Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chiropractic's Role in Treating Headaches

Cervicogenic Headache Model Gives Credence to Chiropractic

Until recently, the medical understanding of headaches has not taken into account the chiropractic model. The concept that headache pain can emanate from cervical dysfunction is still completely foreign to most of the medical profession.

Noted researcher Nikolai Bogduk, MD, PhD, professor of anatomy at Newcastle, Australia, commented:

"The people in control of the headache field seemingly have not, cannot, or will not, recognize this paradox ... that the model for cervicogenic headache is not only the best evolved of all headaches but is testable in vivo, in patients with headache complaints. No other form of headache has that facility."

Several years ago, a Canadian anesthesiologist, Peter Rothbart, MD, FRCPC, came to the same conclusions about cervicogenic headache. Dr. Rothbart made many observations in his own pain management practice which subsequently led to an article in the Toronto Star, the most widely read newspaper in Canada. The Toronto Star article, "A Pain in the Neck," was subtitled: "Chiropractors were right.

Many headaches are caused by damaged structures in the neck -- and scientific evidence proves it." The article explained that years ago, French medical professor Robert Maigne "came to believe that many headaches originated with a structural problem in the neck." He was "thought to be a lunatic," said Dr. Rothbart. But others took up Dr. Maigne's work, including Dr. Nik Bogduk.

In 1995, a team of MDs at Syracuse University established neck problems as the cause of many headaches "with scientific, anatomical proof." Dr. Rothbart termed the Syracuse results "a minor miracle." In the Toronto Star article, Dr. Rothbart made several insightful comments:

"Some brilliant people have put their hearts, souls and minds to this (headache) problem and haven't come up with anything. All we've been able to do is treat people with an array of medicines, one after the other, and hope the side effects won't be too bad."

"We couldn't believe it at first. We've been able to put together a scientific explanation for how neck structure causes headaches -- not all headaches, but a significant number of them."

"It's true that chiropractors have been saying this for years. Unfortunately, many (medical) doctors tend to have a jaundiced view of chiropractors, but they were right about headaches."

Dr. Rothbart's clinical experience and findings have led him to become a founder and president of the North American Cervicogenic Headache Society (NACHS). The NACHS is dedicated to establishing the place of cervicogenic headache in the minds and practices of those health care provider who treat headaches. At the first North American Cervicogenic Headache Conference, held last year, Dr. Rothbart remarked:

"So far as the International Headache Society and the American Association for the Study of Headaches have defined this entity (cervicogenic headache) -- it simply doesn't exist. I'm pleased to say that thanks to the works of Drs. Merskey and Bogduk, cervicogenic headache is recognized in the IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain) taxonomy. This situation creates an enormous problem in addressing the diagnosis and treatment of headaches. Since most of the physicians and headachologists are unfamiliar with the IASP taxonomy, they are unaware of this entity, so diagnosis of cervicogenic headache is rarely made. Thus, there are a large number of chronic headache sufferers who go through life with the wrong diagnosis and hence the wrong treatment for their headache. It was the ongoing ignorance about this clinical entity that motivated the founders of this society to establish a formal organization. One of our goals is for this entity to be accepted into the general headache classification, and until this happens, large numbers of patients will continue to suffer unnecessarily."

The development of the concept of cervicogenic headache has opened a new door for chiropractic. As this concept is developed and adopted, it is expected that a large percentage of headache sufferers will fall into this category. Chiropractic has much to offer as the first line care for cervicogenic headache.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Think you can't be helped by a Chiropractor?

People seek care for four main reasons:
1. Treatment of a specific symptom.
2. Preventing the symptom from returning.
3. Part of a total approach to optimum physical and mental health.
4. To improve their family's health.

The types of people who seek Chiropractic care can be found below.
1. People involved in auto accidents.
2. People injured on the job.
3. People who slip and fall.
4. People who have sports-related injuries.
5. People who have stress.
6. People who don't exercise as they should.
7. People who are overweight.
8. People who have various aches and pains from normal everyday activities.
The common denominator of the people in the above list is that they have either suffered mishaps that caused injury to their bodies, or they have body types that are more prone to having injuries while performing normal, everyday activities.

These categories can further be broken down into the following:
1. Very young children/infants.
2. Young adolescents.
3. Young adults/teenagers
4. People in their 20's to 30's
5. People in their 40's to 60's
6. People over 70

People in each age category have very specific types of conditions that they are more likely to confront. Chiropractic offers a unique treatment method to combat the various health issues that arise.

For example, the very young children and infants are more likely to have postural difficulties due to the various falls taken while learning to walk, run, ride bicycles, etc. They also tend to have more earaches as well due to the early weakness of the neck and muscles surrounding that area. Many of our patients have found that using chiropractic care for children offers another aspect of care that should be used in addition to the standard medical pediatric care already being received.

Younger adolescents and teenagers should be checked for scoliosis by a chiropractic physician. Chiropractic is the only profession that offers conservative treatment of scoliosis at the time of earliest onset.

To use a botanical analogy: It makes more sense to help a sapling grow straight rather than attempt to change a tree that was allowed to grow crooked over many years.

Chiropractic offers a gentle approach to help your child have the best chance of avoiding more severe treatment methods that may become necessary in later years.

It is very common for adolescent age children to have various symptoms that adults deal with as well. In my experience the difference is that many adults tend to contribute these symptoms to growing pains . And, because the children are younger, with optimal recuperative powers, they tend to respond much quicker than adults with the same symptoms. These same mild spinal conditions can become more serious if left unattended, especially for those children who develop into athletes or very active young adults.

As the age groups get older, the conditions become more obvious ones. Lower back problems, neck pain, and headaches are all very common maladies. They can be caused by poor posture, poor lifting and bending procedures, the stress of our jobs, auto accidents, etc. These conditions must be taken seriously because if not, they create more life-long problems. This is very evident when examining the 40-60 and older categories. After reviewing patient histories taken over many years in practice, it is obvious that the majority of these conditions were caused by not fully correcting spinal problems that occurred many years in the past. Perhaps this may have been due to the fact that prior to the 1990's, Chiropractic did not get the acclaim it has gotten recently in helping these structural conditions.


