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Posted on 11-08-2016

Blame it on stress. poor sleep or genes, headaches are a painful part of life for many Americans.  Severe, chronic headache is one of the most common sources of pain, interfering with the ability to enjoy social activities and lessening quality of life.  It is estimated that 15 percent of adults in the United States suffer from chronic migraines or severe headache pain.  Better illustrated, in a room of six people, it is likely that at least one person is popping aspirin, acetaminophen or something stronger.  But are drugs really the best way to treat headache pain?

     Headache sufferers spend billions each year on over-the-counter and prescription pain medication for relief.  But these drugs have the potential to cause even more pain.  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID's, a class of medications that includes commonly used pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, and Excedrin, have been associated with side effects ranging from stomach bleeding and ulcers to decreased kidney and liver function or failure.  In fact, headaches are a potential side effect of several NSAID's.  And yet so many Americans remain trapped inside capsule after tiny capsule of temporary relief, at best, masking the problem and ignoring the risk.  Isn't it time for a little more cure and a lot less risk?

     Over the years, a number of theories have emerged as to the origin of headaches.  We know there are many triggers.  Toxic fumes, cigarette smoke and ingesting certain foods probably top the list of headache triggers.  But the exact cause or causes are still unknown.  Until a few years ago, researchers believed headache pain to be caused by muscle contraction to the face, neck and scalp, as the result of heightened emotions, tension or stress.  However, more recent studies negate this theory.  It is now more commonly believed that headache may result from changes among certain brain chemicals-serotonin, endorphins and many other chemicals, including nitric oxide, that help the nervous system to "communicate" properly.  These chemical changes and the subsequent interference of nerve transmission are thought to ignite pain pathways to the brain and to disrupt the brain's ability to dull the pain.

     Over-the-counter and prescription painkillers attempt to mask or diminish symptoms only by way of the bloodstream, or circulatory system.  But CHIROPRACTIC digs deeper, to the cause of symptoms.  According to "Gray's Anatomy", the nervous system is the "master system" in the body, controlling and coordinating all other systems-respiratory, immune, and even circulatory.

     If you are suffering from frequent headaches, bring this concern to your chiropractor's attention.  It is your doctor's responsibility to locate and correct areas in the spine where one or more of the vertebrae may have experienced a loss of function, creating pressure on, or otherwise irritating spinal nerves.  This irritation interferes with the signals, or "communication", traveling over those nerves, which can compromise the health of every system in the body.  By positively affecting the nervous system and aiding nerve transmission, chiropractic care, in the form of specific spinal "adjustments" or "manipulations", improves the body's own ability to heal itself.  Chiropractic adjustments help restore normal joint function in your spine, thus alleviating nerve pressure and loss of nerve flow.

     Research evidence suggests chiropractic is an effective, natural answer to headache pain.  In fact, in a major 1995 study comparing several weeks of drug therapy to several weeks of chiropractic care, 82 percent of patients given drug therapy reported side effects including drowsiness, weight gain and dry mouth.  Heart related problems and glaucoma also were associated with the drug therapy.  On the other hand, chiropractic patients reported no side effects.  And after four weeks of treatment, patients who used drugs began having headahes again, while members of the chiropractic group continued to express headache relief, as well as higher levels of energy as compared to the drug therapy group.

     When the bones of the spine lose their normal position or motion, the sensitive nerves and blood vessels to the head become compromised.  When these delicate tissues are stretched or irritated, they can produce certain types of headaches.  While aspirin or other medications may cover up the symptoms, they do not really correct the cause of the headache.  This is why many people have found relief from headaches through regular chiropractic care.  Depending on your particular type of headache, your chiropractor may choose to utilize any or all of these treatment options, along with specific spinal adjustments.  So put down the pain-relief medications and take a natural, drug-free approach to getting rid of those nagging headaches. 

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