Many people categorize a tension headache as an intense feeling of a stiff, dull, throbbing ache behind or near the top of the skull. A common precipitating cause of chronic tension headaches is subluxation of the cervical spine and/or upper back, that are, in many cases, best corrected by chiropractic spinal adjustments. Other causes that frequently lead to headaches are the onset and aggravation of certain diseases (such as arthritis), alcoholism, withdrawal from prescribed medications and certain psychological conditions. Chiropractic treatment is a conservative treatment option for headaches that can be effective in managing minor tension headaches and pain, and is generally considered safe and effective when done under the care and supervision of a chiropractor. In fact, a large number of patients who do not seek medical care for their headaches often times report that after seeing a chiropractor they were able to stop the onset of the headache. It should be noted, however, that in some cases, chiropractic may be appropriate as an adjunct therapy to other treatments.
Chiropractors use a whole range of treatment options to help patients deal with headaches. Many chiropractors employ manual techniques to relieve pain, such as applying controlled pressure to trigger points located on or near the spine. Trigger points, also called nodules, can be manually adjusted by the chiropractor and are believed to be responsible for a majority of the symptoms experienced by sufferers of migraine headaches.
Trigger point therapy is not only used to treat headaches, but other discomforts such as pain and nausea, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many other similar syndromes. Trigger points are believed to be linked to the chemical signals sent by the central nervous system to the trigger points and therefore help to explain why some people have more severe headaches than others. Trigger points can be manually adjusted or chemically triggered. The chiropractor may also recommend biofeedback to help patients track their brain waves and determine when their body is most in need of relief from discomfort and pain.