When you are ready to stop hurting, stop by and see us! BRATCHER CHIROPRACTIC

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chiropractic & Treatment of Arthritis

One of the most widely misunderstood conditions among patients is arthritis. When some people hear this word they envisage a future with crippled and twisted joints. However "arthritis" is a very general word that encompasses many different conditions from the benign to the severe. For our purposes we will limit the discussion to the most common forms of arthritis.


By far the most common form of arthritis has many names, osteoarthitis, degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease (DJD), and spondylosis if it is in the spine. Basically the condition is due to the wearing out of the cartilage that lines the joint surfaces and it found not only in humans but also in all mammals. When joint cartilage is damaged, the sensitive bone tissue that is usually protected by the cartilage, becomes stressed causing degenerative changes in the joint. Sometimes the bone around the joint will proliferate and make osteophytes or what are more commonly called bone spurs. These spurs can cause painful irritation to other tissues around the joint thus complicating the already hurtful condition.

The most common areas of the body that develop degenerative joints are in the spine particularly in the lower neck and lower back, the knees, the hips and the fingers. Everyone will experience DJD at one point in their lives though things such as previous trauma, ones occupation, activities, weight, diet, and heredity influence the degree of the condition and its onset.

The symptoms of DJD always involve some degree of pain and or stiffness in the body part involved. If the weight bearing joints such as the hips or knees are involved, ones mobility can be affected especially in the more advanced stages of the condition. In some cases if the joint is sufficiently worn and the person can no longer walk without severe pain, the joints are surgically replaced with synthetic devices. Of course, one should attempt to manage their condition early on in one's life to avoid the need for surgery.

The best management of DJD is of course prevention and involves taking care of one's joints at an early age :

One should always make sure that even when young all injuries to joints are properly managed to insure proper healing to avoid future disability

People involved in occupations that require standing or walking should wear proper shoes that provide good support and shock absorption

Excess body weight can cause increase stress upon the weight bearing joints of the body

Avoid kneeling on hard surfaces to do housework as this can put strain on the sensitive structures of the knee

Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables as they contain natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are essential for the health of the joints as well as the rest of the body

Recently there has been some studies that show that the nutritional supplement Glucosamine can help with DJD and can possible help rebuild joint cartilage. However it must be used over a long-term period and does not work in all conditions.

Chiropractic adjustments are a safe & effective treatment for spondylosis and can help restore proper mobility and function to the spinal joints. Other treatments such as joint mobilization, massage, ultrasound, hot and cold and electrotherapy modalities are also helpful in the care of painful and stiff joints. Sometimes a brace is required to help stabilize the joint in order to alleviate pain. Exercises such as stretching, yoga, tai chi and other gentle mobilizing activities is also helpful to maintain arthritic joints.


An increased level of uric acid in the blood and the deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints cause gouty arthritis. The most common joints are the big toes, the knees, ankles and wrists and the condition and is often characterized by acute pain in swelling. Most people who develop gout are heretically predisposed though episodes are usually brought on by binge eating of the wrong foods, during dehydration or fasting or after a major surgery or illness. Foods that must be avoided contain a natural substance called Purines are metabolized in the liver to form uric acid. People with this condition cannot properly metabolize uric acid thus the buildup in the bloodstream and the subsequent joint problems The foods most associated with high purine content are: red meat especially organ meet, certain seafood, legumes, mushrooms and other foods as well. There are other dietary restrictions that must be followed including avoiding alcohol though a complete list is available at your doctor. Besides dietary considerations, gout is usually managed with medication that helps lower the uric acid in one's bloodstream.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of systemic origin. The direct cause is not known but it is thought to be due to a problem with the immune system. The most common joints affected are the small joints of the hands and fingers, the feet, knees and shoulder though other areas of the body can be affected as well. The condition is usually associated with morning stiffness that is aggravated by motion. Often people complain of general malaise and fatigue and the disease in its more advanced forms can affect many of the other body systems. There are specific blood tests to help identify Rheumatoid arthritis that can be easily run by your doctor. Management includes medication, vitamin and diet therapy. Chiropractic adjustments, joint mobilization, modalities such as ultrasound, heat, electrotherapy and massage can also help with the pain and stiffness associated the condition.


Friday, March 26, 2010

How Chiropractors Diagnose Neck Pain: Patient History

by: Arn Strasser, D.C.

History taking is the first step in diagnosing the cervical spine. Because chiropractors so often treat conditions that are "functional" in nature -- that is conditions in which there are not a frank medical disease, and in which signs and symptoms are often important clues to diagnosis -- chiropractors emphasize in-depth history taking.

Initially the chiropractor will want to know if there has been an accident or injury. A patient who has sustained a neck fracture will present with an abnormally stiff and painful neck. The chiropractor will want to know if there has been trauma to the neck from a fall or other traumatic incident. If there is suspicion of a neck fracture from such an incident, or secondary to an organic disease, the chiropractor will call for a spinal x-ray or imaging study prior to any further examination of the neck.

Chiropractic patient history taking is the same as in a typical medical office with some important differences. The "what, when, and how" of an injury, and the location and nature of the neck pain is supplemented with information on possible episodes of middle and lower back pain, as well as muscle and extremity joint pain. Even when neck pain is the primary presenting complaint, chiropractic always considers the whole spine, of which the neck is one part of an integrated biomechanical system.

Chiropractic views mechanical problems, such as neck pain or extremity injuries to the knee or the shoulder, in the context of the whole body, and the "whole person". All presenting complaints are seen in the context of the totality of work, family, habits, diet, exercise, and most importantly -- the life stresses that may be impacting the patient.

In diagnosing neck pain, the chiropractor will want to know if there has been shoulder or arm pain accompanying the neck symptoms and whether there has been numbness or loss of strength in the arms. Whether headaches accompany the neck pain or there has been a sudden onset of a severe headache, are important issues discussed during the chiropractic interview.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can Sitting at a Computer be Causing Your Migraine Headaches?

