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Posted on 02-19-2015

Suffer from a headache?  You're not alone.  Nine out of ten Americans suffer with headaches.1  We hear this every day in our office "I think I have a migraine"  If you're like a lot of people we see, you may be unsure about what kind of headache you have and exactly what to do about it.

There are four types of headache:  vascular, muscle contraction (tension), traction, and inflammatory.  The most common type of vascular headache is migraine. Migraine headaches are usually characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and, at times, disturbed vision.   Women are more likely than men to have migraine headaches. 2

We will focus on the two types of headaches we most commonly see, Migraines and Tension.

MIGRAINE HEADACHE:  Interestingly, an article in one of our periodicals pointed out research is indicating that the traditional view on migraines is changing, that they may not be a vascular problem and might be more neurologically based. 2  Prescription medications typically help with the intensity of the headache (if taken quickly) but not typically how often you get them or how long they last, besides the fact that people want to avoid side effects of medications.  So, what can you do if you suffer from a migraine headache?  A few nutritional changes along with supplementation may prove to be very helpful. 3  (This would be done for 12 weeks to see maximum results):

  1. Supplement with magnesium 500-750 mg per day (also, eat nuts, legumes, whole grains, rice, and green leafy vegetables ...assuming there are no allergies to these foods)
  2. Supplement with B2 (riboflavin) 400 mg per day
  3. Supplement with CoQ10 150-600 mg per day

TENSION HEADACHE: A tension headache is the most common type of headache. It is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck, and is usually associated with muscle tightness in these areas. 4  So what can you do if you suffer from tension headaches?

  1. Get adjusted: A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.
  2. Get a massage:  Research has shown that massage can be very helpful in reducing tension headache symptoms.  We commonly have patients that do both massage therapy and chiropractic to battle their headaches. 
  3. Drink at least 8 glasses of water to avoid dehydration which can lead to tension headache
  4. Low impact exercise
  5. Avoid teeth clenching

"Headaches & Chiropractic." ACA -. American Chiropractic Association, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=2186.

"NINDS Headache Information Page." Headache Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). National Headache Foundation, 9 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/headache.htm

Slovin B. Heal the Hurt. Chiropractic Economics. 23 Feb. 2015; 15-18

Tension Headache: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000797.htm.

Quinn, Christopher, Clint Chandler, and Albert Moraska. "Massage Therapy and Frequency of Chronic Tension Headaches." American Journal of Public Health. © American Journal of Public Health 2002, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447303

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