Many things contribute to headaches, so headaches may require a number of treatments. Central to your problem may be spinal misalignment, which can set in motion other physical problems. Your doctor of chiropractic may use spinal adjustments to help treat your problem. Your chiropractor may also use related treatments to relieve and prevent your headaches. A few simple lifestyle changes, such as good posture, can also help.

Spinal Adjustments

Spinal adjustments reduce pain by decreasing the pressure on your nerves caused by misalignment, and by relieving muscle spasm. They improve your range of motion. They also help release natural pain relievers in your body. Most misalignments happen over time, so you may need regular visits for a while to treat the problem.

Related Treatments

Your chiropractor may recommend one or more of these treatments:

  • Trigger point therapy: Your chiropractor may apply pressure on trigger points (small, precise areas of pain) to relieve muscle spasm and pain.

  • Ice: Ice reduces swelling in the joints and muscles of your neck.

  • Ultrasound: Painless sound waves reduce pain and swelling in your joints and muscles. Ultrasound can also improve blood circulation.

  • Traction: A sling placed around the back of your neck and chin gently releases pressure on your joints and nerves, relaxes muscles, and may help to relieve pain.

  • Moist heat: A moist towel wrapped around your neck and shoulders relaxes your muscles.

  • Electrical impulses cause muscles to contract gently and automatically. This aids circulation and may relieve pain.

Self-Care

During a headache, these tips may help you feel better:

  • Use ice on your neck or temple for 10 minutes at a time, if recommended.

  • Use moist heat on your neck for 10 minutes at a time, if recommended.

  • Give yourself a massage on the back of your shoulders and neck. If you can, ask a friend to gently massage your neck and shoulders.

  • If you have a migraine: Rest during the headache. If possible, lie down. Try not to bend over, as this may increase your pain. Some people find that drinking fluids with caffeine, such as coffee or tea, helps to lessen migraine pain.

Preventing Headaches

To help prevent headaches:

  • Watch your posture when you sit, stand, and move. Keep your spine aligned.

  • Get regular exercise, such as walking, to improve your circulation and your health.

  • Do any exercises your chiropractor recommends.

  • Learn techniques for relaxing and reducing your stress.

  • Get plenty of sleep each night.

Copyright: 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Take a Personalized Health Test

Did You Know?

View Source

Migraine headaches often are accompanied by other symptoms.