Case Study: Headaches

I’ve been doing several case studies lately and this week I want to share what I have experienced with cases of headaches. Headaches have always been one of the primary conditions people seek chiropractic care for, but why?

To being with lets review what chiropractic does. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to identify areas of the neck and spine where spinal vertebrae have become misaligned and correct this via the chiropractic adjustment. This safe and gentle procedure corrects misaligned joints, which we call subluxations, and allows the muscle and tendons to heal on their own which causes symptoms such as headaches to go away.

In my time in practice I have found there are 2 primary types of headaches I treat patients for. Those are tension headaches and migraine headaches. While technically different I have found that both types usually respond well to chiropractic care and it is not uncommon to see full resolution of headaches within 1-4 weeks of regular treatment.

Most of the time patients present with either a sudden onset of migraine symptoms or with a history of chronic tension headaches. The pain can range from mild to pretty severe, as in the person can’t do much but lie in bed and take OTC pain meds for several days.

In cases of headaches the physical examination of the neck almost always reveals two primary pathological components. They are excessive muscle tension and misaligned vertebrae which are tender to the touch. It’s important to note that one of the bodies reactions to misaligned vertebrae is to tighten the muscles. This is because the body views the subluxation as an injury and is trying to stabilize the area similar to how a sprained ankle swells up.

Other common physical findings are reduced range of motion, and the patient may reports sensitivity to lights and sounds. Chiropractic treatment of headaches typically consists of a series of adjustments done over several weeks. Often 2-3 visits per week is needed at the onset of care but this is reduced as the muscle tissue heals and the person begins to feel better.

During treatment I typically ask the person to pay attention to their day to day activities and see if there is some repetitive motion they do that strains the muscles in the neck and upper back. Identifying any of these along with adjusting the neck and upper back can have tremendous benefit for the patient.

Upon successful completion of the treatment I typically suggest 1-2 follow up visits per month to address any developing problems in the neck and back. This is because you just took the time and effort to correct the problem. Why not maintain it so that you don’t wind up back in several weeks or months later with the same problem?

If you struggle with headaches call us or stop in anytime. We are here to help and have years of experience treating headaches. We would love to help you as well.

Austin EricksonAbout the Author

Dr. Austin Erickson is a chiropractor with offices in Glenwood City and the 4 Corners near New Richmond, Wisconsin. He is an expert at combining chiropractic treatment with nutritional advice to achieve excellent results. He has cured himself of psoriasis and autoimmune related arthritis using his protocols. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+

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