Everyone has had a headache at one time or another. It is one of the most universal of ailments and affects men, women and children alike. Americans spend millions of dollars yearly-on everything from over-the-counter remedies to extensive professional care-to get relief, often grasping desperately at even the most temporary kind of help.
Among the seemingly endless varieties of headache, some of the more common are tension, migraine and sinus headache. All types, however, can be mild or severe, temporary or persistent, and the pain associated with them can vary enormously from dull to sharp, from throbbing to pressure-like and pounding, or any combination of these. Headache location can vary, too, with sinus headache typically situated on the face or over the eyes and tension headache more commonly felt at the back of the head and neck. But, while some headaches can be localized to a particular head area, others can be generalized to the entire head.
Some headaches have a definite and obvious cause-overindulgence in food or drink, or lack of adequate sleep. Migraine headache, on the other hand, is thought to be blood-flow related although its exact nature is not completely understood. But there are literally hundreds of causes of headache. Some among them include:
. Sinus congestion
. Muscular spasm
. Irritated nerves
. Menstrual tension
. Organic disease
. High blood pressure
. Eye problem
. Brain disorder
This list of causes is by no means comprehensive. It is merely intended to show that headache is a very complex condition and can be due to many different causes, some of which may be of a serious nature.
The chiropractic physician can offer considerable relief for headache victims but it is essential that he or she make a complete and thorough evaluation of the headache first to differentiate among the possible causes underlying the condition. An accurate history, examination and specialized tests must be performed a procedure for which the chiropractic physician is expertly trained.
In many headache episodes extreme muscular spasm and tension exists in the neck area with resultant alteration of the normal flexibility of the head and neck. In addition, nerve irritation often exists in the head and neck. Nerves that exit at the base of the skull are especially prone to such irritation, which is particularly evident in persistent tension headache.
Chiropractic treatment can be effective in relieving the tightness and muscular spasm, which accompanies headache. Gentle manipulative therapy or "adjustment" of the head and neck area can restore flexibility and minimize nerve irritation and the pain of headache. The chiropractor can also advise the headache victim about proper nutrition and care of the postural aspects of the head and neck. These are important factors in many headache cases.
However, the thorough evaluation of any headache is the essential first step in treatment. It after examination, the chiropractor feels that medical attention is necessary; he will make the proper referral. It however, examination reveals the head and neck area to be involved, manipulative therapy can often provide significant relief. If you suffer from headache, a chiropractic consultation should be seriously considered.