Neck pain and headaches can significantly lower your quality of life. While over-the-counter pain medication may offer relief, it’s only temporary. In searching for other alternatives, you may wonder, can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches? The answer depends on several factors.
1. Identify What Else Could Be Contributing to Discomfort
Headaches are a common side effect of substance abuse and withdrawal. Different substances cause different types of headaches. For instance, excessive drinking often triggers migraines.
Those in recovery may also experience splitting head pain occasionally. According to Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center, studies have shown that drinking alcohol makes headaches more frequent and severe. They occur due to dehydration caused by having high alcohol levels in the system or the body’s natural response in some individuals.
Alcohol isn’t the only substance that causes headaches. Abusing over-the-counter prescription drugs also causes the onset of headaches. According to Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center, about 50% of headaches associated with excessive drug use result from abusing common pain medication.
Most people aren’t aware of this, but regular smoking is known to cause headaches. They’re especially severe during nicotine withdrawal. A drug used as nicotine-replacement therapy, Chantix, also leads to headaches as a side effect.
In these cases, the answer to can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches won’t be of much help. Instead, you should seek substance abuse treatment. In the case of addiction, drug addiction treatment will offer a solution.
Headache, vertigo, and neck pain can also be symptoms of a neck injury. If you were recently in a motor vehicle accident, muscle tears or injury to the joints between the vertebrae might cause the pain. Damage to a disc or a ruptured ligament is also a possible cause.
2. Detail Any Injuries You’ve Sustained
When seeking answers to can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches, you first need to detail any injuries you’ve sustained. Doing this will help the chiropractor recommend the most effective treatment. For example, if you recently got into an accident and experienced whiplash, it may cause shoulder, neck, and head pain.
Falling or straining your back during physical activity may render you immobile and cause much pain. When you mention this to your chiropractor, they’ll know which adjustments to perform to reduce pain and improve your range of motion. They’ll also know which exercises to recommend for the best outcome.
If you were recently involved in an accident where you hit your head, you may have a concussion. In such a situation, your chiropractor will recommend concussion and migraine treatment. It’s good practice, in general, to note down the details of injuries you sustain, even if you don’t think they’re severe.
3. Understand How the Body Is Interconnected
When thinking about can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches, it helps to understand how the body is interconnected. Neck pain alone is challenging to manage, particularly if it causes neck stiffness and limited head mobility. When a headache is present, you may experience more severe pain, dizziness, concentration issues, visual disturbances, or others.
Several conditions can trigger neck pain and headache. Some conditions originate in the head and cause pain to radiate down the neck. Others may manifest as neck issues before sending symptoms to the head.
Chronic headaches resulting from neck issues can take different forms based on the underlying reason. For instance, CGH typically starts as dull neck pain that radiates upward to the head, usually affecting one side. The discomfort may also spread to the temple, forehead, and the area surrounding the ears or eyes.
Sharp, uncomfortable, electric shock-like feelings on the back of the ears, neck, and head are often signs of occipital neuralgia. It usually only affects one side, and the discomfort starts in the upper neck before spreading to the head. This condition usually occurs due to injury or irritation of the occipital neuralgia.
Some headaches may also radiate pain to the neck. For example, tension headaches often bring about moderate to intense non-throbbing pain in the neck, scalp, and forehead. These headaches occur when the neck and scalp muscles tens up due to fear, stress, or other intense feelings.
A migraine is a common headache that affects one side of the head, causing moderate to an intense throbbing. It may also cause symptoms such as light or sound sensitivity and nausea. In some cases, back pain may also cause back pain, in which case back pain relief treatment is the most effective solution.
4. Look Into Jaw Pain, Too
In your search for the answer to can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches, rule out jaw pain first. It may manifest as stiffness, an ache, or pain in your mandible or the region around your ears. Jaw discomfort can significantly lower your quality of life and may have several causes, ranging from a heart attack to a dislocated jaw.
It may feel like stiffness in your temporomandibular joints. These joints are found directly in front of your ears on both sides of your face. They connect your skull to your lower mandible and make it possible to move your lower jaw side to side and up and down.
An abscessed tooth, which usually occurs due to a bacterial infection, may trigger the development of a pocket of pus around a tooth, causing jaw pain. In this case, the best action is to seek cavity treatment. Some people clench or grind their teeth at times of emotional stress or while they sleep, which can also result in significant jaw pain and tooth damage.
Issues with the vascular system can also cause jaw discomfort. Vascular conditions include angina, giant cell arteritis, or temporal arteritis. In the case of temporal arteritis, arteries in the temple area on either side of the head experience inflammation, causing migraines and jaw discomfort.
Treatment usually depends on the cause. Your doctor may prescribe medication like antibiotics if tests show you have a bacterial infection, steroid injections to reduce swelling or inflammation, topical medications, oral, or spray for pain relief, antiviral therapy for viral infections like herpes zoster, or muscle relaxants. Surgery might be necessary in some circumstances to remove broken bones or to reconstruct the mandible.
