Headaches

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0-15% of the population suffer with headaches. Headaches cause the sufferer debilitating symptoms that often results in them having time off work or not being able to carry out daily activities.

There are many different types of headache, but the most severe and most commonly treated are migraines and tension headaches.

Migraines
It is still not clear exactly what occurs in the body to cause a migraine. The main thought is that blood vessel in the head change diameter leading to a reduction in blood flow or that there is restriction to the upper neck vertebra resulting in nerve irritation and migraine symptoms.

Most migraine suffers experience their first attack in their early 20’s and women suffer three times more then men.
Common symptoms of migraine include unilateral, moderate to severe pain with other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, change in vision, sensory changes and light and sound sensitivity.
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms for the first time it is important that you seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Tension headaches
These are a result of stress causing tense muscles in the back of the neck. This can be due to emotional stress, work stress, anxiety and environmental factors.

Tension headaches create a dull pain on both sides of the head that can last for a long time. Tension headaches are often tolerated by the patient and they may suffer each day with pain.

Treatment
Chiropractic treatment is not like taking an aspirin, a temporary measure to mask the pain. If headaches are a persistent problem, a chiropractor will take a full case history and perform an appropriate examination to determine the source of pain. Once the information has been obtained they can then give a treatment plan specific to your needs.

Gentle Chiropractic mobilisation and manipulation of the neck, deep tissue work, muscle strengthening and stretching exercises are performed and self-help advice given to sufferers. Posture correction and nutritional advice can often help prevent the frequent return of headaches.

Unfortunately a lot of over the counter medication is only effective in reducing the pain of attacks and rarely reduces their frequency.

Self Help
• Make sure that you do not sleep on your front – this causes your neck and spine to twist
• Cut out ‘trigger’ foods one at a time until you find which ones are aggravating the problem. E.g. Chocolate, red wine, cheese, tomatoes, processed food, MSG
• Relax in a quiet environment

In the event of an attack
• Drink lots of water ( 2-3 glasses should suffice)
• Lie down and try to rest

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If you have back pain, neck pain, sciatica, headaches, leg pain, shoulder pain we would love to help you. Give Dr Luke Mulvihill a ring or email us. We are based in Crawley West Sussex UK.

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