If you’re like most people, when you get a headache, your gut reaction is to find relief in the medicine cabinet. More specifically, you look for relief from a pill, the magic bullet that gets rid of pain.
Part of our job is to introduce you to treatments that you may not have previously considered. Both chiropractic and acupuncture are natural alternatives to treating headaches without the side effects of some over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Before treatment, an accurate assessment of the type of headache you are having is essential. Headaches and migraines are two different things and need proper assessment prior to treatment. There are also a variety of headaches, such as temporal, sub-occipital, sinus and even an ice cream headache – no kidding, it’s actually a diagnosis!
By identifying the location and type of headache pain you are experiencing, the correct treatment method can then be determined. A chiropractor is trained to identify and refer a patient if the headache is a result of high blood pressure, or in worse cases, a brain lesion that needs to be ruled out through MRI and CAT scan. This is why a chiropractic appointment should occur before any type of treatment.
For treatment of headaches, an acupuncturist will treat the affected meridian. Meridians are paths where life energy, or “qi”, flows throughout the body. We have 20 meridians in our bodies. For example, if you have a headache around your eyes, that’s a good sign that the pain originated in your stomach and is related to a problem with your diet.
According to Eastern medicine, no part of your body is isolated and your entire body must be in harmony in order to function properly. The pain from a headache is a sign that your energy is out of balance. There could be too much energy, not enough energy, or energy that’s just stuck in your head.
The goal of acupuncture is to get that energy flowing and move the pain away from the head. This is why acupuncture treatment for headaches often involves the feet and toes. One common question asked about acupuncture for the treatment of headaches is how long it takes to experience pain relief. There is no simple answer. Every human body is different. The causes of headaches vary and each person responds differently.
What we can say is that some people walk out of the office after one treatment saying their pain is gone. This is more likely to happen when treating sharp, acute pain. For dull pain that often accompanies chronic headaches, relief usually comes after a series of chiropractic acupuncture sessions.
Chiropractic takes a very specific physical approach to headaches. 90% of the time, only a couple of visits are necessary to resolve the problem. Many of us build up tension at the base of the skull and in the back of the neck. 90% of all headaches actually come from the cervical spine (neck) so physical tension and restriction is the primary cause of headaches. Hence, the diagnosis of “tension headache”. Another common cause of headaches treated by our chiropractors and acupuncturists is a poor diet. When you consider the obesity epidemic in our country, this isn’t surprising. An unbalanced diet causes imbalance throughout your body. Tension headaches are also very common. These can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, overwork and a lack of sleep.
Proper treatment for headaches gives you another opportunity to take your health back. You can become less dependent on medication and take advantage of natural treatments. By identifying the cause of your headaches, you can make lifestyle changes that reduce the chances of headaches occurring in the first place, whether that means making smarter decisions about nutrition or taking steps to reduce stress levels at home and at work.
We believe in an integrated approach to medicine at Natural Healthcare Center, and chiropractic and acupuncture are two of many tools in the shed that we can use to treat headaches. As facility and clinical director, all new patients see me first during a complimentary consultation so a proper diagnosis can be made prior to treatment. In some cases, the patient is referred for advanced diagnostic testing. Following that visit, I develop an individualized treatment plan with specific goals and timelines, and help you take your health back.
Do you have any questions about chiropractic and acupuncture for the treatment of headaches? Do you have any success stories to share that might inspire someone else to try these methods? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. We love to hear from you and are always eager to answer your questions
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.