There’s a good chance that you, or someone you know, suffers from headaches. While there are several causes of headaches, research shows that problems in the cervical region of the spine cause most headaches. In fact, over 70% of all headaches arise from problems with the cervical spine and its related structures. Anyone suffering from headaches can attest to the impact of headaches on daily life. Our goal at Family First Chiropractic is to help get to the root cause of your headaches.
When trying to relieve your headaches, it is essential to determine what might be causing them.
- Emotional Stressors – like anxiety, depression, or mental stress
- Medical Conditions – like high blood pressure and infections
- Physical or Mechanical Stress – such as injury, dysfunction in your spine, nerve irritation, tight muscles, or trigger points
- Environmental Stressors – like weather or allergies
In our office, our primary focus is on the physical or mechanical causes of headaches, but we can also help you with lifestyle choices that contribute to your headaches. Every person that comes into our office has endured multiple stressors, so determining the root cause of the problem is vital in determining the solution. If your headaches occur because your spine is not moving correctly or is out of alignment, your headaches will not go away until this issue is resolved. Chiropractors are the only professionals trained to detect and correct this condition known as subluxation. Just remember that while headaches are common, they are NOT normal. Your headaches are your body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong.
Getting checked by a chiropractor is the first step to determining whether your headaches come from a misalignment in your spine. When you have a new patient appointment in our office, you start by sitting down with the doctor to share your story and how your headaches are impacting your life. The doctor takes time to listen to your story and asks questions to better understand all the factors contributing to your current condition. The doctor will then perform a series of chiropractic evaluations and may also decide to take X-rays as an additional diagnostic tool.
In our office, we utilize digital X-ray technology. Our digital X-rays allow the doctor to assess the structure of your entire spine to determine if spinal misalignments could be contributing to your headaches. The doctors look at the alignment of the bones as well as the disc spaces between the vertebrae. It is important to know exactly what is going on in your spine before starting chiropractic care.
When analyzing your examinations and X-rays, the doctor’s primary goal is to locate any subluxations in the spine. Subluxation is when a bone is misaligned. This misalignment puts pressure on the nerve fibers exiting near the misaligned bone or bones. The goal of chiropractic care is to correct those subluxations, which will relieve the pressure from the nerves so the body can restore itself to optimal function. If subluxations cause your headaches, you will not get better until those misalignments are addressed.
How Our Headache Treatment Plan Works
1. Be Heard
Quality time with a health professional, so you can be truly heard and understood, isn’t all that common. We understand that. This is why, on your first visit, you will meet with one of our doctors and share your health concerns and struggles so we can understand exactly why you are here and what you want to achieve. The doctor will determine what testing is necessary to find the source of your health concerns and answer the biggest question of all: Can Chiropractic Care Help?
2. Discover How We Can Help You
Every new patient should feel like they are making the right decision for their health. This is why our doctors explain what they are looking for in the testing, so our patients know exactly what is going on, instead of just being a bystander. We will share everything we discover from your testing and exams, including if we can help you. In the unfortunate event that we cannot help, our doctors will provide any additional resources they feel would be appropriate to assist you.
3. Achieve Your Health Goals Together
Whether you just want to be out of pain, or you want to get back to golfing without limitations, or you are desperate to get a restful night’s sleep, we will be with you every step of the way. We’ll achieve your goals
How We Care for Headaches in West Omaha, NE
Our doctors utilize the Gonstead Technique of chiropractic care, which involves an assessment based on five specific criteria to detect the presence of subluxation in your spine.
- Visualization – The chiropractor is an expert in noticing subtle changes in posture and movement, which can indicate subluxation. Movement and postural examinations may be a part of your initial visit.
- Instrumentation – The chiropractor utilizes an instrument called a nervoscope. This two-pronged instrument is guided down the length of your spine and detects any uneven distributions of heat, which indicate inflammation and nerve pressure—another indicator of subluxation.
- Static Palpatio – The chiropractor will feel your spine in a stationary position, trying to identify any abnormal texture, tightness, or swelling in the muscles. If there are differences in the tissues of the back, this can be an indicator of subluxation.
- Motion Palpation – Again, the chiropractor will feel your spine, but this time while moving and bending it at various angles. Motion palpation allows the doctor to determine how easily each segment of the spine moves. If movement is restricted in a specific direction, subluxation is present.
- X-Ray Analysis – X-rays enable the doctor to see the entire structure of your spine. By analyzing X-rays, the doctor can evaluate posture and joint and disc integrity. Evidence of degeneration in X-rays also helps the doctor gauge how long misalignments have been in your spine. X-ray analysis can aid the doctor in ruling out any pathologies contributing to your current condition.