By: Dr. Larry A. Johnson, D.C.

Has it ever occurred to you that while you are happily typing away on your computer for hours on end you are actually creating a problem in your neck that can lead to chronic migraine headaches or tension headaches? If you suffer from migraine headaches or tension headaches it may be something you should investigate.

When a person with migraine headaches or tension headaches visits a chiropractor for their pain what does the chiropractor typically do for that patient? The usual treatment for most headache patients is to manipulate, or adjust, the neck. Chiropractors teach us that most headaches come from neck problems, and that by adjusting or manipulating the neck tension and migraine headaches can be relieved or cured.

Over 80% of headache patients that receive chiropractic treatment show improvement that ranges from slight improvement up to complete elimination of their headache pain. If this is the case then it seems logical that the majority of migraine headaches or tension headaches originate from spinal (neck) problems. It also seems logical that if we knew what was causing these neck problems, and eliminated what was causing them, we could also eliminate the headaches, both migraine and tension.

As a chiropractor for 25 years I have treated many patients with migraine headaches and tension headaches. After examining thousands of patients I discovered that as many as 95% who were experiencing headaches had one thing in common, a reversed cervical (neck) curve. From the side view a normal neck should have a slight curve in it. But in my experience as a chiropractor I estimate that approximately 95% of my patients with headaches had either a lessening of that curve, no curve at all, or a curve that was completely reversed. When these "poor neck curvatures" were treated with chiropractic adjustments most showed great improvement.

Chiropractors know that headaches can be caused by "poor neck posture," so the next question becomes "can sitting at a computer cause poor neck posture?" If the answer is yes, then it's very obvious that sitting at a computer can and does cause headaches.
People usually develop poor neck curvatures because of poor posture habits. Anything a person does that places their head in a position forward to their body will lessen or reverse their normal neck curve. And poor neck curvatures DO cause headaches. Chiropractors have been teaching this for decades.

The types of activities that can lead to poor neck posture include sitting at a computer for extended periods of time, reading with the head bent forward, sitting while slouching in a chair or on a couch, sleeping with the head or neck in odd positions, or any other activity that places the head in a position forward to the body. So, to answer our original question, yes, headaches can be caused by sitting at a computer. Sitting at a computer can cause an abnormal neck curvature to develop which can cause headaches.

Good posture can surely prevent the development of poor neck posture, which would seem to be the best remedy, but what can be done if the lessening or reversal of the neck curve has already been developed? Obviously, chiropractic treatment is an option that could be considered. But there are many other alternative treatments for tension or migraine headaches.
Most people just take a pain pill. But are pain pills the best approach? They surely are in some cases, but there are many other headache treatment options that don't require the use of potentially harmful drugs. All drugs have side effects, some of which can end up being worse than the headaches themselves. Before treating your health problems with drugs it is wise to seek the advice of a health professional.

There are many natural remedies for migraine headaches or tension headaches. These include stress and tension reduction, ice therapy (used at the base of the skull), eliminating food triggers, getting the proper amount of rest, biofeedback, headache pillows or cushions, exercise and many others. Some of these may help relieve headaches, both migraine and tension, and could be investigated further.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alternative Treatments for ADD and ADHD

By Melanie Beingessner

If you or your child have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), there are many alternatives to Ritalin or other mind-altering drugs for you and your family to choose. Mind-altering drugs should always be the last resort, as our children's brains and nervous systems are growing and the negative influence of these drugs on brain and nervous system development are significant.

Symptoms of ADD and ADHD are: short attention spans, poor inhibitory control, restlessness, learning disabilities, disruptive behavior, hyperactivity, excessive and often inappropriate motor activity, high levels of distractibility and impulsive behavior, to name a few. The problem with ADD and ADHD are that the symptoms of these conditions can be caused by many different environmental allergies, essential fatty acid deficiencies or imbalances, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, low blood sugar or excess sugar consumption can cause the behaviors that indicate ADD or ADHD.

The simplest way to cure ADD and ADHD naturally is to look at improving the function of the nervous system and the digestive system.

Improving Nervous System Function

Chiropractic Care Makes A Big Difference

Chiropractors find that when children with ADD or ADHD are adjusted regularly, many of their symptoms will reduce in frequency and severity. Chiropractic adjustments help to optimize the function of the nervous system and allow the brain and body to be better able to communicate with each other. Children literally calm down and are able to sit and focus at the task on hand.

The reason why chiropractic care makes such a difference is that the brain is the master control of our bodies. Everything that we do is initiated by the brain, which sends nerve impulses to the body through our nerves. The vertebrae protect the spinal cord and allow movement, but they can become fixed (the chiropractic term is subluxated). These subluxated vertebrae can put pressure on the nerves as they exit the spine. This added pressure on the nerves can reduce the body's ability to function. Chiropractic adjustments improve the movement of the vertebrae and help to take the pressure off the nerves as they exit from the spine. The brain is then able to communicate with the body more efficiently and the body functions with more precision.

Chiropractic adjustments are safe and effective treatment to help the joints of the spine move in a normal pattern of motion and improve nervous system function. Adjustments help children to grow with healthy, straight spines.

Brain Gym Helps Tremendously

If you were to ask a child with ADD or ADHD to place his (or her) right hand on his (or her) left knee, and then change hands and knees in an alternating pattern, chances are that he or she wouldn't be able to do it easily. Children with ADD or ADHD typically have problems with cross patterning movements, as they do not feel comfortable crossing the midline of their bodies. This problem with crossing the body's midline of the body is because the left and right sides of the brain do not fire in synchronicity and they do not communicate well with each other.

Brain Gym is a simple, yet effective way to help a child's brain function as it should, coordinating the left and right sides of the brain. Brain Gym uses physical movements to help with right brain/left brain patterning. It helps the parts of the brain that aren't firing properly to function as a whole, rather than as disorganized parts. Brain Gym makes a huge difference to children experiencing ADD or ADHD-like symptoms.

