The Causes of Headaches: Tension, Migraine and Cluster
Headaches present differently in people. Some may experience pain behind their eyes, only in one part of the head or a pounding sensation throughout the whole head. The pain may range from dull to sharp and last a few hours to a few days. Tension headaches are the most common and often feel like a tight band around the head. Subluxation in the upper back and neck is the most common cause of tension headaches. The top cervical vertebrae lose its normal position causing the small muscle rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPM) to go into spasm. Its tendon pulls at the dura mater and causes the headache. Another cause of tension headaches is a whiplash injury to the levator muscle on the side of the neck.
Migraines are intense and often associated with sensitivity to light and nausea. These throbbing headaches are caused by a constriction of the blood vessels. Once the blood vessels dilate, there is a quick increase in blood pressure inside the head. Every time the heart beats, another shock wave is sent through the carotid arteries in the neck and up into the brain.
Although cluster headaches are typically short, they can be excruciating. Unlike migraines, cluster headaches are much more common in men. These tend to occur at night, but cluster headaches can also occur four times a day and over a period of a few days. Like migraines, these headaches are due to the dilation of blood vessels in the brain and cause increased localized pressure.
Chiropractic Care for Headaches in Asheville, NC
The first visit to our Asheville chiropractor will include a personal consultation, examination and possible an X-ray to help diagnose the problem. Once the cause and type of headache are determined, a tailored treatment plan will be outlined. A typical treatment plan may include spinal manipulation of the cervical spine, manual therapy for trigger point pressure release of the upper trapezius muscles and occipital muscles, exercise and nutritional counseling.
There are many types of manipulation approaches for the cervical spine. The Diversified technique is a form of high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust over the joints to restore normal range of motion. The Gonstead adjustment is similar to the Diversified technique but entails body positioning in a specially designed chair or table, such as the cervical chair. The Thompson technique is a traditional HVLA adjustment, which has specialized treatment tables with a drop to facilitate the movement of the joint. It’s sometimes used in addition to other chiropractic adjustment techniques.
If you’re suffering from headaches, be sure to call Lawson Chiropractic in Asheville, NC at 828-274-8880. According to studies published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, spinal manipulative therapy is very effective for the treatment of headaches, and we have had many successes with patients who suffer from migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches.