Headaches can be debilitating, and getting treatment isn’t always easy. Many people tell us that their doctors dismissed their headaches as “stress” and suggested over-the-counter pain relievers or to “just relax.”
Stress can indeed cause headaches, but that doesn’t mean your pain shouldn’t be taken seriously! And unfortunately, telling someone to “just relax” often has the opposite effect of causing more stress and frustration.
Additionally, there may also be other causes for your headaches that your doctor hasn’t identified.
What Headache Treatment Options Are Available in Hiram?
At Optimum Health Rehab, we meet many people who have suffered from headaches – sometimes for months or even years – and are desperate for relief.
We will first investigate the cause of your headaches so they can be addressed directly, then create a customized treatment plan to help reduce your pain and relieve your stress.
Here are some treatments we may use to treat your headaches:
Often patients are surprised when we suggest chiropractic adjustments for their headaches. They might wonder how adjusting their back can help with their head pain.
The answer is that stress is often felt in the neck and back muscles, which may become tense, contributing to headaches. This can be even worse if you have a job where you sit hunched over a desk or keyboard for hours (while also dealing with work stress).
Between stress and uncomfortable sitting positions, many people develop misaligned vertebrae in the back and neck. The vertebrae are tiny bones that make up the spinal column and move flexibly, and this flexibility can allow them to move out of alignment with the spine.
When this happens, you might feel pain in the back or neck, but you could also have referred pain in other areas, including headaches.
We can adjust the spine (a process called spinal manipulation) to realign the vertebrae, releasing tension.
Many patients have a reduction in headaches once these spinal misalignments are corrected, and they may feel less stressed as soon as muscle tension in the neck and shoulders is relieved.
In fact, studies show that spinal manipulation can improve migraines and cervicogenic headaches and may also be effective at treating tension headaches.
You might think of physical therapy as a treatment for people with orthopedic issues like an injured leg. We do often recommend Physical Rehab for these purposes, but it’s also used for pain relief and headache reduction.
Many headache patients benefit from stretching exercises aimed at loosening the neck muscles, and in some cases, your therapist might recommend a session of spinal traction to further relieve tension.
Physical rehabilitation can also be combined with chiropractic adjustment if your vertebrae have a tendency to become misaligned repeatedly. For instance, this may happen with people who frequently sit in an uncomfortable position that tugs the vertebrae in one direction.
A physical rehab specialist can prescribe exercises to help you correct your posture and strengthen the muscles and tendons near the spine, reducing the risk of recurrence.
Trigger Point Injections
In trigger point massage therapy, a therapist will work to locate tense areas in the soft tissues of your neck and shoulders, sometimes called knots or spasms. They will then apply pressure to each knot until it relaxes, releasing the muscle tension.
This process can be very relaxing, and often patients feel better after a session. However, the knots may return when the patient goes back to work or experiences some other kind of stress.
In these situations, we may be able to extend the treatment with trigger point injections. This procedure involves injecting each trigger point with either a local anesthetic or corticosteroids, which can have a longer-lasting effect on trigger points.
Steroids should only be used briefly due to the potential for side effects, and by injecting them directly into the trigger points, we can often provide lasting relief after only a short treatment period.
What Are the Different Types of Headaches?
Here are the types of headaches we most commonly treat:
- Temporomandibular Joint, or TMJ headaches, are caused by tension in the jaw and often feel like pain around the ears or temples. Root causes include a misaligned jaw, dental problems, and tooth grinding from stress.
- Cluster headaches cause extreme pain, usually around one of the eyes. These attacks often occur in “clusters” over a period of days or weeks, leading to the name. The causes are not well understood, but during a “cluster” of attacks, drinking alcohol may make them worse.
- Migraines typically cause pain on one side of the head and are frequently accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. Some people can trace their migraines to triggers in their diet or hormonal changes, while for others, stress can bring on a migraine. We will help you try to identify the triggers for your migraines as well as recommend treatments.
- Sinus headaches are usually felt around the brows, cheekbones, and the bridge of the nose. Infections, allergies, and other causes of congestion can lead to sinus headaches, so we will determine the cause and find a solution.
- Tension headaches may feel like your head is in a vise or squeezed by a tight band. As you might guess, they’re usually caused by stress and tension in the back, neck, and shoulders.
- Cervicogenic headaches are typically felt as pain in the back or top of the head. These episodes are often related to problems with posture, especially in people who work at a desk and sit in specific positions all day.
While there are multiple types of headaches, most have few specific treatment options beyond “relax” and “take an aspirin.” Migraines are the exception – if you watch TV or online videos, you’ve probably seen numerous ads for various prescription migraine medications.
Unfortunately, these don’t work well for everyone. Some people tell us they couldn’t tolerate the side effects or the medications simply didn’t help their headaches enough.
Other types of headaches may be treated with over-the-counter medications or other pain relievers or drugs used for different conditions (such as antidepressants or medications for nerve pain).
But these treatments have similar drawbacks – many patients stop taking them due to side effects or ineffectiveness. Ultimately, many headache sufferers find themselves searching for new solutions.
Where Can You Get Chronic Headache Treatment in Hiram?
Please contact Optimum Health Rehab for an evaluation of your chronic headache pain and a comprehensive treatment plan.
Our team of chiropractors, medical experts, massage therapists, physical therapists, nutritional experts, and other specialists will work together to diagnose the root cause or causes of your headache pain and treat them.
We will schedule your treatments and follow-up appointments to learn how you’re doing and adapt the plan as needed.
There’s no reason to continue to suffer from headache pain – please call Optimum Health Rehab today at (770)439-6997 to schedule a consultation.
Our friendly staff members are ready to help if you have questions about insurance coverage, appointment times, or other concerns, and we’ll make an appointment as soon as possible.