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Why live with headaches when they can be resolved?

By  Dr. Jon Thomas D.C PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.

Courtesy of Petr Kratochvil

When it comes to pain, many people wait till it’s excruciating before they try to do anything about it. They think, or hope, that if they wait long enough, whatever is causing the pain will get better on its own. I won’t deny that this approach works sometimes.
On the other hand, there are many conditions involving pain that do not, and will not, get better without treatment of some kind. Some patients allow their conditions to get progressively worse until the they finally decide that enough is enough and they can’t take it anymore. Some keep going till they can no longer do their jobs, drive their cars, or do other things that they normally do. There are also situations where the healing can come about much more quickly with a little help from your friendly neighborhood chiropractor.
Why are people willing to suffer when a situation can be resolved by a chiropractor, sometimes in as little as one visit? Some people seem determined to prove that they can “take the pain” as if taking the pain is somehow virtuous. Some people feel like they just don’t have the time for an appointment.  Sadly, they occasionally find they have plenty of time for doing nothing because the pain has gotten bad enough to immobilize them. And sometimes, before they even look into how much an appointment will cost, patients conclude that it’s too expensive.
The truth is there is nothing virtuous about taking pain when you don’t have to, and most people take much more than they have to. In regard to time, people who are in pain are simply not able to get as much done with their time. The truth for them is that getting their pain resolved will enable them to be more productive with their time, thus giving them some of their time back. Finally, people who think it’s too expensive to get treatment should ask themselves how expensive it will be if they are unable to earn a living, because pain can cause you to miss days or even weeks at work.
What causes headaches?
According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from headaches. Headaches that occur suddenly can be caused by an infection, fever, cold, or other illness. Inflammations of the sinuses, throat, or ear, can also cause headaches. Headaches are also sometimes due to environmental factors, including exposure to smoke, strong odors from perfumes and chemicals, and exposure to allergens. Pollution, noise, lighting, and weather changes are also known to cause headaches.
Many headaches are related to problems in the neck. In a recent article in U.S. News and World Report, Dr. David Starr wrote, “Most headaches are related to muscle tension in the neck, which is an increasingly common condition among Americans who spend hours in the same position or posture (such as in front of a computer or television), leading to joint irritation and tension in the upper back and scalp that cause headaches.”
What are the most common types of headaches?
Courtesty of Wikinut
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults and adolescents. Tension headaches cause mild to moderate pain and they can come and go over a period of time. They can be caused by any of the following: emotional stress, alcohol use, skipping meals, changes in sleep patterns, use of some medications, depression, eyestrain, and neck or back strain.
Migraine headaches cause moderate to severe pain which is sometimes described as pounding or throbbing pain. Migraines may last anywhere from several hours to three days. People who have migraines can have them one to four times per month.
Mixed headache syndrome is a combination of tension and migraine headaches. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
How are headaches diagnosed?
The first key to treating a headache is correctly diagnosing the cause of the headache. After a correct diagnosis has been made, an effective treatment plan can be started. If you have headaches that are recurrent or that won’t go away in a reasonable period of time, one of the best things you can do is to visit your chiropractor. He or she will perform a physical exam and evaluate your symptoms.
During the headache evaluation, your doctor will ask about your headache history. He or she will want to get a good description of your headaches, including where the pain is and what kind of pain it is. You will be asked to describe your symptoms as completely as possible. It will help if you can provide your doctor with a list of things that cause or aggravate your headaches, as well as the things that you have done to relieve headaches in the past.
How can a chiropractor treat a headache?
Mechanical dysfunction of the vertebrae of the neck can cause increased muscle tension leading to tension headaches. A misalignment can also irritate the nerves that control the flow of blood into the head, causing migraine headaches. Many headaches are caused by subluxations, which is what happens when one of the bones of your spine moves out of position and creates pressure on the nerves.
As part of a headache examination, your chiropractor will determine whether your headache and the associated symptoms are due to a misalignment or a subluxation. Whenever a headache is caused by problems with the nerves, muscles, or bones, a chiropractor can help. For example, a chiropractic adjustment (specific spinal manipulation) to improve the movement and alignment of the neck can relieve the pressure that’s causing a headache. In many cases, a chiropractor can provide instant relief to patients suffering from headaches.
In this article, I have discussed tension headaches and migraine headaches, what causes them, and how a chiropractor can help to alleviate them. Some headaches are caused by a misalignment in the neck, which can be corrected with a chiropractic adjustment.
If you have a comment about this article, please leave it in the comments section below. If you know of someone who might benefit from the information in this blog, please share it with your friends, colleagues, and on social media.
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At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a chiropractor about your neck, back, or any other health concern, please contact our office to set up an appointment.
Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician. His practice, The Vibrant Life Health Center, is located in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. His interest in health and fitness started early, and his athletic pursuits have included BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weight Lifting, and Martial Arts. After studying and learning from some of the top health experts throughout the world, Dr. Thomas dedicated his life to helping people of all ages to transform their lives. The objective for each patient is to initiate the body’s healing and to work progressively toward a body that functions optimally. Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV on First Coast Living, where he discusses the transformations of his patients. He also speaks at events throughout the community and writes informative articles to improve the health of residents throughout Jacksonville.


  1. Migraines can definitely derail your life. The hardest part is determining the cause as opposed to treating the symptoms. If you suffer from migraines, I encourage you to see a chiropractor.

  2. Most people deal with headaches and start the journey to suffering and medication as many don't know a Chiropractor can help! Dr. Jon uses many different techniques that can resolve headaches, he customizes his Chiropractic care to what the patient needs, I'm grateful he's my Chiropractor :-)

  3. So, a pain in the neck can lead to a headache? And a chiropractor can do something about that? Good to know.

  4. I use to get migraines all the time. I have been getting regular adjustments for over 10 years now and rarely every get a headache now much less a migraine. I feel chiropractic has helped me with this for sure. It worth a try.

  5. Chiropractic care will cure all kinds of ills, headaches included!