5. Research the Difference From That and Physical Therapy
When looking for an answer to can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches, know that there are several similarities between a physical therapist and a chiropractor, both highly trained professionals. In terms of education, they go through training at the doctorate level. Additionally, they must complete a rigorous licensing test before being legally allowed to practice.
Physical therapists and chiropractors focus on non-invasive, drug-free therapy methods. Most people turn to them as an alternative to surgery or other intensive procedures. However, these specialists can also help post-operative patients recuperate from surgery.
These healthcare professionals often employ some of the same therapy modalities, including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and heat therapy. Physical therapists and chiropractors provide patients with more than help with recovery from injuries or other medical issues; they also provide preventive wellness assistance, including patient education. These professionals can suggest the best exercises for increasing range of motion, strength, and mobility.
Athletes often visit physical therapists and chiropractors before beginning a tournament to prevent injuries. Both professionals offer education on proper biomechanics, helping players lower the risk of an injury. These are just some of the similarities between these professionals.
Now that you’re aware of the key parallels, it’s time to consider the differences between a physical therapist and a chiropractor. A chiropractor mainly concentrates on ensuring the alignment of the joints and bones and treating musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. In contrast, physical therapists are primarily movement specialists who evaluate the body’s full function.
Most people think chiropractors only care for the spine. However, they can assess, identify, and treat accidents and disorders affecting the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. These consist of the nerves, muscles, tendons, and joints.
For instance, a chiropractor can care for patients with whiplash in the neck due to a car accident. They can help someone operating from an office with carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the wrists. These medical professionals can also care for pregnant women’s health, address sports injuries, and even ease migraines that occur due to dysfunction of the nervous or neck system.
In comparison, physical therapists handle illnesses and injuries that affect the entire body’s mobility, strength, and overall function. Through a comprehensive physical therapy rehab program, their primary focus is getting the patient back to optimal functioning. While physical therapy is often more expensive than chiropractic care, you can file insurance claims with the help of physical therapy medical billing.
6. Be Prepared to Feel Relief
If you experience debilitating headaches regularly, you know how disruptive they can be to your everyday activities. Whether it’s a mild, dull ache, excruciating tension migraines along the neck and scalp, a mild, dull ache, or severe throbbing, headaches can prevent you from feeling like yourself. While over-the-counter pain relievers might provide temporary respite from headache pain, they won’t address the underlying issue causing the headaches.
This explains why so many people seek an answer to can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches. Chiropractic care is an effective and safe solution that eliminates headache discomfort and addresses the underlying cause. According to Mcauliffe Chiropractic Office, studies show that routine chiropractic adjustments are effective in treating some of the most common headache types, including tension headaches, migraines, neck pain, and more.
For headaches, your chiropractor will typically perform spinal manipulation on your neck or adjust your back based on your examination findings. Using X-ray films, or a targeted methodology, they’ll check for vertebrae that are misaligned or have a subluxation which may be causing undue pressure on your nerves. This tension may be stopping your body from operating normally and causing your headaches.
Besides going in for regular chiropractic adjustment, you can also make some lifestyle changes to reduce the severity and frequency of headaches. The first step in doing this is recognizing your triggers. Once you identify the root cause, it’ll be easier to know what lifestyle changes to make to keep them at bay.
7. Go to Another Professional If Pain Continues
When looking for an answer to can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches, you may find that they don’t offer a solution for your case. In women, the severity and frequency of hormone-related migraines increase in the years leading up to their last period, also known as perimenopause. They occur due to the fluctuation of hormone levels.
Some individuals report migraines improving once they stop getting periods. However, in some people, tension headaches get worse. You can continue taking medication or use other therapies if your migraines persist.
Bio identical therapy offers a treatment solution for perimenopause and menopause. It may worsen headaches in some, while it may alleviate the intensity in others. HRT could also have no effect.
Your doctor might suggest an estrogen skin patch if you opt for HRT. The patch delivers a modest, steady supply of the hormone. If it worsens your headaches, your doctor may lower the dose or stop the treatment entirely.
Digestive conditions like celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may cause headaches. By treating the underlying causes, you can also reduce their intensity and frequency. However, more research is needed to establish the connection.
Migraines are linked to several gastrointestinal symptom-causing syndromes in young children. These conditions often trigger episodes of vomiting, also known as cyclical vomiting. They can also cause dizziness which is known as benign paroxysmal vertigo or abdominal migraines.
These are referred to as episodic or periodic syndromes. They don’t typically cause headaches, but these children often experience severe migraines later in life. If you experience headaches along with diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea, consult your healthcare provider.
Your doctor may prescribe anti-diarrheal or anti-nausea medicine. Alternatively, your doctor may prescribe a form of pain medication that you don’t ingest through the mouth, like an injection or a nasal spray. In severe cases, they may recommend a colonoscopy service.
Neck pain and headaches affect millions of Americans. For this reason, a significant number of online users search for can a chiropractor help with neck pain and headaches. This read gives a detailed answer.