Improving Digestive System Function

Nutrition Plays A Big Role

When anyone eats, food is processed by the stomach, the pancreas and the liver to break down into food particles. These small particles of food cross the lining of the small intestine and enter the blood stream. It is thought that children with ADD and ADHD-like symptoms have a leaky gut, which means that the cells that line the intestines have spaces between them instead of being packed together tightly like healthy cells should. People with a leaky gut are letting bigger particles of food than are normally absorbed to pass through the spaces between the cells in the small intestines and into the blood stream. The result is that larger food particles are getting through into the blood stream and the body treats these food particles as foreign substances, which results in allergic reactions to the foods that the child is eating. The most common allergies for children with ADD and ADHD are dairy products, wheat, corn, yeast, soy, citrus, egg, chocolate and peanuts. Many children have difficulties with food colorings and additives to processes and packaged foods.

We find people experiencing ADD/ADHD are able to help heal the leaky gut by taking nutritional supplements designed especially for that purpose. If they also take digestive enzymes to help break down food particles into smaller bits, they heal more quickly.

It would also be important to look at the foods that the person is eating. Excessive sugar consumption, allergies or intolerance to foods such as dairy or corn can cause ADD or ADHD symptoms. It is prudent to eliminate these foods from the diet slowly to see if they make a difference.

Putting It All Together

Healing a condition like ADD or ADHD takes time. The nervous system needs time to learn to communicate in an improved way. It takes time to be able to eliminate foods that trigger allergic reactions and to grow healthy cells to line the digestive system. You can find a chiropractor who is comfortable treating children. You can find a brain gym instructor close to you by visiting You can find supplements to heal a leaky gut and slowly eliminate trigger foods from the diet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Water Therapy is beneficial for Your Headache

Nowadays due to more and more stressful work scenario and less time for other activities, people are suffering from a lot of diseases including headache. If you are one among them, water therapy can be considered as a solution to your problem. Let us find out the reasons of headache and how it can be cured with the help of water therapy.

The two types of headaches are most common amongst the victims and these are tension headache and vascular headache. Both of these headaches are caused due to some underlying disorders. This headache could come as a symptom of alcohol or dietary recklessness. However, a headache could also be due to some serious problem that needs a proper diagnosis. For the two mentioned types, you can go for the water therapy.

In the tension headache, the stress tightens the muscles in the neck and the shoulder parts and that is why a person suffering from this headache is unable to find comfort in any posture. If you are suffering from tension headache due to sleepless night, you can take bath of lukewarm water for 15 minutes. This will help you get proper sleep and hence a relief from stress and headache. But in case you are suffering from tension headache due to constipation, then you can try water therapy. Consume a lot of water daily and you can get rid of this trouble.

Vascular headache causes a throbbing pain to the sufferer and the person feels a great pressure inside the head. But instead of taking pain killers to cure this headache, the doctors suggest to make use of the water therapy. All you have to do is sit in a comfortable posture and put your feet in a large container filled with hot water. The water should reach up to the knees and after this, you have to apply cold packs on the back of the neck as well as on the forehead then have a hot shower.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Can Meditation Bring You Relief From Headache?

The relation between headaches and meditation is very easy to understand through an example. It is as simple as tying and untying a knot. Through meditation, the positive thoughts get recharged and slowly the negative thought find their way out one by one.

Over the counter medications accept my salutations! You have done enough of service in your own way, to the best of your ability and judgment. You have done everything, but my headache stands intact....Perhaps you don't understand the root cause of headache.

Take a lesson in meditation so that you get an opportunity to analyze the reasons for your failures.

Meditation is trying to reach the level of absolute concentration. You try to reach a level whereupon you are in a position to understand and direct your consciousness.

...But before that, well understand the nature of your headache.

Mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. Negative thoughts and positive thoughts! When the weight and pressure of the negative thoughts is more than the positive thoughts, you have stress. As a result, you have headache.

Through meditation, the positive thoughts get recharged and slowly the negative thoughts find their way out one by one.

The relation between headache and meditation is very easy to understand through an example. It is as simple as tying and untying a knot. Stress was not dropped on your mind from the heaven. You have achieved it by your wrong living. Try to understand for yourself what made you have this experience of stress. Try to analyze it point by point. Think upon it. Try to workout
the possible solutions. In fact, the process of meditation has already commenced within you, when you make such efforts. Your sincere pursuit is bound to take you to the path of confronting your headache in a positive way. Your physical body and the mind work in tandem. Feelings of stress and anxiety direct the nervous system to initiate the response, positive or negative. Stress or no stress situation, headache is the direct outcome of such a situation.

When you are in the process of meditation, you begin to feel that your muscles are relaxed. The flood of stress
chemicals in the body, such as endorphins, begins to subside. The pain-killing medications, which have been playing their dubious role on your mind, with a false sense of cure, stand exposed. Meditation sharpens the quality of discrimination, and when once you are able to recognize what is good and what is bad in every aspect of life, you are nearer to your goal of achieving peace.

Initially, meditation looks like a long term treatment, but when you pursue your avowed goal, the results achieved will be permanent.

Therefore in many countries, prominently in
Australia, meditation has been accepted as a prominent tool to control headache. The researchers and the scientists are beginning to realize the truth that the solution for headache lies in understanding the mind, not ruthlessly subverting it, by painkiller medications and injections. The approach of force, will not work well.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Look Out To Get Relief For Tension Headache

At least once in our whole life, we experience stress which leads to tension. It's not good at all and can lead to tension headache. The tension at times becomes unbearable and you might suffer from severe headache. The vast majority of headaches, so-called primary headache include migraine, cluster headache and vascular headache. It's not compulsory to have the pain in the head due to stress in general. Rather, it can be due to health problems like sinus and hypertension which can lead to sinus headache and hypertension headache.

When you are suffering from tension headache, you can experience some problems like insomnia, fatigue, irritability and loss of appetite. To search for the ways that can provide relief for tension headache, it's necessary that you should know the causes of headache for its cure. To know more about headache relief, read Are You Suffering From Tension Headache?

You can opt for aromatherapy, where the soothing massage with perfumed oils can help you in relaxing your muscles. Whenever you feel stressed, take deep breath and try to relax yourself. Practice yoga and meditation that will improve your concentration and relax your mind and body.

