Dubai Chiropractor, Ryan Davis, DC, will be discussing headaches and Chiropractic care in today’s blog. Enjoy!
There are several types of headaches but the majority, 95 percent, are what we call primary headaches. This means that the headache itself is the primary concern. These types of headaches are tension, migraines, or cluster headaches. The majority of headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck.
Elevated stress and prolonged periods of sitting at a computer or workstation increase the tension in the neck, which in turn increases the incidence of headaches that we see in this population.
Studies like those highlighted below have shown that treatment targeting the soft tissues and joints are effective tools to treat headaches.
“Cervical spine manipulation was associated with significant improvement in headache outcomes in trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache.”
McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001), Duke Evidence Report
“The results of this study show that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches. . . Four weeks after cessation of treatment . . . the patients who received spinal manipulative therapy experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in all major outcomes in contrast to the patients that received amitriptyline therapy, who reverted to baseline values.”
Boline et al. (1995), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
What to expect during a treatment for headaches
An appropriate interview and examination will be utilized to see if a causative factor, triggering mechanism, or pattern can be determined. If a cervicogenic cause, excessive tension or musculoskeletal origin, is determine to be likely than an appropriate treatment will be recommended.
Soft tissue, manual therapy tools
Excessive muscle tension in the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and sub occipitals is a common problem in the office worker and a primary target for treatment. We have several tools to target these muscles including targeted, hands on manual release (targeted massage), instrument assisted soft tissue therapy like Graston technique, cupping therapy, and dry needling. These are treatments that are designed to reduce the tension in these muscles.
Joint irritation is another likely mechanism for primary cervicogenic headaches, however we need another treatment tool to target the joints. Massage alone may help for muscle tension but does not benefit the joint irritation that is also seen. This is when a Chiropractor can help identify the irritated joint and provide a therapeutic adjustment or mobilization to desensitize the involved joint. This is often the joints higher up in the neck near the base of the skull.
A stiff upper back and mid back is another result of a high stress, desk job. Many people report feeling locked up or tight between the shoulder blades. This can result in a forward head carriage that further stresses the upper neck muscles and joints. Your Chiropractor can utilize mobilizations in your upper and mid back to improve alleviate that stiffness, help improve your posture, and alleviate the associated neck stress that comes with a forward head carriage.
Hopefully this brief article gives you a better understanding of your headaches and how a Chiropractor goes about treating them.
Ryan Davis, DC