By utilizing these five assessments, our doctors can see the situation from a larger scope, which will help them to determine a plan for correction.
What are some of the potential causes of subluxation? Major traumas like car accidents and sports injuries can cause subluxations. The birth process is often the first opportunity for spinal misalignment to occur. Dr. Godfrey Gutmann, a German physician, studied over 1000 newborns shortly after birth. He discovered that over 80% of the infants in the study had suffered trauma to their cervical spine, which resulted in vertebral subluxation. Not only are significant traumas a cause for subluxation, but misalignments can also be the result of a variety of factors in our daily lives, including how we move, how we eat, and how we think. Because of this, our doctors often recommend additional at-home work to patients to aid in the healing process.
Movement is the key to spinal health. When your spine is out of alignment, it will try to protect itself by tightening muscles in the weakened areas of the spine. Your daily activities and stressors can cause you to hold tension in different areas of your body, which can restrict spinal movement. Because of this, the doctor may recommend massage as an additional component of the healing process.
Another key contributing factor to headaches can be what you are putting into your body. For some people, certain foods can trigger headaches, while other foods can help decrease pain and even support the healing process. If you are a patient in our office suffering from headaches, the doctor will likely make recommendations for your nutrition based on the findings from your initial visit. This could include supplements to take and foods to avoid.
Check Out Our Online Reviews
Common Types of Headaches in West Omaha, NE
There are many different types of headaches. The kind of headache you suffer from can depend on a few factors, including triggers in daily physical postures, what you are putting into your body, mental and emotional stressors, and misalignments in your spine. No matter the type of headache you are experiencing, it is important to remember that while it may be common, it is not normal for your body to send these signals and function this way.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. In fact, 70% of the population has reported experiencing a tension headache monthly. This type of headache presents mild to moderate pain that feels like a tight band around your head. It can be caused by muscle tightness, specific trigger points, and spinal dysfunction.
The World Health Organization places migraines as one of the top 10 most debilitating medical illnesses on earth. 1 in 4 households in America has a member who suffers from migraines. Migraines usually occur on one side of the head and can cause a throbbing or pulsing sensation. The intensity of the pain can also create a sensitivity to light and sound. Many migraine sufferers can experience nausea and even vomiting.
Another common headache type is a sinus headache. These headaches feel like pressure around your eyes, cheeks, and forehead. The pain can worsen when you bend forward or lie down. Often, sinus headaches occur in conjunction with a sinus infection or inflammation from allergies.
Rebound headaches, sometimes referred to as “Medical Overuse Headaches,” affect 5% of the population. This type of headache happens in response to the chronic use of medications to treat headaches. With a rebound headache, the pain is typically worse in the morning.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you see a chiropractor for headaches?
Because headaches are among the most common nervous system disorders, it is important to get checked by a chiropractor. Chiropractors check for subluxations (misalignments of the spine) which put pressure on the nervous system. If subluxations are present in your spine, they could be the source of your headaches. The only way to know is to get checked.
How can I relieve my headaches?
Many people find stretching, massage, meditation, hydration, rest, and chiropractic adjustments can help relieve headaches. The only way to relieve yourself from headaches for good is to get to the root cause of the problem. If spinal misalignments are interfering with your nervous system, getting the misalignments corrected could be the solution for long-term relief.
Can getting your neck adjusted help with headaches?
If misalignments in your neck are putting pressure on your nervous system, getting them corrected by receiving chiropractic adjustments could help relieve your headaches. Misalignments in your lower or middle back could also cause pressure to radiate upward in the spine and result in a headache. Therefore, it is crucial to have your entire spine assessed.
What is a natural way to relieve tension headaches?
Chiropractic care is a natural approach to headache relief. A series of adjustments can help to remove pressure from the nervous system by realigning spinal bones into a healthy position. A cold compress, or icing, is a natural way to relieve tension or inflammation as well. Placing ice at the skull’s base or bottom of the neck can help reduce inflammation that misalignments may cause in those areas.
Is massage good for headaches?
Massage therapy can loosen up tight muscles, allowing the spine to move more freely and the bones to move back into their optimal position more easily. However, massage alone may not be the answer. Your body is always trying to protect itself, so if subluxation remains in the spine, the muscles will ultimately tighten again to protect that weakness. Chiropractic care can help assure the bones are in proper alignment, alleviating the body’s need to tighten its muscles around a weakened joint.