Try out some herbs like passion flower, Piper methysticum, Hepataplex that will make your mind relax and make you sleep well. Simple changes made in your diet and lifestyle will really help you a lot. These ways to get natural relief for tension headache are really wonderful and effective as well. So, don't wait and waste your time thinking, go for the best option that suits you.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Three Step Guide To Cure Tension Headache Without Medicines

Headaches can be of various types- migraines, sinus, barometric and the like. However, it is tension headaches that are the most common. Most people make use of medicines to cure tension headaches. However, you can cure tension headaches without medicines too and that too in three simple steps.

Though there are several factors that can attribute to tension headaches, it is stress that is considered to be the most common culprit. You can ward off the stress and the headache that follows in three simple steps- relax, breathe and stop stressing.

The first and the foremost thing that you need to do to ward off tension headaches is relax. Of course, it is not easy to relax when you are stressed, but putting in a little effort will not harm. One of the easiest ways to calm yourself down is to think about things that make you happy. You could feel happy by watching your favorite television program or simply by going out for a walk. Finding a quiet spot to think of some happy memories is also a good idea to relax. Take time out for yourself and simply think and do the things that make you feel relaxed and happy.

Breathing when coupled with relaxation can work wonders in fighting off tension headaches. Many would argue that breathing is automatic and we breathe even when we are stressed. Yes, we do breathe at all times but controlling your breathing can work wonders to ward off tension headaches. Controlled breathing helps you gain access to your subconscious mind and control your thoughts. Besides, controlled breathing ensures that there is more oxygen reaching the brain. This helps combat the pain and helps you deal with headaches. Practice deep breathing for a few minutes as you try to relax. This will help you unwind and deal with the headache.

Stop Stressing
Prevention is better than cure. It is always better to be prepared for stressful situations then to look for ways to deal with stressful situations later on. Simply plan for stressful situations that you can anticipate. You could take a walk or practice deep breathing before you enter a meeting that is going to be tough. Prioritize things that you need to do and keep checking your to do list in the order of priorities. Also, try to change the way you respond to situations. Change your attitude into a positive one. So, the next time you are battled with a stressful situation, you can deal with it without being too stressed.

Follow these three simple steps and you will be able to ward off tension headaches and keep them at bay.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dehydration Headaches: Replenish Yourself with Water

Three out of four Americans don't drink enough water, and it is a major cause of headaches. The human body consists of 65% water. When the body loses water and not enough is replenished, it causes headaches. Dehydration, the process of loss of water from the body, also removes essential electrolytes that are needed for maintaining normal pH levels. That is why sports drinks are so widely used for replenishing the body.

Dehydration can trigger migraines; hence it is advisable to take precautions against it. It does not necessarily happen only in warmer climates and thirst is not the only reason you need to drink plenty of water. Most of us just don't like the taste of water and tend to drink other liquids that do nothing but further accentuate thirst. This needs to change.

How much water should we drink?

On an average, both adults as well as children need to drink 64 to 80 ounces of water a day - that is about 8 to 10 glasses a day. Those who perspire more or urinate often need to drink more. Factors that increase dehydration are:

* Warmer climates
* High altitudes
* High level of physical activity
* Diabetes or kidney disease
* Heavy drinking
* Certain medications

The symptoms of dehydration are:

* Thirstiness
* Fatigue
* Headache
* Weakness
* Dizziness
* Increased heart rate
* Dry skin
* Cramps
* Dark urine

Headache caused by dehydration can be lessened using some simple techniques:

* Drink enough water. It is the quickest and safest way to ease symptoms of dehydration. If you cannot drink much at a go, sip it from time to time.
* Take sports drinks to re-hydrate. These provide essential electrolytes in addition to water.
* Take a couple of pain relieving pills if it is too much to bear. Drink a glassful of water.
* Look out of symptoms of dehydration and take preventive measures as soon as they appear.
* Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as they cause dehydration.

Extreme dehydration needs immediate medical attention. Intravenous fluids and hospital treatment may be required.

Dehydration headaches in children:

Dehydration causes headaches not just in adults but children as well. In fact, infants and toddlers face bigger risks of dehydration headaches than adults. In some cases dehydration could lead to fatal consequences. Apart from headaches and extreme thirst, dehydration can cause constipation, kidney stones and infections in the urinary tract of children. Kids should be taught at a younger age to drink plenty of water, even if they are not thirsty. The habit will augur well for their adulthood.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Headache Treatment: Aromatherapy, Acupuncture, Hot And Cold Packs

A treatment gaining wide popularity worldwide, aromatherapy is found to be quite effective in treating headache. It believes that certain oils and their fragrances have the desired calming effect on the body, thus curing headache. They are known to relieve emotional stress, tension and consequently headaches. The oils seep deep into the nervous system and ease the pain. In fact, they can also be used as a preventive measure.

Since there are certain essential guidelines to be followed while mixing these concoctions, it is essential to take the supervision of a certified aroma therapist. The ingredients and their quantities have to be in the right proportion, if you want to these concoctions to benefit you in any way.

Aromatherapy claims to cure headaches related to negative emotions and muscular and nervous tensions. Lavender, Roman chamomile, sweet marjoram, peppermint, rosemary and eucalyptus are the oils generally used in preparing treatment oils for headache relief. And inhalation, application, bath and massage are some of the techniques adopted to use or apply these oils.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of treatment working on the Taoist philosophy. It involves the use of needles to cure many disorders. It does not use any drugs to treat any pain related disorders.

Although acupuncture lacks scientific validity, yet it has been found to be effective in providing headache relief. It is believed that the body has a number of meridians, applying pressure on which, literally dissolves the pain.

It is also believed that acupuncture works because it leads to the release of certain neurotransmitters in the body. One such neurotransmitter is endorphins, the release of which, cures the pain. It also incorporates a variety of movements, techniques and applications, one of the most common one being moxibustion.

