Headache - It is estimated that some 15,000,000
Americans suffer from chronic recurrent headaches, commonly
called Migraine. Recent research has suggested that many
headaches diagnosed as Migraine should have been diagnosed as
Cervicogenic Headache, meaning headache arising out of the neck.
Both headaches have similar symptoms, pain usually involving one
side of the head, nausea, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity,
irritable, prolonged headache can develop into vomiting, diarrhea
or constipation. Visual warning signs, called Aura’s, may also be
common to both types of headaches. An aura may be spots in the
field of vision, zig-zag lines, or blind spots in the visual
field. Auras are known to occur from hyper-excited nerves in the
So if the symptoms are the same, how do you know which headache
you suffer from? Actually, from a Chiropractic standpoint it
doesn’t matter. Research has shown Chiropractic adjustments, or
manipulation to be an effective treatment for both. However,
Cervicogenic headaches usually start with pain in the back of the
neck, often by the base of the skull. Tension headaches may also
start in a similar fashion. Now you begin to understand why exact
diagnosis can be difficult to accurately pin down.
Chiropractors approach all of these types of
headache in a similar fashion. By detecting and correct
vertebral misalignments usually in the upper neck, a reduction
in headache pain is sometimes immediately felt. At a minimum,
Chiropractic care can reduce the severity and frequency of
headaches, rather Migraine, Tension or Cervicogenic.
With continued treatment, and mapping of the
headache history, the ultimate goal would be complete recovery
and prevention of headaches all together.
“I begin adjusting headache patients on the first
visit.”, says Dr. Routley. “I also encourage patients to begin
keeping a diary of time, location, activities, foods, smells,
stresses, time of day, anything that we can find to be a common
denominator for the onset of a headache. Another great tool for
headaches sufferers is find a quiet, dark room to lay down, and
to place a rolled towel under their neck with some low heat to
the neck.”, adds Dr. Routley.
Chiropractic is safe and effective for many, many health
Common Migraine Triggers:
- Stress and anxiety
- Missed meals
- Changes in barometric pressure
- Changes in altitude
- Certain foods - especially with food
additives like Nitrates or MSG
These triggers may also precipitate other
forms of headache. Speak with Dr. Routley about how these may be
aggravating your headache condition.