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Headaches and Migraines FAQs
Migraine and headache pain can be incredibly debilitating, causing intense throbbing that can last for hours or even days. While medication can sometimes help to relieve this pain, drugs cannot “cure” headaches and migraines. These medications may also come with some unpleasant side effects, including nausea. If you are searching for an alternative treatment to better manage your headache and migraine pain, chiropractic care may be able to help. Below, our Medford chiropractor Dr. Scott Stratton answers five of the most frequently asked questions about headache and migraine pain.
#1: What is causing my headaches?
Headaches are our bodies’ way of telling us that something is not quite right with the musculoskeletal system. While some headaches can be directly linked to obvious causes, like a head injury or concussion, many individuals struggle with headache pain that has no clear cause. Pinched nerves, especially in the neck, can often lead to headache problems. Tension headaches may be due to inordinate amounts of stress that cause us to clench our teeth and strain the neck muscles, which tugs on the vertebra and pulls them out of alignment.
#2: What causes migraine pain?
Migraine pain is caused by constricted blood vessels. While further research is necessary to precisely understand the role that different triggers play in the onset of migraine pain, initial findings suggest that changes in the brainstem and its interaction with the terminal nerve may be responsible. Spinal misalignments are also associated with poor communication between the brain and the central nervous system.
#3: How does Dr. Stratton treat headache pain?
The first step for treating headache pain is to identify the root cause. Spinal misalignments, stress, and lifestyle factors like nutrition all play a role. Dr. Stratton works closely with each patient to better understand the root causes driving his or her headache pain. This includes a full diagnostic exam to identify any underlying spinal misalignments that are compressing nearby nerves and triggering your pain.
#4: How do chiropractic adjustments help headache pain?
If your headache pain is due to an underlying spinal misalignment, chiropractic adjustments will help alleviate this pain by bringing proper alignment back to the spine. A misalignment in the cervical spine, for example, can compress nearby nerves and muscles. The RCPM muscle (also known as the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle) is often associated with headache pain. This pressure may cause the RCPM muscle to spasm, which in turn may trigger a tension or cluster headache. Restoring proper alignment to the spine relieves pressure on the RCPM muscle, which reduces the likelihood of a muscle spasm and accompanying headache.
#5: What lifestyle triggers are associated with headache pain?
Research shows that everything from low blood sugar and the sudden absence of caffeine to excessive eyestrain caused by computer use can affect blood flow to the brain. Certain foods, sensory stimuli, hormonal changes, and changes in sleep patterns have all been identified as migraine pain triggers.