Hot and cold packs
Heat and cold may be used to provide relief to a headache sufferer. Some patients may prefer heat treatment while others may prefer ice packs. It is usually seen that migraine sufferers prefer cold packs whereas, those who have tension-type or muscle contraction headaches prefer cold packs. Packs or showers, both have the same effect.

As in the case of high fevers, cold packs can be applied to the forehead and the temples whereas hot packs can be applied to the neck and the posterior parts of the head. One has to be extremely careful while using hot packs as these might cause muscle spasms or even burning if, they are too hot.

Both these treatments are quite safe and can be used in addition to other normal medications.


Monday, March 15, 2010

EEG Helps You Diagnose Headache

An EEG stands for an Electroencephalogram. Difficult to pronounce and still not considered particularly valuable for the diagnosis of headaches, except for distinguishing complicated migraines from complex partial seizures. It can be used to find out if there is actually some kind of a malfunction in the brain.

An EEG measures the electrical signals of the brain by using a set of electrodes placed on the scalp. These signals are then transmitted to a machine called the polygraph which records these signals.

It is important that any medications that you are taking prior to an EEG should be discussed with your doctor. Also since, the electrodes will be placed on the head, it is essential to wash your hair a day prior to the test. And then do not use any hair cream, spray or oil.

During the test, about 20 electrodes are placed on the scalp. Anti-convulsant medications can be started soon after the EEG is over. Though the EEG does not pinpoint the exact problem in adults, it can, however, be used to find out cerebral abnormalities in children.

You have to understand that in order to treat the problem of headache completely you have to make sure that you take all the steps to diagnose it properly and EEG works as a major step in the same process.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Frequent Headaches: What To Do And What Not To Do

Headache really annoys you. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult to avoid headache. In case of occasional headaches, you take pain relievers. Sometimes, you take them well in advance. You start taking pain relievers on a daily basis. This is not a good habit. This is, indeed, a matter of worry. In case of occasional headaches, pain relievers give immediate relief. But then this is not a complete solution.

Do not take more pain relievers. Do not cross the limit. This will invite negative reaction. This will create a cycle called frequent headaches. Frequent headaches come due to medication overdose. In case you take medication, which is more than the subscription of the doctor, you will have frequent headaches. Frequent headache also comes if you take medication as against the instruction of the label. This headache is of much higher intensity.

In frequent headaches, there is a dull and achy type of pain. Sometimes, the pain is called throbbing or pounding pain. In this pain, you feel nausea, anxiety, irritation, memory problems, and depression. You also have sleeping trouble in frequent headaches. These problems hamper your progress in work. You cannot do the daily tasks in a proper manner.

It is very important to take frequent headaches seriously. You need to see the doctor if you have three to four headaches per week. Avoid pain relievers on a daily basis. It will make matters worse.

Frequent headaches can be avoided in case you take good care of yourself. If you have frequent headaches, select the foods you eat. Sometimes, frequent headaches are related to the food. Have a nice sleep. Do not skip the meals. Do regular exercise. This is important for your body. This will reduce the stress. Yoga and some eastern meditation exercises are another good options to cure self of frequent headaches.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Got a Headache? Painkillers get you nowhere!

A lot of people are suffering from headache and they just go for the pain killers as the best option. As you know that the self medication is always bad, people just end up making things more complicated for themselves. You might have come across the people who find it convenient to take a pain killer every time they have a headache and they are so ignorant of the side effects of these pain killers that they do not realize that these pain killers are so risky for their health.

The pain killers that people take on regular basis to cure their headache have a working strategy. They just block the pain receptors of the sufferer’s brain and this leads to the stoppage of the signals of the pain not being sent to the brain from the cells. This means that the pain killers do not kill the pain but they just make your brain insensible to the pain. Since the brain does not get the signals, the victim does not feel the pain.

As a matter of fact, the pain killers do not cure the problem and rather work on the symptoms. Moreover, people do not treat problems like headache as a disease and they just take it lightly and find it easy to take over-the-counter drugs that are famous as the pain killers. The two known names are Advil and Tylenol which might be harmful for the person in case they are misused.

The statistics reveal that people know the proper dose and yet exceed the recommended dosage. Moreover, according to a study almost 16% of people do not even care to read the instructions on the label. These pain killers takes a person to a vicious circle where popping these pills frequently leads to more frequent headaches. Additionally, if a person keeps on taking a pain killer for a long span of time, the body gets addicted to it and the medicine does not work which may result in the person getting a more severe headache.

So, the conclusion is that if you have headache more than two times a day, you must admit that you have got a problem. Instead of the painkillers try out some natural remedies like aromatherapy, Hydrotherapy, acupressure, yoga, and massage etc. and say goodbye to these pain killers forever!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5 Secrets That Save You from Upper Back Pain Headaches

Upper back pain headache is very common but could be devastating. This pain can have an adverse effect on concentration, the enthusiasm and mood of a person. A person with upper back pain headache will reveal a horrible tale when asked about it. To eliminate upper back pain, just follow the following tips---

1] Dehydration is a common cause of general headaches. Since water is a must for a person with any type of headache, it is advisable to have 3 to 4glasses in a single day. This can prove a big remedy for any type of headache.

2] Upper back headache is caused by stress. As the old saying goes - stress rides on your shoulders. This saying comes true in this case where stress has great effect on muscles of upper back and neck area. These muscles have link up with head and it leads to upper back pain headache. People think that it is very difficult to do away with stress which, however, is not as tough as made out to be.

3] It would be a wise decision to stretch upper back and neck. Since the muscles in these parts are linked to head, the muscles will feel relaxed. This will remove the upper back pain headache. However, you need to keep in mind one important thing which is the entire spine should be thoroughly checked.

4] Do not sit for prolonged durations as this will make tight the upper joints and muscles thereby increasing the problem. To remove postural stress, change it regularly. Postural stress is the root cause of back pain headache. So, better check the height and position of the chair. Exercise is an important remedy for such a pain.

5] You should take rest on alternate basis and try to lie more often. This will give rest to your spine and muscles. However, if you lie down for more time, you can stop gravitational effects and poor postures. This will make muscles tension-free and you will have great relief.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What are Cough Headaches? An Overview

Coughing hard can sometimes lead to a headache. Although cough headache is a rare type of headache, about one in a hundred people experience this kind of a headache sometime in life.

