Written by San Francisco Chiropractor, Dr. Ed Camp.
There is more than one kind of headache--from the dull, throbbing to the fully debilitating pain. Some people get them occasionally, while others experience them almost daily. The fact is, nine out of ten Americans gets headaches and odds are you are one of them.
The vast majority of mild to moderate headache sufferers have adopted the typical tuck and roll, grin and bear it, or pop a pill and hope the pain goes away. For many of us that seems to work, however, there is a better alternative with fewer side effects.
The Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, released a study in 2001 that found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for cervicogenic headaches. There are other studies that state eighty percent of headaches are of the cervicogenic variety. The Duke study also stated that Manipulative Therapy has fewer side effects and longer lasting relief for tension type headaches than medications prescribed by allopathic providers.
A similar study in 1995, in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, found that not only was Chiropractic effective treatment for headaches, but those who ceased Chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced sustained benefits compared with those who took medication. This is pretty compelling evidence that there is an alternative to the pill popping model that is commonly our current medical approach.
One of the particular offenders in cervicogenic headaches is posture. There are MANY activities that degrade our posture such as sitting in front of a computer, like I’m doing right now, for instance. Other things like reading, typing, and slouching in front of the TV. If you do these types of things try to move around every thirty minutes. Extend the neck backwards letting the weight of your head stretch the front of your neck (this feels VERY….. not so good while you are in that position, but it provides a lot of relief when you are done.) Side to side stretching can help as well, but do NOT roll your head in a circle, as this is not conducive to the joint mechanics of the cervical spine.
Long and short of it, if you are a chronic headache sufferer, there are better alternatives to pill popping and these have been proven to have longer sustainable results as well. Do yourself a favor and try Chiropractic if you’ve been living with headaches. Your body will thank you.
As always, thanks for reading. Dr. Camp can be reached in his San Francisco Chiropractic Office at 415-922-2225.