Tag: pain

chiropractic for headaches

Can Headaches Be Helped With Chiropractic Care?

Do you ever get headaches? If so, you’re not alone.

Nine out of ten people get headaches of some variety….frequent, infrequent, chronic, migraine and sadly, some completely debilitating. It’s a very common ailment.

People try lots of things to rid themselves of headaches, including taking various medications, lying down and simply powering through them until they go away. I’ve had patients ask me if chiropractic care can help their headaches – thankfully, the answer is YES!

But before I explain how, let’s start by talking about the common triggers for headaches.

 

What’s Causing Your Headache

Headaches can be caused or triggered by the environment, stress…even the foods you eat.

Environmental triggers can vary. Noises, lights, smells can all create conditions ripe for headaches to develop. Be aware of these factors when you get headaches and see if you can pinpoint your triggers (it will help you avoid them in the future).

Stress is known to create many health ailments in the body – so minimizing your stress levels by using relaxation techniques can help. Yoga, meditation and exercise are all proven ways people successfully keep their stress at bay.

Muscle tension is a big contributor to headaches these days – especially with how sedentary people are these days. Spending hours in front of a computer screen, fixed in one position and having poor posture can increase joint irritation and muscle tension, causing head and neck aches.

Certain foods, insomnia, dehydration, teeth-clenching and blood sugar changes are also headache contributors. Even excessive exercise can cause a headache! 95 percent of headaches can be traced back to some kind of trigger. Only 5 percent are warning signs of some other physical problem. So knowing your triggers and avoiding them at all costs is the best preventative.

 

How Chiropractic Care Can Help

The research supports chiropractic care, in particular, for certain types of headaches. A 2011 JMPT study found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches.

Migraine headaches are now considered a neurological disease, which results in a severe throbbing recurring pain, usually on one side of the head. A headache can be accompanied by visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.

Cervicogenic headaches, for those unfamiliar with the term, result in “referred pain” or pain perceived as occurring in a part of the body other than its true source. A cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache caused by another illness or physical issue. Its cause is a disorder of the cervical spine and the bony structures or soft tissues of the neck.

Keep in mind that chiropractic care is beneficial for prevention of headache episodes rather than the alleviation of symptoms once a chronic episode has begun.

When I work with patients, I am concerned with helping to correct any neuromusculoskeletal sources of a headache. This includes nerves, muscles and bones of the body. I perform a spinal exam to assess whether chiropractic care could alleviate the pain. I look for whether or not the headache may be caused, or aggravated by any misaligned vertebrae in the spine (subluxation) as that could be creating undue nerve interference.

If I determine that chiropractic care will help, I’ll recommend it. The type of spinal manipulation, frequency of manipulations and duration of treatment can vary. Any reputable chiropractor will take into consideration guidelines, his/her clinical experience and evidence-based findings.

The evidence for using spinal manipulation to relieve pain for patients with a tension-type headache remains questionable. While chiropractic care may help, we don’t have enough evidence to say this definitively.

 

Other Things Your Chiropractor May Recommend

As I mentioned earlier, the causes of headaches are varied – and by taking proactive steps, you may avoid having them altogether! I often provide my patients with nutritional advice and recommend dietary changes and the addition of B complex vitamins. As I’ve written about before, posture is a big part of avoiding all kinds of pain in the body – and focusing on improvements to posture and utilizing ergonomic supports can help stave off certain types of headaches. I often recommend relaxation and/or exercise as a lifestyle change to reduce the frequency of headaches my patients’ experience. Exercise, in particular, can stimulate the circulation of blood to the head and help to maintain neuromusculoskeletal flexibility.

RELATED: What Vitamins Should I Take – Getting the Essentials

 

Final Thoughts

Non-drug treatments may be the first choice for many patients – especially if they have a poor tolerance to medications, have experienced side effects or simply aren’t getting any relief from pharmacology. As well, if a patient is pregnant, nursing or simply has an aversion to medication, spinal manipulations from a licensed chiropractor may be a good option.

If you think you might benefit from chiropractic care – let me know! My staff can schedule an appointment where we can do a thorough exam and decide if chiropractic care may help with your headaches.

Dr. Sharman

prevent pain while playing a sport

How to prevent pain while playing a sport (it’s all in how you prep!)

