When Are Simple Headaches Not So Simple?

Headaches are big business. For the drug companies, that is.

Approximately 10 million Americans suffer daily headaches, and 50 million have headaches often enough to seek medical care. Approximately 23 million Americans suffer from migraines. Billions of dollars are spent each year on Aleve and Motrin for tension headaches and Imitrex for migraines.

But all that money might just as well be poured down a hole in the ground, because the statistics haven't changed in almost 20 years. Approximately one out of every six Americans suffers from headaches.

Tension headaches are most common, caused by muscle spasm in the neck and shoulders, stress, and even eye strain. The dull, pounding pain may be severe, and there may be nausea. Migraines are even more debilitating, and may be preceded by an "aura" - visual symptoms such as flashing lights or loss of portions of a visual field.

Headaches, although common, should never be taken for granted. People suffering headaches should, at some point, have a physical examination to rule out underlying problems such as high blood pressure.

Importantly, an unusual headache, accompanied by brand-new symptoms, should be evaluated by a physician immediately. A sudden, severe headache, "like nothing I ever had before", needs immediate attention. If you've never thrown up as a result of a headache, and suddenly you are, you need to see a physician. An unusual, unexpected level in the increase of headache pain needs immediate attention. Any of these situations could be caused by a serious underlying problem, and an MRI is usually necessary.

Chiropractic treatment may be of benefit for many people suffering with tension headaches and even migraines. A chiropractic physician will perform a complete physical examination, which may include x-rays. Underlying causes of headaches are ruled out. If a medical condition is suspected, the patient may be referred to the appropriate specialist.

Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a gentle procedure that reduces muscle tension and increases spinal mobility. Neck and shoulder muscles are freed from being held in fixed positions, resulting in increased circulation, improved nutrition, and more efficient muscle activity. The frequency and intensity of tension headaches may improve noticeably. Migraine headaches may improve as well.

Regular exercise and a balanced diet are very important in the treatment of headaches. Exercise improves all aspects of muscle function and improves circulation. Improved cardiovascular function means more blood is flowing to neck and shoulder muscles, bringing oxygen and nutrients and removing irritants such as lactic acid.

A balanced diet ensures that neck and shoulder muscles are getting the energy sources, vitamins, and minerals they need to work properly. A balanced diet in combination with regular exercise also results in weight loss, removing unnecessary mechanical stress in the form of excess pounds.

Headaches are usually a symptom of being out-of-balance. Exercise, balanced nutrition, and chiropractic care can help restore balance to our highly stressed lives.

1"Hospital Treats Headache Suffers". The New York Times, 12/25/88.
2Source: National Headache Foundation - www.headaches.org
3Source: Yale Medical Group - www.ymghealthinfo.org

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"I struggled with back pain for 4 years prior to seeking help for my Scoliosis. I decided after visiting Dr. Breidenbach that it was worth the financial commitment and time dedication to go through the CLEAR scoliosis treatment. My pain throughout the 4 years was more of an extreme discomfort and occasional immobilization from immense pain spikes. My biggest problems occurred when I was on my feet for long periods of time, sitting for too long, and any type of consecutive lifting. It was emotionally draining because no matter what stretches, exercises or methods I tried, nothing seemed to work.
My pain level now, after completing the 4 month treatment program and continuing my at-home protocol, is extremely low and very manageable. The only time I experience discomfort is after very long days on my feet, which still only results in minor soreness. I am so much happier and less stressed about everyday activities, and can do so much more than before. My Cobb angle also improved from 13.8 degrees down to 4 degrees (71% improvement).
I would suggest the CLEAR scoliosis Center of La Crosse to anyone that experiences pain and dysfunction with scoliosis. The whole staff was extremely kind and supportive, while also maintaining a high level of professionalism. I am so happy to have a normal life without the constant annoyance and discomfort of pain from scoliosis.

Megan