American Chiropractic Association states that one of the common reasons to see a chiropractor is a headache. The global prevalence of headaches among adults is about 47%. Approximately 1.7-4% of the worldwide adult population is affected by headaches with a frequency of 15 or more days per month. Though headache can affect people of any age, race, geographical area, or income strata, it is usually less prevalent in children. The various types of headaches include migraine, tension-type, cluster headaches, and others. The International Classification of Headache Disorders shows high validity and reliability. Headaches, especially migraine-type headaches, are more prevalent in adolescents and women of childbearing age. While over-the-counter medications can cure headaches, some variants require a more hand- manipulation approach to get better relief. Let us discuss various headaches and how chiropractic care can help manage them.
Tension-type headache is the most common cause, affecting over 80% of adults. Adolescents and children also experience it. The overall prevalence of tension headaches is more in females than in men. It is experienced as tight, band-like discomfort, on both sides, in a periodic manner. Muscular as well as psychogenic factors are considered to be associated with tension-type headaches. The symptoms of this type of headache can be relieved by taking over-the-counter pain relief medications, some caffeinated products like tea or coffee, etc. As tension headaches are believed to be musculoskeletal in origin, massage or chiropractic therapy does help in symptomatic relief. Because chiropractic uses hand or electric manipulation to help the patient relieve headache symptoms.
The patient experiences severe throbbing pain on one side of the head, associated nausea (sense of vomiting), sensitivity to light or sound, and aggravation of symptoms of mild head movement. So the attacks of a migraine headache can last for hours or sometimes even days and prove to be very exhausting. Mostly, migraines have a familial or genetic history. Because, there are two types of migraine: Migraine without aura or common migraine experiences no focal neurologic symptoms before the onset of headache, whereas in migraine with aura or Classic migraine, there are stereotyped sensory, motor, or visual symptoms before the start of migraine headache.
In the absence of any definitive treatment, migraine headaches are managed by over-the-counter analgesics or palliative care. Chiropractors help release any muscular tension or neck discomfort that may provoke a headache. So one of the published studies proves that manipulating the spinal cord help in relieving the symptoms of headache.
Cluster headache (CH), commonly called histamine headache, is a primary neurovascular headache. As the name suggests, cluster headache occurs in “cluster” or headache grouping, usually lasting for several weeks. It is experienced on one side of the head for about 30 minutes to 2-hour duration. But it is seen commonly in patients who are chain smokers, with a prevalence of about 80%. Cluster headaches are associated with nausea, vomiting, nasal stuffiness, redness of the eye, pain around the eye region, and fall of tears from one eye and others. So Chiropractic cares help relieve some of the musculoskeletal symptoms associated with cluster headaches, but a concerned doctor’s consultation will be beneficial before starting the chiropractic sessions.
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