Golf, basketball, tennis, softball….these and other sports are fulfilling hobbies for adults.

You don’t have to do sports as an elite athlete or professional to get the benefits of staying physically fit while developing life skills such as teamwork, leadership and dedication.

But whether you are a pro or hobbyist, we want you to be able to play your chosen sport with as little pain or injury as possible. Staying pain-free and uninjured is critical – for enjoyment as an amateur or for your livelihood if it is your profession.

So how do you stay a step ahead…and prevent pain while playing a sport? Here are four preventative strategies we recommend – and our role in each of them.

 

Condition before you start playing

It is critical to condition yourself ahead of time before jumping into a sport. A person can’t just throw themselves into a new sport without gradually conditioning the body to develop strength, flexibility, speed, endurance and the skills unique to the sport.

Start by getting a sports physical before you begin playing your sport. At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we are able to assess and correct your faulty movement patterns. Every athlete has a weak link somewhere that can make them more prone to injury. So, we’ll help you identify yours. Improving these weak links or poor movement patterns can go a long way in helping you stay well and injury-free.

Next, develop your core strength and work on your breathing.  Believe it or not, an athlete’s core is involved in just about every action, stabilizes the spine and pelvis and providing a firm anchor for the extremities. Breathing correctly matters too! Proper movement of the diaphragm stabilizes the body and prevents injury by creating stabilizing intra-abdominal pressure in 360 degrees. At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we have processes that evaluate the breath and determine if there are deficiencies in intra-abdominal pressure that could leave you vulnerable to injury or pain – please take advantage of this!

Finally, develop a habit for both a static stretch and a dynamic warm-up to do before you participate in your sport. Studies have shown that the dynamic warm-up is even more important than stretching for injury prevention. It warms up the muscles and prepares them for the activity coming next. We like some of these pre-exercise warmup ideas from Men’s Fitness.

prevent pain while playing a sport

 

Make sure you have the right footgear

Another critical component of playing sports pain-free is wearing custom-made foot orthotics. Your feet are your foundation, after all. Pronation, arch collapse or even unsupported high arches can leave you vulnerable to pain and injury. In our office, we do a 3D foot scan to assess the condition of your feet and prescribe Foot Levelers orthotics when needed. Foot Levelers has done research showing positive effects of athletes wearing orthotics during their sport. From reducing football injuries, creating some improvement of vertical leap and improving balance and proprioception in golfers, orthotics have been shown to have positive effects for athletes.

It is no secret that most professional athletes and Olympians are routinely treated by a chiropractor. And no wonder – seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis helps to achieve optimal function and performance of an athlete. Chiropractors are uniquely trained to looks at biomechanics, nervous system function, balance and posture. If an athlete does experience pain, chiropractic is a great way to quickly get the person out of pain naturally and effectively.

Getting connected with a chiropractor before you begin playing a sport or have a sports-related injury is a smart move. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots said, “Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.”

 

Fuel your body properly

You may not realize this but nutrition is critical in staying fit and pain-free. It starts with proper hydration and electrolyte balance to prevent muscles from going into spasms and generating cramps and strains. But proper nutrition is also essential in maintaining strength, speed and endurance during play. If you do end up in pain after playing your sport, there are many ways to turn down inflammatory pathways with food and supplement protocols. Tumeric and Omega 3 fish oils are great for reducing inflammation. Also, we actually have a way of testing your Inflammation Index through a finger prick test and can use the results to make a plan for reducing your inflammation.  Just ask us about it.

 

Move in other ways

Our last preventative strategy is to find ways to move your body in ways that aren’t the same as the repetitive movements of your chosen sport. Anytime you do a motion over and over again, you run the risk of injury. Variety of movement is important to mitigate this risk. Take a yoga class once a week, get together with some friends for a friendly game of softball or kickball or go for a hike on the weekend. Just do physical activity that is different from your normal sport. And remember that everyone needs a rest day so that the body can heal and restore itself.

It may be impossible to go through a season of sports with absolutely no pain or injury, but there you can lessen your odds for an injury, how much pain you will be in and how long you will be in pain. Just follow some of our preventative strategies. And maybe just maybe, you can get through your season completely pain-free!

 

Dr. Sharman