Updated: May 14
You may not know that there are different types of headaches that one can suffer from, and there are different types of pain, pain patterns and different causes for each one. Lifestyle factors such as posture, physical exercise, nutrition, stress levels and hormonal imbalances play a huge role in the development of headaches.
A cluster headache is a severe pain that surrounds one eye and is sudden in nature and acute. It may be accompanied by a drooping eyelid, tearing of the eye, runny nose or redness not he same side of the head. These headaches are usually treated with oxygen and/or medications.
Migraines are an intense, debilitating headache that can multiple neurological symptoms. The sufferer is often sensitive to light and/or sound, and may feel nauseous and/or vomit. Usually there are triggers that can be identified such as hormonal imbalances, stress, exercise and certain foods and drinks. There are some medications that can help the severity of the migraine, but every migraine case is different and responds differently, looking at lifestyle factors can make a huge impact on the severity of migraines. A massive 4.9 million Australians suffer from migraines.
Looking down at our phones for an excessive amount of time during the day even has a commonly known name now - “text neck”.
As a result of poor ergonomics and poorly set-up work stations, poor posture is becoming the new “norm”. Looking down at our phones for an excessive amount of time during the day even has a commonly known name now - “text neck”.
Poor posture is leading to many developing joint misalignments in the cervical spine, resulting in muscle spasm, ligamentous tension and nerve irritation. Joint misalignments may also be a result of prior injuries, whiplash, poor sleeping conditions, etc. Chronic joint misalignments in the cervical spine can cause severe cervicogenic headaches, tension-type headaches, even eye strain.
Cervicogenic headaches may feel like a dullness or ache, occasionally the pain can intensify and begin to feel sharp or having a throbbing quality. They are usually located to one side, but can effect one side of the head, face, neck, shoulder. These headaches may have been previously diagnosed as migraines or tension-type headaches as the pain is very similar.
Poor posture has also been shown to cause tension-type headaches. Tension-type headaches are often caused by stress (physical, emotional and/or nutritional stress) and can by dull and non-throbbing in nature. It may feel dull, tight or intense pressure across your forehead, back of the head and/or neck. You may also have tenderness or tight muscles in your upper shoulders.
Research studies have proven that chiropractic adjustments to treat chronic headaches are safe and effective. A systemic review from 2001 has also shown that chiropractic manipulation can be more effective than massage in treating chronic headaches.
Here are five tips to correct your headaches:
SLEEP - We spend 7-8 hours in bed, so ensuring our mattress and pillow are both chiropractic approved and supportive of our spine and particularly our neck curvature is important. Ensuring our pillow and mattress are supportive can reduce the occurrence of joint misalignment and therefore relieve the headaches long-term.
STRETCHES - stretching the muscles of our neck and shoulders to relieve tension will also help chronic headaches.
ERGONOMICS - Correcting work station ergonomics, ensuring that you have an upright posture, your eyes line up with your computer, your shoulders are not rolled forward, your elbows line up with your desk and your entire spine is supported by your chair.
MOVEMENT - Movement, exercises and taking regularly timed breaks from computer and phone use, so you are not in a static position for a prolonged time will promote oxygen and blood flow and therefore joint movement.
CHIROPRACTIC - Booking in for a chiropractic consult at The Myéline Clinic for a full examination and assessment of your posture and spine. Dr. Melissa utilises a range of techniques to help relieve chronic headaches such as gentle manual adjustments, soft tissue therapy, trigger point therapy, taping and stretches. As well as in-clinic treatments, you will be provided with a plan for care at-home including rehabilitative postural exercises, stretches, and ergonomic advice for long-term correction and relief. To book an appointment click here to get in contact with us.
Chaibi A, Benth JS, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache: a study protocol of a single-blinded placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. Springerplus. 2015;4:779. doi: 10.1186/s40064-015-1567-5.
Bronfort G, Assendelft WJ, Evans R, Haas M, Bouter L. Efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic headache: a systematic review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001 Sep;24(7):457-66. PMID: 11562654.
Chaibi A, Benth JŠ, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine: a three-armed, single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial. Eur J Neurol. 2017 Jan;24(1):143-153. doi: 10.1111/ene.13166. Epub 2016 Oct 2. PMID: 27696633; PMCID: PMC5214068.
Chaibi A, Benth JŠ, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Adverse events in a chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial for migraineurs. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2017 Jun;29:66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.03.003. Epub 2017 Mar 14. Erratum in: Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2017 Oct;31:21. PMID: 28324697.