Virtually everyone gets a headache from time to time. But for many people, headache pain is a chronic problem that returns with unwelcome intensity and frequency to undermine daily life. Chronic headaches can sap your energy, take you out of your normal routine, affect your work, and take a toll on your relationships.
If you’re tired of being sidelined by recurrent headaches, you’re not alone; we can help.
At Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center, our skilled team takes a holistic, multimodal approach to chronic headache pain to reduce its severity and occurrence — so you can spend more time pursuing your goals and less time worrying about pain relief.
Here, Dr. Lincoln German and Dr. Mikaela Foley discuss the headache types that tend to become chronic. They offer a few highly effective, noninvasive chiropractic solutions to ease your pain and keep it from returning so often.
Headache pain qualifies as chronic when it occurs at least 15 days a month and persists for at least three months. True chronic headaches are also primary headaches, meaning they’re triggered by a problem with the pain-sensitive structures of your head, including the chemical activity in the brain and the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels around the skull.
Secondary headaches, in contrast, are a symptom of a specific identifiable cause like illness (i.e., acute sinusitis, brain tumor), injury (i.e., concussion), or another factor (i.e., dehydration, lack of sleep, medication).
There are over 300 headache types, but only a few tend to become chronic. These include:
As the most common form of head pain, tension headaches affect both sides of the head, causing a mild to moderate tightening (not pulsing) band of pain as the muscles around your skull contract.
Known for generating moderate to severe pulsating or pounding pain on one or both sides of the head, migraines often produce other intense symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light, smell, and noise. They may last a few hours or days and are often highly disruptive.
This headache type usually comes on suddenly in people with no previous headache history. Within three days, they often become constant, causing mild to moderate pressing or tightening pain on one or both sides of the head.
Before developing a treatment plan for your chronic headaches, we thoroughly investigate the history, nature, and severity of your problem. In addition to pinpointing your type of headache, we look for potential triggers and exacerbating factors. These may include:
You may also find that certain foods or beverages (i.e., alcohol, caffeine, high-sodium foods) seem to trigger your headaches or make them worse. By identifying possible headache triggers, we can help you develop a detailed trigger avoidance plan.
Chiropractic care can be very effective for treating persistent headache pain, particularly when spinal misalignments, soft tissue imbalances, muscle tension, and postural dysfunction are part of the picture — as they often are. Our whole-person treatment approach may include the following:
Chronic headache pain is often rooted in a misalignment of the cervical (neck) spine. Gentle, hands-on chiropractic adjustments can correct the problem, restoring proper spinal alignment to alleviate nerve stress, ease muscle tension, and reduce headache severity and frequency.
Depending on the nature of your misalignment, a mechanical form of spinal manipulation called spinal decompression may also be a valuable treatment approach.
Another hands-on approach, massage therapy, use gentle rubbing and kneading motions to manipulate your skin, muscles, and connective tissues. Certain types of massage — such as trigger point therapy — are very effective for working out areas of chronic muscle tension that can lead to recurrent headaches.
Chronic poor posture — particularly the forward-head posture caused by frequent computer and smartphone use — can set the stage for chronic headaches. Postural rehabilitation, or identifying and correcting posture problems and using targeted stretches to reverse the muscle imbalances it creates, can often be a major step toward attaining long-lasting relief.
Cold laser therapy uses low-intensity light energy to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in the pain-sensitive structures of your head. As a holistic alternative to medication, this noninvasive approach provides safe, effective pain relief that lasts.
Ready to gain the upper hand over chronic headaches? We can help. Call or click online to schedule a visit at Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center in Manassas, Virginia, today.