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All Posts Tagged: pain

OVERVIEW OF COMMON NON-MIGRAINE HEADACHES

One of the most common types of pain is a headache. Many people resort to over-the counter medications to relieve their headache, instead of trying to eliminate the cause of it. Many patients with headaches seek alternative forms of therapy, with the most common being chiropractic care. Below is an overview of the most common forms of non-migraine headaches that could be relieved by various natural means of treatment.

Tension Headache
These headaches are often worse in the afternoon or early evening. The pain is usually on both sides of the head and/or around the eyes. Tension headaches can last for days or weeks, and come and go over a long period of time. They are occasionally relieved with over-the-counter analgesics. Tender points and tight muscles are usually found in the neck. Deep massage to the muscles at the back of the head and neck helps, as does ultrasound and moist heat to the same area. Supplement options include valerian root and passionflower for stress reduction, and magnesium and calcium for muscle tension.

Cervicogenic Headache
Cervicogenic headaches often present with a reduction in neck motion and associated neck pain. They are due to referred pain from the soft tissues and joints in the neck. The headache is usually worse with head movement. The primary recommended form of treatment is chiropractic manipulation of the neck.

Cluster Headache
These headaches, which are felt around the eyes, are more common in middle-aged males. They “cluster” over days or weeks and then end, and appear again several weeks or months later. Cluster headaches typically begin at the same time each day or night. They are short-lived, lasting an average of 30 minutes, but they are extremely intense. During an attack, there is often tearing and a runny nose on the same side as the headache. There is usually a history of smoking and possible alcohol abuse. The cause of cluster headaches is unknown. Cluster headaches generally decrease in frequency and intensity as the individual ages. Conservative management includes moist heat, trigger point therapy, ultrasound, and spray-and-stretch to reduce muscle tension, cervical and upper thoracic chiropractic adjustments to decrease contributing joint dysfunction, avoidance of screen glare from computers and televisions, and stress reduction.

Hypertensive Headache
These headaches are pulsing and occur early in the morning. They are associated with high blood pressure, obesity, stress, lack of exercise, high sodium diets, drug sensitivity, kidney disease, and heart disease. Hypertensive headaches come on when blood pressure is 200/120 mm Hg or higher. The headache may become worse when reclining and is less severe when seated. Management includes dietary modifications (high fiber, low salt); avoidance of caffeine, high fat, sugar, and alcohol; and exercise.

Sinus Headaches
These headaches are attributable to inflammation of the mucosa of the sinuses from allergies or bacterial or viral infections. The headache is generally felt over the forehead and cheeks, and occasionally around the teeth and behind the ears. Sinus headaches are worse in the morning and are aggravated or relieved by head position, which may help or hinder nasal drainage. Conservative treatment options include avoiding known allergens, correcting areas of cervical dysfunction that may hinder sinus drainage, and using a vaporizer or hot compresses on the face to clear sinus congestion. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, and feverfew are of some benefit.

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SIX BACK-SAVING TIPS FOR NEW PARENTS

Becoming a parent brings joy like no other, but it also brings a host of new challenges that test the most patient and nurturing among us. It is no secret that childbirth and the general sleep deprivation that typically accompanies caring for a baby have a profound impact on the body. In fact, musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints like back, neck and shoulder injuries are common among new parents, in part due to extra physical demands on the body. If you are currently pregnant and experiencing back pain, consider chiropractic care to help manage symptoms and improve function so that you are ready for your new arrival. Once you bring your baby home, consider the following tips, as well as talking to your chiropractor to ensure that you stay healthy, mobile and pain free throughout this huge life transition.

1. Lifting the baby

When lifting your baby from a crib, car seat or high chair, make sure to keep a neutral spine and use the proper technique to avoid injury. Use your legs, rather than your back, and bend at the knees and hips to lift gradually. Keep your feet grounded well and shoulder-width apart to balance the weight. Use a similar form when settling the baby into a crib or onto a change table. Also, if possible, try to change the baby’s diaper or clothing on a raised surface rather than on the floor or sitting awkwardly on the couch.

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IMPACT OF COLD WEATHER ON YOUR MUSCLES AND TENDONS

You may find that as the weather gets colder, you may experience more aches and pains, and even feel like your muscles are stiffer. This is even more evident for workers who work outside in the winter or individuals with certain ailments. The cold weather can increase the risk of suffering from musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and can even increase the intensity of certain MSK conditions.

How Can the Cold Weather Impact Us?

If you live with an arthritic condition you might find that your symptoms may be exacerbated by cold weather conditions, which can keep you away from doing the activities you enjoy. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may not react well to sudden weather or atmospheric changes, which may worsen symptoms.

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ICE OR HEAT?

ice or heat

One of the most common questions I am asked by patients is whether they should use ice or heat on an injury. Both heat and ice improve healing by manipulating blood flow, reducing inflammation, and reducing pain. Knowing which one to use when, though, will keep you from possibly doing further damage.

Ice should be used on acute injuries (injuries that have occurred within the last 72 hours.) Its aim is to limit the body’s response to the injury. It does this by reducing further bleeding into the injured tissues, preventing or reducing swelling, and reducing muscle spasm and pain. Ice should also be used for chronic conditions (arthritis, tendonitis, overuse injuries in athletes), but after activity.

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