered from sinus and allergies as well as sinus headaches. A chiropractor changed that for me and that is why I am a chiropractor today.
How Dr. Maloof Can Help Your Headache
Dr. Maloof is highly experienced in finding the causes behind headaches as well as relieving the immediate pain. She can help determine whether a physical or structural problem may be involved and, if so, correct it. Usually, a series of spinal adjustments to return misaligned spinal bones to a more normal position and motion can relieve pressure on irritated nerve roots. Dr. Maloof can also help in identifying headache triggers, suggest relaxation exercises, therapy and lifestyle modifications to help avoid future headaches.
Medical management of headaches usually involves medications which are never risk-free. Side effects and even dependencies are common. Chiropractic care offers a safe, gentle and natural alternative to relieving and preventing headaches. Dr. Maloof also recommends specific nutritional supplements to help correct the cause of your specific headache.
Quotes of the Week
"The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work."
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it." Warren Buffet
A 40 year old female came to my office with every one of the headaches described above. Every day since she was 12 years old she suffered from different types of headaches daily. She was prescribed medication, took over the counter pain killers and sinus medication. Then she was given an Imtrex unit where she had to inject herself with the medication. She had been to countless doctors with no results. Even with all this medication her headaches prevailed-they blamed it on stress!!! Even her last Doctor said this is in your head!! I was her last hope. I examined her and found pinched nerves in her neck and pressure in her cranium. With gentle adjusting to her spine and cranium, and nutritional therapy she was relieved from all of her headaches. Her stress level is the same, but her nervous system is working properly so her body can handle the stress. She now is so happy that she found Dr. Maloof to help her relieve that pain that was daily for almost 20 years!!!
If you, a friend or family member would like a consultation please call my office and schedule a time.
Dr. Catherine Maloof
Dr. Maloof Online,ã 2002
Disclaimer: All material provided in the Dr. Maloof Online newsletter is provided for educational purposes only. Consult your own physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
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