Headache Care and What To Expect On Your First Visit To A Chiropractor
Many people suffer from tension headaches. In fact, four percent of the adult United States population have headaches on a daily basis. Approximately 7 million people suffer from headaches at least every other day, which translates into millions of lost workdays and severely impacts work efficiency.
In medical terms, a stress or tension headache is called a cervicogenic headache which means it originates with irritated nerves and joints in the upper neck, and refers pain into the head.
There is much research and anecdotal evidence that chiropractic care can help headaches. This article will describe a typical first visit to a chiropractor to determine if a patient can be helped by chiropractic therapy, or if the patient would best be seen by another health practitioner.
As with all visits to a doctor you will be asked to give some written information. This information will allow you to detail when your headaches originally began, how often the headaches occur, how the headaches vary in pain intensity, what other doctors and specialists you have seen, and any diagnostic testing you have previously had.
Next, you will meet with the chiropractor so that you can talk further about your headaches. He will want to know in which areas of your head you feel the pain. For instance, some people get headaches in the back of the head, where others get pain in the side of the head or around the temples. Still others get pain in the forehead or around the eyes or frontal sinuses. The doctor of chiropractic will want to know if anything triggers or causes your headaches to begin. Examples of this would be: fatigue, stress, posture, work station set-up, certain foods, and weather or environmental factors. It will be helpful for the chiropractor to know if you have had loss or disturbance of vision or hearing, weakness, or loss of consciousness. The chiropractor will ask of there is anything you do on your own to help your headaches such as take medication, use ice or heat applications or rub an ointment or cream on specific areas. It is always helpful to know how your headaches might keep you from being able to sleep normally, perform chores in the yard or at home, do your usual job and employment duties, enjoy social activities, sports, or hobbies.
Next, the chiropractor will want to check you physically. Palpation, or feeling the upper neck, might reveal muscle tightness or spasm, swelling and inflammation, and pressure points of tenderness. Checking for proper movements of the head and neck might show a loss of the normal range of motion of the neck. Looking at your posture might show that a “slouched” upper body appearance may be causing or contributing to your discomfort. There are neurological tests and orthopedic tests that the chiropractor has been thoroughly trained in that will be helpful in rendering a diagnosis.
Following this, the chiropractor may take x-rays of your neck which might show signs of misalignment, degeneration, or arthritis. The chiropractor will also inspect for fractures, dislocations or bone destruction.
Once these steps have been accomplished, the chiropractor can determine a diagnosis and be able to give you a good idea if your condition is one in which he might be able to help, and accept your case.
Many people suffering from headaches have responded well to chiropractic therapy. If you have seen other doctors and tried other types of care but have not seen a chiropractor for you headaches, it is certainly a prudent next step. If the chiropractor can help you, he will let you know. If he can’t, he will tell you that also and make an appropriate referral to someone else.