Headaches And Migraines Specialist
Chiropractic treatment is an effective option for tenion and ‘cervicogenic’ headaches that originate in the neck, and can also be a valuable ‘co-treatment’ for migraines. Dr. Forster and Dr. Forrest at Austin Chiropractic Associates in Austin, Texas can help treat your headaches and migraines. Contact our office to learn more.
Why do I keep getting headaches?
Tension and cervicogenic (“coming from the neck”) headaches stem from muscle tension and stress build-up in your neck. If you sit at work all day with your head forward and in one position for long periods of time (think about how long you sit in front of a computer!), especially if you don’t exercise much, your neck muscles can easily tense up, causing excessive stress to the neck, leaving you with a blinding headache. These tend to be classified as more of ‘mechanical’ type headaches.
Certain spinal nerves in the neck are involved in many cervicogenic headaches. Nerves are messenger or signal transmitters (think electrical wires) that allow communication between the brain (think computer) and the rest of the body. The nerves emerge in pairs from the spinal cord, coming out both left and right sides from in between the cervical bones or vertebrae. The upper nerves (called C1, C2 and/or C3) may be involved in the development of cervicogenic headaches because these nerves supply and enable function (movement) and sensation of the head and neck. Nerve compression can cause inflammation and therefore head pain.
A headache may also result from irritated osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear degeneration), a damaged disc, neck strains or whiplash injuries that irritate the neck structures, including the cervical (neck) nerves. The joints of the neck and supporting soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, and muscles) can all contribute to the development of a headache. These tend to be classified as more of an ‘injury’ type headaches.
Some types of headaches are caused by something in your environment. Insomnia, lights, noises, stress, and even certain foods, all can trigger pain in your head. Migraines or cluster headaches can also come from chemical imbalances. These headaches tend to be more part of a syndrome (or collection) of many different factors.
What kind of treatments are available?
Accurate diagnosis is very important and a priority for the doctors at Austin Chiropractic Associates to direct and suggest appropriate treatment interventions. Treatment depends upon the types of headaches that you experience. Mechanical and injury based headaches can certainly be helped with manipulation, manual therapy/massage techniques and specific movement and stretching exercises. The chemical or syndrome headaches are usually helped with a team effort of medical providers, with chiropractic assisting with the mechanical component of the problem.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
One of the best things you can do to help your medical team put together a treatment plan for you is to keep a headache journal. Start tracking your headaches before your first visit. Make notes as to what you were doing when the headache occurred, as well as any stressors (like rainy weather) in your environment. Write down what you ate. If you get a headache most mornings when you don’t get that second cup of coffee, for instance, lack of caffeine may trigger your headaches. All of this information helps your dedicated medical professional diagnose and treat your headaches, so you don’t have to live another day in pain.
Consult Simon Forster, DC, and Brian N. Forrest, DC, of Austin Chiropractic Associates, if you suffer from frequent headaches or migraine pain. They help residents living in the area around Austin, Texas find resolution to chronic, sometimes debilitating, head pain.