Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Acupuncture and Headaches

Headaches are pain in the head to due to different causes. You may be familiar with some of the following associated factors: sinus obstruction, emotional stress, exercise, medications, or injuries. Headaches can fall into different categories. Common types of headaches include tension, cervicogenic, and migraine.

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Tension headaches are most commonly caused by extended periods of work or emotional stress. Patients who experience tension headaches usually experience mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head. The pain is usually described as constricting. Tension headaches are often continuous for weeks or months. There is a difference between an episodic tension headache, which will last from a few weeks to a few months and chronic tension headaches which last uninterrupted for 6 months and longer. People who are predisposed to getting tension headaches include women and those who are middle aged. Treatments include ibuprofen and anti-depressant medication.

Cervicogenic headaches can be caused by pain in the neck or spine that is referred to the head. Cervicogenic headaches are chronic headaches that start from the occipital region and upper cervical joints and is experienced in one or more areas of the face and head. The pain can be worsened by neck movement and posture, Cervicogenic headaches pain is moderate to severe and can last anywhere from an hour to weeks. Many times cervicogenic headaches go undiagnosed. Treatments include medications and steroid injections.

Migraines headaches are often associated with irritability , nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, or photophobia. Migraines are preceded by constriction on the arteries, with the resulting prodrome or “aura” in which visual symptoms, such as flashes of light or blind spots occur. Migraines can also happen suddenly without a prodrome. these are referred to as common migraines. Migraines commence with the dilation of the arteries following the constriction. Migraines are typically one sided headaches that are moderate to severe throbbing or pulsing pain and can last from 4-72 hours. Frequency of migraine episodes vary by individual. Many factors can trigger migraines including stress, changes in sleep patterns, changes in the environment, food and drinks. People who are predisposed to migraines include women, those with a family history, and those going through hormonal changes. Treatments include NSAIDS and anti-convulsant medications.

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Acupuncture has been proven to be a beneficial treatment for headache pain Due to the vascular nature of migraine headaches and the rebound effect of constant constriction and dilation of the vessels, it is preferred that local dilation does not occur. When we insert needles anywhere in the body, we increase blood flow and therefore we do not want to possibly further increase the migraine. Acupuncture points for headaches can be found on the head, neck and feet. When treating migraines, we will start with using points on the feet. Other treatments for headaches include Graston Technique, Massage Therapy, Chiropractic headache treatments.

Many patients find improvement when combining multiple types of treatment. Many types of treatment produce positive effects on decreasing headache frequency and intensity. People have less headaches per week and month. Both tension and migraine headaches improve with the combination of massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and Chiropractic manipulation.

Most patients feel the improvement within a few weeks. Many find they decrease their daily and rescue headache medication. Combinations of treatments can reduce or eliminate chronic headaches in people who thought they would have to live with the headaches forever.