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Headache Treatment: A Springfield, IL Chiropractor’s Perspective

As chiropractors in Springfield, IL we see patients who have headaches on a daily basis. Around 50% of people will report having at least one headache per year. Also, 4% of the entire world’s population suffer from headaches 15 or more days out of every month. It is safe to say that headaches are extremely common, but they are NOT normal! A headache is one of the many ways your body can tell you that something is not functioning properly, and must be addressed quickly.

Headaches persist as such a common ailment because there are many different sources that can cause headaches to occur. Emotional causes such as stress, anxiety, or depression can trigger headaches, as can existing medical conditions like high blood pressure or infections. Even environmental factors such as the weather can trigger headaches for some! The most common headache problem seen in our office, however, stems from physical or mechanical dysfunction. This can be through injury, nerve irritation, spine dysfunction, or muscle issues like trigger points. Our doctors are trained to address these types of headaches directly, but can also assist you in making lifestyle changes to combat headaches of other origins.

Like any problem that is causing pain, it is essential to find the root cause of headaches. Many times, headache problems aren’t actually coming from the head, but rather from the neck. Muscle, joint, or disc issues can trigger headaches, so it is important to distinguish which type of headache you have so it can be managed appropriately. If there is a physical problem causing your headache, there is no pill or shot that will fix that headache. Our doctors specialize in techniques that will address these types of headaches and get you feeling better faster!

How We Treat Headaches In Springfield, IL

Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

Any encounter with a new patient in our office begins with an in depth consultation. As doctors, we need to get to know you and your story, and how you have gotten to this point. This history is crucial to understanding your condition and helps us determine the best way that we can help you. If you present to our office with chronic headaches, for example, we want to find out how those headaches are interfering with your life. This helps us to set appropriate goals for your care.

During the examination we will perform orthopedic, functional, and neurologic tests to help us find the cause of your headaches. This ensures that we put together the right treatment plan for you so we can meet your goals and improve the quality of your life in the process.

Specific Chiropractic Care | Springfield, IL

As chiropractors, we specialize in finding and correcting subluxation. This is a problem that occurs when a vertebra (bone in your spine) moves out of its normal position and causes irritation to nerves in that area. When nerves are irritated, they become symptomatic and can be painful due to inflammation. Correcting subluxation allows the nerves to function properly and the body to heal itself.

Many times, people with headaches have subluxation in the upper cervical spine (neck). The nerves in this area emerge from the spine and travel up the back of the head. When these nerves are irritated, one of the most common symptoms they cause is headaches. Through specific chiropractic care to this area, nerve interference can be removed, and nerve function can be restored. For many, this will fix the headaches they are experiencing almost instantly.

Massage Therapy

Muscle tension tends to be a common source for headaches, especially amongst those who work at desks for a living. Sitting at the computer for long hours with shoulders in a rounded position is an easy way to develop muscle tightness, trigger points, and achiness throughout the upper back and neck. At times, this muscle tension continues upward to the back of the skull, causing a headache felt in the back of the head.

Our Licensed Massage Therapists specialize in targeting the specific muscles that cause these types of headaches. They are trained to help restore these muscles to normal, which decreases the pain and discomfort in the neck and back of the head. If you suffer from this type of headache, Massage Therapy is a wonderful option for you to address this problem naturally.

If you feel that Massage Therapy is not for you, our doctors are also trained in various soft tissue techniques that can address these headaches in similar fashion. For example, Active Release Technique combines pressure and movement to help alleviate muscle tension. Graston technique is another modality utilized at The Springfield Wellness Center. In this technique, a metal tool is used to gently work through muscle knots to help restore normal muscle function.

Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan

At The Springfield Wellness Center, a huge emphasis is placed on posture. Your posture is a window to your health and how well your spine functions. Many people who come to our office with headaches have posture problems that have likely existed for a long time. As a result, correcting these posture issues becomes imperative to successfully treating these headaches.

Forward head posture is the most common postural problem that we see. The head is supposed to be directly in line with the shoulders. Due to increased technology use (phones, tablets, etc.) we all tend to be looking down more than we used to. This causes increased strain of the muscles in the neck and back of the head and can contribute toward headaches.

At The Springfield Wellness Center, our doctors and trainers work together to come up with a customized, corrective exercise plan that is unique to your needs. You will also receive an exercise plan to complete at home in between your visits to the office. We will also provide advice for how to avoid aggravating your condition when working at your office. Overall, it is truly a team effort where the doctors, trainers, and patients all work together to meet the patient’s goals.

Cervical Spinal Decompression | Springfield, IL

Sometimes, headaches can be related to disc injuries in the cervical spine (neck). When this happens, the nerves get very irritated from the inflammation that develops. If the nerves traveling up the back of the head are inflamed, it is easy for a headache to develop.

