Most of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced the pounding pain of an excruciating headache. Some are occasional, while others are frequent. Some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. In addition, most headache sufferers know no other way to achieve relief other than to pop a pill and hope the pain disappears, even if only temporarily. However, there is a better alternative.
New research shows that spinal manipulation, the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic may be an effective treatment option for most types of headaches, including the infamous tension headache, widely considered the most common headache type.
A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headaches than commonly prescribed medications.
Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulation and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
What can you do to overcome headaches? The ACA suggests the following:
1. Stretch frequently – If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
2. Exercise – Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to full, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
3. Avoid teeth clenching – The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results instress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the two joints that connect your haw to your skull, leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
4. Drink more water – at least 8-ounce glasses of water day Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches.
5. Avoid caffeine – Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and coca contain high levels of the stimulant, which is a known cause of headache pain.
6. Avoid high sugar foods – These foods can cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity to light noise, or abrupt movements.
7. Avoid alcohol – drinking alcoholic beverages – known diuretics, these drinks cause dehydration and therefore headache pain.