What to Know About Headaches and Migraines from our Little Rock Chiropractor
Headaches and migraines plague approximately three million Americans each year. For many of these individuals, the issue is chronic. If you seek the assistance of a chiropractor like Dr. Courtney Carmack, D.C. in Little Rock, AR, you can find relief using natural methods that won’t make you feel groggy or cause other unpleasant side effects.
Difference Between a Migraine and a Headache
Typically, a headache is a dull pain that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to seven days. The pain ranges anywhere from mild to severe. You don’t experience any symptoms before a headache. Usually, a headache occurs on both sides of the head simultaneously. The most common areas that headaches affect are the back of the neck, temples, or forehead.
Migraines, on the other hand, cause a severe pain, possibly throbbing or pulsing. Typically, migraine pain only occurs on one side of your head at a time. A migraine could last up to 72 hours. You may notice you have other symptoms along with your head pain during a migraine, such as:
- Pain in the temples
- Seeing spots or flashing lights
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Temporary vision loss
- Pain behind one ear or eye
Causes of a Headache or a Migraine
Stress and anxiety are both a leading cause of headaches and migraines. Other common causes of headaches are sinus or allergies issues, dehydration, improper diet, lack of sleep, food sensitivities, and medication side effects to name a few.
The exact cause of a migraine isn’t known, although experts speculate environmental and genetic factors may play a role. They believe it may be caused by changes in the way the brain stem interacts with the trigeminal nerve, which is a major pain pathway. On the other hand, an imbalance with the level of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, might contribute to headaches. Risk factors for a migraine include the following:
- Hormonal changes
- Nutrient deficiency
- Changes in sleep patterns
How a Chiropractor Can Help With a Migraine or Headache Pain
A chiropractor will evaluate the spine to determine the underlying cause of a headache or a migraine. One of the most common misalignments found in those suffering from headaches and migraines is a misalignment of the occiput (base of the skull), C1 and/or C2. When the spine is misaligned, it puts pressure on the nerves exiting the spinal column, thus causing the pain or headaches. Once properly evaluated and diagnosed, the chiropractor will administer a spinal adjustment to realign the vertebrae. By relieving the pressure on the nervous system, your body is then able to heal and function normally. Since nutrient deficiencies may also lead to a headache or a migraine, our chiropractor may evaluate your diet and health to determine if you have a nutrient deficiency. If a nutritional deficiency is found, then our chiropractor may recommend supplements to help. Depending on the results of the examination, our chiropractor may also recommend stretches or exercises that will help reduce your pain.
Contact Us for an Appointment to Treat Your Headaches and Migraines
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Courtney Carmack, D.C. by calling (501) 404-8910 today.