“I would do anything to get rid of this headache.” I have heard this statement many times as I grew up. The good news is that usually it’s not that complicated. In fact the solution might be as simple as seeing your chiropractor.
What can a chiropractor do for headaches? It’s not so much the headache as it is the cause of the headache that the chiropractor can help with. From Canadian Family Physician, “Over 70% of headaches arise from the spine and its related structures.” The spine contains the nerves that relay information from the brain to the body. Interference in the spinal cord, also called Subluxation (pronounced Sub-lux-ation), causes abnormal signals to be sent and received. One of the many effects of tension in the spine can be a headache.
By identifying and adjusting areas of the spine, a chiropractor can assist the body in staying healthy and headache free.
However simply getting adjusted may not prevent all headaches in the future. There are some simple things you can do decrease the number of headaches you experience. The easiest to do is making sure you have good neck posture. If you were to look at yourself from the side, your ears should line up over your shoulders. If your head is so far forward that your ears are in front of your shoulders, then that is straining your neck and over time will damage your joints and could trigger headaches. As stated by Dr. Kapandji, “For every inch of forward head posture, it increases the weight of the head by an additional 10 pounds.” Essentially the farther your head is past your shoulders, the heavier your head becomes.
Another common cause of headaches is dehydration. When the body is low on water is can trigger a headache. A basic guideline for the amount of water to drink in a day is this formula; your body weight divided by 2 and put in ounces. Example if you were to weigh 200 Lbs, then divide 200/2 = 100 pounts and put that into ounces or drink approximately 100 ounces of water per day. Things to be aware of; food with high salt, coffee, soda, and some medications may cause you to become dehydrated.
What is caffeine’s relationship to headaches? Caffeine can decrease or increase your chances of a headache. How does caffeine reduce a headache? The science of it; Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor (causes blood vessels to decrease in size) as well as blocks the chemical adenosine. Adenosine is a natural chemical that everyone has in their bodies. Regular or excessive caffeine use can cause both a caffeine tolerance and adenosine sensitivity. After caffeine wears off, adenosines presence can cause dilation of blood vessels (blood vessel expansion) and pain.
Additionally caffeine is also a diuretic. This means that caffeine can cause you to use the bathroom more frequently, thereby losing water. Regular or excessive caffeine use can cause chronic dehydration, contributing to headaches.
So to recap regular or excessive caffeine use (2 or more cups of coffee per day) can cause headaches after the caffeine wears off. Caffeine can also help a headache by temporarily decreasing the size of blood vessels in the head and neck.
In conclusion use caffeine sparingly (less than 2 cups of coffee per day for adults). Overuse and extended use can set you up for headaches.
Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville
Grand Rapids, MI 49534