Headaches occurring as a result of coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, straining yourself during excretion or simply bending down are termed as cough headaches. While some of these could occur due to serious intracranial diseases, most of them are not malignant. There are two types of cough headaches - primary and secondary.

Primary cough headaches:
These are benign headaches triggered by strain like coughing and sneezing or Valsalva maneuvers, and are not associated with intracranial disorders. The cause of primary cough headaches is not known, although increased intracranial pressure is generally thought to be the primary reason.

Characteristics of primary cough headaches:
* Sudden onset
* Sharp, piercing pain for duration between one second to 30 minutes
* Dull pain thereafter, possibly lasting for hours
* Usually on both sides of the skull, sometimes at the back
* Not associated with nausea, vomiting, increased light or sound sensitivity, conjunctival injection, rhinorrhea, or lacrimation.

Primary cough headaches occur at an average age of 55 years. They usually alleviate on their own, but preventive treatment can be sought.

Preventive treatment of primary cough headaches:

* Indomethacin (anti-inflammatory)
* Acetazolamide (diuretic to decrease fluid pressure)
* Topiramate (anti-seizure)
* Spinal tap procedure (lumbar puncture through which cerebrospinal fluid is removed in a small quantity to help reduce intracranial pressure)

Spinal tap is rarely needed and doctors will most probably put you on simple daily medications that help reduce pressure in the skull.

Secondary cough headaches:

These are serious, caused by intracranial disorders like:

* Irregular shape of the skull
* Brain protruding through the base of the skull
* Chiari type 1 malformations
* Carotid or vertebrobasilar disease
* cerebral aneurysms

Characteristics of secondary cough headaches:

* Pain precipitated by head or postural changes
* Both sides of the brain
* Can occur at any age.


Diagnostic neuro-imaging can differentiate secondary cough headaches from primary ones. An MRI of the brain can determine whether malformations in the skull are behind the headache. Careful evaluation to find out the underlying cause is crucial for these uncommon types of headache.

Treatment of secondary cough headaches:

Preventive treatments are of no use in secondary cough headaches. The only option usually available to doctors is surgery.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Self Care to Control Headache- A Few Tips

Almost everyone has suffered from headaches at some point of time or the other. Occasional headaches are, then, natural. However, a recurring pattern of headaches can wreck havoc on your life. And though you can counter them with the help of medication, prolonged use of medication can make you dependent. Hence, it is best that you take some steps on your own to eliminate headaches from your life.

Opt For a Healthy Lifestyle

In order to rid your self of tension headaches, it is essential that you lead a healthy lifestyle. This includes the following.

* Eat nutritious and balanced meals on designated intervals. Sufficient calories and other vital nutrients are essential for the body to work properly.

* In order to stay mentally sharp, it is essential that you engage in a daily routine of exercise. This would help you stay fit. It would also keep your body cholesterol low and your energy levels high.

* Take rest for a minimum of six hours a day. Your body needs to recuperate and rejuvenate itself from the hard-work and wear and tear that it has seen through-out the day. Without this rest, body parts and functions may lose their synchronous movement.

* Despite its ability to help curb headaches, do not consume too much caffeine. Too much caffeine can increase the headache and make you feel irritated.

Don't Put Yourself under Too Much Stress

* Instead of doing too many things at the same time, it is best that you concentrate your attention only a selected things of utmost importance. This would help your mind to relax.

* Instead of postponing the work in the future, it is better that you finish it today itself. Also, better time management is something which is important. An updated to-do list both at office and home can help in this regard.

* It is best that you pamper yourself with a break when you think you have overshot your work limit. This would help you recharge your batteries and come back rejuvenated.

* Reflect a positive attitude towards the things around you.

Keep a Positive Body Attitude

* It is better that you always keep a positive body attitude. Walk, sit and move properly. Do not get into awkward positions.

* Keep your muscles relaxed. If you feel your body muscles slipping into a tensed state, treat them with either a hot water treatment or an ice pack.

* Go for a body massage when you feel that different parts of your body are becoming tensed.

* Practice deep breathing regularly. Try to hold your breath for two-three minutes. Concentrate your thoughts in the meanwhile.

* If possible, practice yoga.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Acute vs. Chronic

Acute conditions are conditions that are new. Perhaps they were caused by a trauma like a slip and fall, or an auto accident. Perhaps a youngster fell off his bike or skate board. Perhaps your body just wasn't ready for spring cleaning this year. These types of conditions normally need frequent treatments, especially in the initial stages. During the beginning of these conditions, there is typically swelling and pain, with difficulty in the performing of normal everyday activities. While the length of time acute conditions take to respond, varies depending on the severity of the complaint. The more thorough the treatment, the better the chance that the condition is resolved. This will help prevent the condition from turning into a chronic situation.

Chronic conditions are health situations that have been present for longer periods of time. In many cases an injury or illness that occurred many years ago is still present. Sometimes it is simply the nature of the condition. A diabetic situation is a good example. However, in many cases the chronicity of the condition was caused by not treating the original condition to the degree that was needed. In our chiropractic office, we see this all the time. A typical case would have a patient having lower back or neck pain. The patient is treated correctly and is recovering nicely. However, before full correction can be attained, the lack of pain leads the patient to stop treatment. Of course, the patient will continue with his normal everyday activities because he feels well. What the patient fails to realize is that these normal activities are usually the activities that, over time, brought on the original condition. It would be easy to see from this example how a condition would go on and on over time. At some point the condition becomes incurable, and has to be managed instead. This is the typical scenario of a patient who needs lifetime chiropractic care. Just like the diabetic needs insulin for the rest of his life, the chronic back patient needs chiropractic support to not only help his pain level, but to slow down the progression of the condition.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a philosophy of health care that concentrates on helping the body function the way it was designed. What do I mean by that? Consider how many times in your life you had to REMIND your body to breathe, pump blood, or digest food. These functions of life happen automatically. Quite frankly, when the body works well, it works VERY well!

