31 May May 31, 2013

Stress and Headaches

SpinalCare 0 Uncategorized

Many people come to me as a chiropractor complaining of headaches but they often say that it is only due to stress and they think that there is nothing I can do. It is at this time that I have a heart to heart talk with them and I explain that I have about a 90-95% percent success rate in decreasing the frequency and intensity of headaches and that there is a direct connection between stress and headaches.

Stress is one of the primary causes of headaches.

Stress is one of the primary causes of headaches.

Stress and headaches go hand in hand, especially in women. Stereotypically men tend to carry stress in their lower back and women tend to carry stress in their shoulders , upper back and neck. I do not have the science as to behind why that is but I will tell you my thoughts. When men get stressed out, they, more often than not, relate it to their jobs which are often physically difficult and require the use of their lower back. On the other hand, when women get stressed out they often relate it to their family and kids which brings on memories or realities of carrying children and babies which is stressful to the upper back and neck.

How does this relate to headaches? Headaches have many causes, from stress, to dehydration, to sunlight, to diet. All of these things have one thing in common, they cause muscle tightness, decreased blood flow and pressure build up in the upper back, neck and head. All of this pressure can cause nerve interference. Nerve interference leads to muscle spasm, decreased blood flow and pressure. This cycle repeats until it is broken.

When this pressure is released, and muscle tension is reduced, regardless of the cause, then proper blood flow is restored and most headaches go away. This even applies to migraine headaches.

One not so effective treatment for stress.

One not so effective treatment for stress.

This likely leads you to ask the question “How do you release the pressure?”

As chiropractors performing chiropractic adjustments our goal is to: restore proper motion which increases blood flow, releases pressure, and reduces nerve interference.

So, when people come in to see me and tell me I cannot help them with their headaches because they are stress related or “not coming from my neck” I love to prove them wrong. Chiropractic is usually exactly what they need because it reduces the effects of the stress, the headache, regardless of the cause.