Headaches are a common source of pain for a large number of Americans. 95% of women and 90% of men have had at least one in the past 12 months. And for about 45 million of us, those headaches are chronic.

While a wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications have been developed to relieve this pain, they generally do little to address the underlying cause of the problem. In addition, many of these compounds can have unwanted side effects, particularly if they're used often, over a prolonged period of time or in combination with other medicines. 

Headaches occur for many reasons and can vary greatly in their intensity and duration. They may arise on their own or be triggered as a result of some other health condition. 

Tension headaches are brought on by unrelieved muscular contractions in the head, neck and shoulders, usually as a result of stress that cannot find an outlet. These muscular contractions can themselves become the source of broader tension and stress throughout the body, setting in motion a feedback loop that eventually produces a headache.

As anyone who suffers from migraines already knows, they're not just headaches. Medically speaking, migraines are considered a chronic neurological disorder that is characterized by recurring moderate-to-severe headaches - usually on one side of the head - and other autonomic nervous system symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and vomiting. 

Cervicogenic headaches are secondary headaches produced when pain begins in the neck or back of the head and is referred to the forehead or the area behind, in and around the eyes. Trauma, chronic tension and disease are some of the more common initial sources of neck pain that is referred to the head. Trigger points in the neck, shoulder blade and spine may also be sources of these headaches, though they can be much more difficult to identify.

How Chiropractic Can Help

There is a large and growing body of medical research that suggests chiropractic care can be effective in preventing or reducing the frequency and severity of primary headaches. Chiropractic manipulation of the spine and neck is used to improve the alignment of the spine and relieve muscle tension. It also reduces nerve irritation and improves vascular flow. Massage may also be included as part of a well-rounded treatment plan. 

At New Leaf Chiropractic, we offer chiropractic care and massage therapy to alleviate headaches and migraines. Please call 303-776-6767 today.