Headaches & Migraines

headache-imgA headache, medically known as cephalalgia, is defined as a pain in the head that may be caused by muscle contraction(s) on the scalp, neck, or face, dilation of cerebral arteries and vessels in the head, insufficient oxygen, brain swelling that stretches the connective tissue of the brain; specific nerves of the face and head may cause headaches, and inflamed sinuses may also be a cause of headaches.

Headaches are categorized in two ways- primary and secondary. Primary headaches are not caused by an underlying disease; there are four primary headaches: tension, migraine, cervicogenic, and cluster. More than 90% of headaches are primary, with secondary headaches accounting for less than 10%. Secondary headaches are not typically treated by chiropractors, as they usually come about secondary to a major disease or illness such as brain tumors, hematomas, cancer, head injury, infection, etc.

Chiropractors can typically provide treatment for primary headache relief. Following is a brief description of the primary headaches.

  • Tension headache: often brought on by stress, overexertion, other external factors. The typical tension headache is described as a tightening around the head and neck and is dull and achy. 90% of adults experience this type of headache.
  • Migraine headache: intense throbbing pain occurring on one side of the head, behind the eye. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and aversion to light (photophobia), sound, and movement. Migraines often are triggered by food items, such as red wine, chocolate, and cheese. For women, there may also be a hormonal connection since migraines often tend to occur at specific points in the menstrual cycle.
  • Cervicogenic headache: originates in the shoulders, neck and spine of the body. When any misalignment, spasm, or injury occurs in these parts of the body a cervicogenic headache may occur. Symptoms may vary, however, one clinical feature is that pain starts at the base of the neck and moves up to the head.
  • Cluster headache: come in groups or clusters lasting weeks or months. The pain is severe, but the attack is short, lasting fifteen minutes to four hours; pain centers around one eye and the eye may be inflamed and/or watery. Cluster headaches are accompanied by nasal congestion on the affected side of the face. These headaches may strike in the middle of the night, and often occur at the same time each day (often several times a day). Many patients have a history of heavy smoking and drinking.

Chiropractic Treatment for Headaches

Chiropractic treatment consists of finding spinal misalignments/subluxations and correcting them. Montclair Chiropractor, Dr. Gary Eshanov is trained to detect spinal misalignments via palpation and various imaging studies (x-ray, MRI, and CT). Once the levels of subluxations are determined, adjustments of the neck and spine are performed. Nerves control vascular system tension, and chiropractic adjustments reduce irritation of the nervous system beginning with its roots in the spine, also improving vascular flow. Adjustments performed by a chiropractor may take pressure off of a joint and/or nerve, thus removing interference and reducing or completely eliminating headaches. The best part of chiropractic treatment is that it is natural, non-invasive, and requires no medication.

If you are looking for headache relief or migraine relief, call Dr. Gary Eshanov at (973) 900-2660 or schedule an appointment online!