At the Springfield Wellness Center, we use spinal decompression to not only treat disc injuries in the neck, but also treat headaches. During this treatment, you lie comfortably on your back with your head stabilized by 2 cushions on each side of the neck. The machine will then gently stretch the neck, which decreases the pressure on these nerves and helps to relieve disc-related pain.

We use this therapy along with specific chiropractic care and a custom therapeutic exercise program to address the root cause of your headaches and get you back to feeling your best!

Common Types of Headaches in Springfield, IL

Tension Headaches

As previously discussed, there are many different types of headaches that people can get, and one of the most common that we see at The Springfield Wellness Center is tension headaches. These headaches cause a mild to moderate achy pain that feels like a tight band around your head. They are commonly felt in the back of the head, which is caused by increased muscle tension in this area as well as the neck. If you experience tension headaches, it is important to have your spine and muscles checked for any dysfunction that could be causing your condition.

Migraine Headaches

Another common headache presenting to The Springfield Wellness Center is migraine headaches. These headaches can be more complicated because they have multiple possible causes and different presentations. Migraines can also symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and/or sensitivity to light and sound. In some instances, migraine sufferers may experience an “aura” either before or during their migraine episode. An aura can best be described as a visual disturbance such a blurred vision, wavy lines, or flashing lights.

The pain from migraines can either be throbbing or pulsing, or in some cases extreme and debilitating. They have the potential to drastically decrease a person’s quality of life if left untreated. Migraines can be cervicogenic, meaning they originate in the cervical spine. It is wise to have a chiropractor check your spine and nervous system as part of your migraine management plan.

Sinus Headaches

Sinuses are air filled cavities in the skull. Their primary job is to produce mucus that protects the lining of the nose from bacteria and harmful organisms. When our sinuses get inflamed from either infection or allergies, they are unable to drain properly. This is a common occurrence that causes sinus-related headaches.

These headaches cause a deep, uncomfortable pressure feeling behind the eyes, cheeks, and forehead. The pain is typically worse when you bend forward because it increases the pressure on the sinuses. At our office, we use a combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy to help decrease the pressure and help the sinuses drain more effectively. This provides relief and helps people get better faster.

TMJ Headache

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ for short) is the hinge joint known as your jaw. It is the joint that allows your mouth to open and close. If you have TMJ dysfunction, headaches can be a common symptom that follows. This type of headache is usually felt on the sides of the head, causing a deep ache in this region.

TMJ headaches can be very uncomfortable, so it is important to address them as quickly as possible. Our doctors at the Springfield Wellness Center have advanced training in TMJ disorders, and can help you understand the cause of your TMJ headache and how to fix it.

Whiplash Headache

At our office, we see many people who have recently been in auto accidents. One of the most common injuries these people have is due to whiplash, in which the head moves quickly back and forth as a result of impact. Whiplash headaches can be particularly painful because they involve both the head and the neck.

The pain of whiplash headaches is typically at the base of the skull, and it is exacerbated by moving the neck. This limits your range of motion and can decrease your ability to do your work, chores, or hobbies. Through chiropractic care, soft tissue work, and corrective exercise, our team can relieve your whiplash symptoms and get you on the road to recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a chiropractor in Springfield, IL good for headaches?

Definitely! Chiropractors are trained to identify the source of headaches and guide you through the proper treatment protocols to correct the cause. The Chiropractors at the Springfield Wellness Center have helped thousands of headache sufferers in Springfield and the surrounding areas get their lives back on track, and they can help you too!

When should you see a chiropractor for headaches?

As soon as possible. A headache is a sign that something in your body is not functioning properly. It is important to be evaluated promptly so your condition does not worsen. Starting care quickly can help you feel better and get back to doing the things you like to do and need to do in your life.

Is massage or chiropractic better for headaches?

Both massage and chiropractic are great ways to treat headaches both naturally and effectively. However, they are even more effective when they are both utilized in the same treatment plan. Addressing both the muscles and the spine allows for optimum function and a greater capacity to heal properly. The Springfield Wellness Center offers both of these services under one roof, making it convenient and easy to address your headache issues.

Are chiropractors covered by insurance for headaches?

Yes. Chiropractic care is covered by most major insurance companies. The Springfield Wellness Center is in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Healthlink, Health Alliance, UHC, Cigna, Aetna, and many others. Our providers will check your benefits and outline what insurance will cover as part of your treatment plan.

Can getting your neck adjusted help with headaches?

Absolutely! Many headache-causing problems actually originate in the neck, so addressing that problem through chiropractic care can certainly bring relief for those suffering with these types of headaches. Many times, the relief is instant!