Migraines and headaches can be debilitating, making it difficult for patients to work, perform normal daily activities, and enjoy their lives. While there are numerous different types of headaches and migraines, the doctors and nurses at Solutions Integrated Medicine are well equipped and very good at diagnosing treating these conditions, no matter which type you have. We have an excellent success rate with migraines, cluster and tension type headaches. Many of our patients with long histories of severe and/or frequent headaches are now pain-free and rarely/no longer have to use medicine for treatment. If you’re dealing with migraines and headaches, please contact our office in Elizabethton, Tennessee, today.
A migraine is a type of severe headache, often recurring on a regular basis for most sufferers. Migraines are often one sided but can affect any part of the head. These headaches generally last 1-4+ days without intervention (and sometimes despite it). Migraine sufferers describe the pain as sharp and throbbing, but much more intense and constant than the average headache. Some migraines also cause symptoms in other areas of the body, including blurred vision and inability to concentrate. Many sufferers are sensitive to light and/or loud noises and must lay down in a cool, dark, quiet room.
Another extremely common symptom of a migraine is nausea. Many of these patients also get sick to their stomach, yet often report temporary relief of their headache after vomiting. In some of the worst migraine cases, patients may experience certain mild symptoms directly preceding their headache. These can include dizziness, blurred vision/visual disturbances, numbness (in the face or elsewhere) and even sometimes slurred speech. These are called ‘prodromal effects’ and will often alert the patient a migraine is soon coming.
One of the reasons migraines and headaches are difficult to treat is because there are so many different types and different causes. Some of the most common headaches are: Tension, Migraines and Cervicogenic. Tension-type headaches commonly present as band-like tension around the head. These are generally caused by tight muscles that cause lactic acid buildup, muscular fatigue and vasoconstriction of blood vessels. Even this type of headache can have different causes – depending on where the tense muscle is may also dictate treatment. For example, some patients have tension headaches because of tight jaw muscles, while others get headaches from tight muscles in their neck and shoulders. Therapy and treatment may be different for each of these patients.
Migraines are by far the most severe headaches, and also some of the most elusive, stemming from multiple possible causes and even combinations of things. These include stress, hormone imbalances, allergies, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies and pinched nerves to name just a few. Unfortunately brain tumors can also cause headaches and migraines and should be ruled out quickly during the discovery/testing phase. All patients who have a long history of headaches (of any type) should have a neurological consult that includes imaging (CT, MRI/brain scans). All migraine sufferers should have MRI/CT as should any patient who suddenly gets a severe headache or new migraine (with no history).
With cervicogenic headaches, the neck is the source of the problem but the pain is perceived in one or more areas of the head and/or face. The causes of headaches are not always well understood but a family history of headaches, neck stiffness, and stress are common factors. Fortunately, regardless of the type of headache you might have, most headaches and many migraine sufferers respond well to the chiropractic treatments we offer at Solutions Integrated Medicine. In many cases, pinched nerves in the neck and/or upper back are causative (if not certainly contributory) to the condition. If not directly causing the pain, pinched nerves in these areas can also cause tight muscles in the head, jaw, neck and shoulders, spasms and even vasoconstriction of blood vessels.
Chiropractic care is the easiest, fastest and healthiest way to start and successfully break painful headache and migraine cycles. By correcting pinched nerves, muscles relax/re-balance and vascular tone adapts as the body restores normalcy. Sometimes the B-endorphins released during a chiropractic adjustment is enough to stop many headaches dead in their tracks before the patient leaves the clinic. In many severe headaches and most migraine cases however, a chiropractic adjustment may not instantly stop the symptom and the migraine will continue to run its course. For migraines, if chiropractic care can’t correct the issue, it is often very helpful in managing chronic events.
Natural Treatment Options at Solutions
Current evidence suggests that chiropractic care is very effective in treating cervicogenic and tension headaches. Studies have also shown that chiropractic can also help decrease the intensity and frequency of migraines. At Solutions, our doctors of chiropractic have a combined experience of almost 60 years! We practice a specific style of chiropractic called Gonstead. The Gonstead method is very precise and excellent at honing in on exactly where the problem is. Before any treatments are delivered however, a thorough physical exam is performed by our nurse practitioner and studied by our integrated medical team to determine if we can help and the best course of action.
At Solutions Integrated Medicine, we offer several types of treatments to help headache and migraine sufferers. Depending on the type of headache, exam findings, severity and a number of other factors, we often recommend a combination of natural treatments to our patients. These often include chiropractic care, regenerative medicine, trigger point injections and even physical rehabilitation stretches/exercises. We may also recommend certain vitamin supplements and/or nutritional recommendations.
Regenerative medicine treatments may involve Stem Cell Recruitment Therapy® for neck and/or involved spinal regions. This type of treatment can be very helpful in the treatment of tension or cervicogenic headaches by reducing inflammation and also helping to rejuvenate damaged, deteriorating spinal joints that contribute to pinched nerves. Trigger point injections work on reducing scar tissue, adhesions and spasms in the neck and upper back musculature. Trigger points are miniature muscle spasms that can become fibrotic and create imbalances – pulling unevenly on the spinal bones and can easily contribute to tension and cervicogenic headaches.
If you suffer from headaches or migraines, make an appointment with us immediately! Our team at Solutions is excellent at diagnosing and treating these problems with a very high degree of success. Many of our patients who have suffered with headaches for years are now pain-free and no longer have to take medicine for this chronic problem.