However, the realities of life give us certain circumstances that interfere with the normal functioning of our bodies. Since the brain and nervous system control body functions, Chiropractic focuses on maintaining the health of your nerves, organs, and connective tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) so that the body can continue to operate normally. Emphasis is given to the body's ability to heal itself.

From the Chiropractic perspective, a poorly functioning spinal column is the cause of many different ailments. Any type of situation, whether it be a traumatic injury, wear and tear over many years, or any other stress, can cause the nervous system to stop working at its ultimate capacity. That can breed pain or discomfort and can affect how the organs of your body function. I'm sure you can see how this would affect your overall health and lifestyle. Treatment in a Chiropractic office consists of gently adjusting or manipulating the spine, as well as exercise recommendations, physical therapy, and rehabilitative activities. Chiropractic physicians will answer your questions on nutrition and any other health-related question. Chiropractors refer to other health care providers when the condition warrants additional medical intervention.

While many patients visit Chiropractors when they are in pain, there is great benefit in addressing your overall health from a preventative point of view. For example, to use an old analogy, what would be easier and more beneficial? To attempt to straighten a curved Oak tree, or make sure the sapling grows straight to begin with? While this may not do justice to the human condition, in reality this analogy is very accurate. Prevention is ALWAYS easier than helping an injury or health issue. Another benefit of prevention is to allow the person to have an optimal health level. This helps the patient enjoy the lifestyle they choose rather than having their health conditions make that choice for them!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Health Conditions Not Normally Associated With Chiropractic Care.

This section has been written to address a commonly misunderstood aspect of chiropractic treatment. Many people understand that chiropractic helps conditions such as headaches, neck pain, back pain, and auto injuries to name a few. The list goes on and on. However, mention allergies, asthma, menstrual problems, stomach pains or any other organic symptom, and most people would cringe and say, "No way!"

It is true that many of these symptoms can indicate more serious problems and should be evaluated by your team of health care providers to be sure of the cause of these symptoms. However, the real reason why many folks don't understand that in some cases, chiropractic can help the above-mentioned conditions, is that some of our earliest colleagues never explained how it might be possible. I will attempt to do so in the next few paragraphs.

Let's start by stating a few facts. The brain controls and coordinates all bodily functions. Since approximately 95% of this information must travel though the spinal cord before reaching the appropriate organs and tissues, the spine must be working properly for that transfer to occur. If there is restriction of this nerve information it would be easy to understand that some type of malfunction could occur.

Your chiropractor evaluates the areas of the spine that would be associated with the major symptoms reported. If there was significant difficulty in that particular region of the spine, it would follow that the chiropractor would have a potential opportunity to help the particular condition. If, however, the spine associated with the particular symptoms was functioning properly, the chiropractor would not be able to accept the patient for treatment.

Chiropractic is most well known for helping neuromuscular/structural types of conditions. This article was written to help you understand that there are times when organic symptoms are caused by structural problems in the spine. Utilize your team of physicians to enjoy the best level of health.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chiropractic and Senior Citizens

Chiropractic treatment is available for senior citizens and offers a variety of different health care strategies, depending on the severity of the condition, as well as the general health of the patient. For those seniors who are in good physical health and lead an active physical lifestyle, chiropractic can offer significant help in many cases. These patients are treated with pain relief and stabilization in mind so that they can return to the active lifestyle that they enjoy.

Occasionally, some seniors enter our office with significant additional health problems. Sometimes these additional health problems can slow down the progress that may be expected under chiropractic care. While there can still be wonderful benefits for these types of cases, the ultimate goals must be tempered so as to be realistic for the particular patient.

Goals that can be expected.
  • Complete pain relief with return to active lifestyle.
  • Partial pain relief with return to most activities.
  • Partial pain relief with return to only specific activities.
  • Slowing down the progression of the condition in advanced degenerative situations.
If you notice in the goals listed above, there is quite a difference between goal 1 and goal 4. This is usually due to the health history of the patient, with goal 4 patients having significant degeneration already present, inactive lifestyle, or perhaps significant other health issues already in place. Even in goal 4 patients there can significant help attained because these patients typically appreciate the opportunity to slow down the rate at which their conditions become worse.

Upon examination and consultation, the goals that can be expected will be explained to you. Please remember that those patients in this category need to be more patient with treatment as they typically respond slower to care than patients who are younger. While this fact may seem obvious, it needs to be stated so that patients can have proper expectations.

In many cases there are no unrealistic goals, just an unrealistic time frame.
-- unknown author


Monday, March 1, 2010


Headaches can be caused by a number of factors. Many headaches can be traced to neck or cranial bone misalignments. Fortunately, chiropractic has a number of answers for these types of headaches. To start, be careful of naming a headache. The majority of patients who have come to my office with a specific name for their headaches ended up NOT having the type of headache that was originally stated. By definition, migraines are one-sided headaches. This is just one of many examples of a label being incorrect.

The bottom line is this: As a chiropractor I can have an excellent chance of helping the headache if the examination or xrays indicate some type of malposition of the neck region or cranial bones. For example, if a patient enters my office with headaches, and upon examination and xray, his neck and cranial bones are in excellent condition, I will not accept that patient for treatment. The areas that I would treat are already working properly in this example; therefore, there must be a different cause for his headaches. By the same token, a patient may enter my office noting that he has been told nothing could be done for his headaches, or that he has to live with them. If, upon examination and xray I find the neck or cranial bones misaligned, there is a good chance that chiropractic treatment can be helpful.

Many headaches can be related to auto injuries, sinus difficulties, or any other neck-related symptom. While there are other causes of headaches, these are the types of headaches that chiropractic works best with. The nerves of the neck, when irritated can lead to head pain that travels from the neck to the top of the skull and around the ears. Sometimes the pain can radiate into the face or eyes. These headaches can make it difficult to think clearly. Whatever the type of pain you have, a thorough chiropractic evaluation will help lead you in the right direction. If at any time we feel that your headaches are caused by something that chiropractic cannot help, you will be referred to the appropriate specialist.