Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's not a tumor!

Whenever I have a new patient come to my office with any complaint from neck pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, digestive problems, stress, all of the above, etc., I always go over a full medical history. We cover everything from past accidents to medications/supplements to diet (usually consisting of a pot of coffee and fast food). No matter what the main complaint is, I always ask if he/she gets headaches. 90% of the time I get a "duh" look followed by "well, yeah, but that is normal. I get 2-3 per month/week/day, but I have always had them. I just take an aspirin and it goes away." It really makes me laugh everytime.

HEADACHES ARE NOT NORMAL! And taking an aspirin to help your headache is not fixing anything. I like to use this analogy. Let's say you get a pebble in the bottom of your shoe and it is digging into the bottom of your foot. Probably doesn't feel good, right? Do you grab an aspirin to help with the pain? No, you reach down, take off your shoe and empty the pebble out of your shoe. It was the pebble that was causing the pain, not a lack of aspirin. Well, a lack of aspirin is not causing your headaches.
Although there are many different types of headaches (tension, cluster, migraine, etc.) and many, many more types of medications and treatments for those headaches, the posture of your neck can play a huge role with headaches. I especially like to see patients whose headaches have not responded to any of those medications/treatments. There are 7 vertebrae in your neck and the top three vertebrae have nerves that supply your head, face, sinuses. Many times I will find a subluxation (rotation of a vertebrae) in the neck which can cause a pinched nerve leading to headaches. By correcting the subluxation with a gentle manipulation, pressure is taken off of the nerves and usually the headache improves.
If you get headaches on a regular basis, don't suffer through them. You could be a chiropractic visit away from being headache and aspirin free.
Live Well.