Managing Headaches Without The Use of Medication
Headaches are among the most common medical ailments, affecting nearly everyone, anywhere in the world. But whether you suffer from a mild tension headache or debilitating migraines, these afflictions can severely disrupt daily life.
To put it in perspective, a study conducted in Singapore found that 82.7% of people experience headaches at some point in their lives. Moreover, migraines affect 2.4% of men and 3.6% of women, 8.2% of people in Singapore, according to the National Neuroscience Institute.
While the typical response might be to reach for over-the-counter painkillers or prescription medication, these solutions aren’t always effective or favourable to your condition. It’s no wonder that, increasingly, many are exploring holistic alternatives for headache management.
In this blog article, we will delve into the most common types of headaches, the significant impact of chronic migraines, and the potential benefits of chiropractic treatment for these conditions — especially if your goal is to manage headaches without medication.
Common Types of Headaches
There are three primary types of headaches: tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. Each type of headache comes with its unique set of symptoms, causes, and challenges. While categorised under the general umbrella of ‘headaches,’ they can manifest quite differently, requiring tailored strategies for effective management and treatment.
Tension headaches, the most common type of headache, often feel like a dull, aching sensation all over the head. It’s sometimes described as a feeling of a tight band wrapped around the forehead. Typically, these headaches are caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck region. Various factors can trigger these contractions, including stress, anxiety, poor posture, and skipping meals.
Migraine headaches are throbbing, intense pains usually on one side of the head. Accompanying symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. These can be triggered by numerous factors, from hormonal changes, specific foods and drinks, to lack of sleep and stress. The exact cause of migraines is not yet fully understood, but genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role.
Cluster headaches are severely painful headaches that occur in clusters or cyclical patterns. The pain is piercing and often centred around one eye. These headaches are relatively rare and the cause is still unclear, but they appear to be related to abnormalities in the body’s biological clock (hypothalamus).
Cervicogenic headaches are chronic or recurrent headaches that are frequently misidentified due to their resemblance to migraine symptoms. The pain can begin at the back of the head, then spread to the front, often accompanied by pain in the shoulder or arm on the same side. This type of headache is characterised by neck-related symptoms, such as a reduced range of motion or a headache that worsens with certain movements.
Drug-Free Headache Treatment
While medication can help alleviate symptoms, they don’t necessarily treat the underlying causes of headaches and can also bring on unwanted side effects. Hence, many sufferers seek non-pharmaceutical approaches to managing headaches.
A holistic and increasingly popular approach is chiropractic treatment, which involves hands-on manipulation of the body, particularly focusing on the spine, to align the body’s musculoskeletal structure and enable the body to heal itself.
Chiropractic treatments are frequently used to treat tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. A 2014 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that techniques used in chiropractic care can effectively treat acute and chronic neck pain — thereby alleviating the symptoms of tension headaches and migraines.
Chiropractic care aims to resolve the root causes of these headaches rather than just masking the symptoms. By focusing on correcting subluxations or misalignments in the spine, chiropractic treatment can relieve pressure on the nerves and muscles in the neck and head, which can lessen both the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Chiropractors are trained to administer spinal manipulations or adjustments, which entail controlled force to the spine’s joints. These manipulations can enhance joint mobility, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate neck pain that often results from joint dysfunction.
First and foremost, chiropractors conduct comprehensive assessments to ascertain the root causes of the headache, then formulate personalised treatment plans. These plans can incorporate a myriad of techniques, exercises, and lifestyle changes designed to address the specific causes of discomfort.
Chiropractic care often adopts a holistic view, taking into account the patient’s overall health and well-being. As such, chiropractors provide advice on various aspects, including posture, ergonomics, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle changes, all designed to help patients effectively manage their neck pain and prevent future episodes.
Managing headaches—especially chronic ones—is a significant challenge for millions of people worldwide. While medication is often the first line of defence, it is not the only solution.
As Christine, a Project Manager, recounts, “I was experiencing a severe case of migraine and the heavy dose of medicines I was prescribed with were not helping to get rid of my migraine but only numbed the pain for a period of time. After a few sessions with the doctor at Kissun Chiropractic, I managed to get off medicine and the pain reduced from extreme pain to occasional tightness of my jaw. The doctor explained the causes of my migraine and the habits I had that actually aggravated it. He also shared how I can circumvent migraines triggered by my daily habits. I would recommend my friends to give chiropractic a try to help with whatever is ailing them. It is worth seeking advice from the Doctors of Chiropractic at Kissun Chiropractic particularly for a “Medicine-Free” treatment.”
By relying on safe, non-invasive, hands-on techniques rather than prescription medication or surgical procedures, chiropractic care provides a welcome alternative for those seeking non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical solutions to common types of headaches.
Kissun Chiropractic is a trusted and leading Chiropractic clinic in Singapore, offering affordable and effective treatments for all ages in the community. Their chiropractors are certified and registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further, they have established many years of experience treating patients with back pain effectively in Singapore. They are also experienced in treating common and complex neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, sciatica, pregnancy aches and pains, sports injuries, performing ergonomic assessments, and postural checks.
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- Singhealth. Effective Management of Migraine in Primary Care. https://www.singhealth.com.sg/news/defining-med/Migraine-Primary-Care
- National Library of Medicine. A community-based study of headache diagnosis and prevalence in Singapore. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12534573/
- The Migraine Trust. https://migrainetrust.org/understand-migraine/types-of-migraine/chronic-migraine/
- National Library of Medicine. Migraine: Epidemiology, Burden, and Comorbidity. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31563224/
- National Library of Medicine. Migraine. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21640251/