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The Truth About Headaches. Presented By: Steven D. Mitchell, D.C. Tulare Chiropractic and Wellness Center.

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the truth about headaches

The Truth About Headaches

Presented By:

Steven D. Mitchell, D.C.

Tulare Chiropractic and Wellness Center


Many people are mistaken in their belief that it is acceptable or OK to have headaches. Some even consider headaches to be “normal”. This attitude is dangerous as headaches can be an important warning sign. A “normal” headache would be directly related to an incident like a stressful event. If the headache goes away quickly or after sleep, then that is a normal response.

Headaches that occur more than once per month, or last longer than 3-4 hours are not normal.


Many people with regular headaches find themselves reaching for medication to quiet the pain. They often slowly develop a dependency on these medications, which can have harsh side effects over time such as stomach problems, liver problems or kidney failure.

headaches are not normal
Headaches Are Not “NORMAL”
  • To accept that you must be reliant upon numbing pain medications on a regular basis for your headaches is not justified if you know about the latest research and alternative treatments that are available to you.
  • Headaches account for over ten million doctor visits each year in the United States, and are one of the most common reasons for absence from work or school.
  • The November 12, 2003 Issue of Journal of the American Medical Association found that headaches and back pain are leading reasons for lost productivity and absenteeism in the workforce - costing more than $61 billion each year.
two primary types of headaches
Two Primary Types of Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Tension/Stress/Cervicogenic
migraine headaches
Migraine Headaches
  • 20% of the American population
  • An estimated 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches.
  • More women than men get migraines.
  • Accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances lasting from four hours to three days.
  • Two major types:
    • Classical -- 10-15% with an aura
    • Common -- 85% without aura
      • Triggered by blood sugar changes, certain foods, smells, hormonal changes, stress, and fatigue.
family history of migraine headaches
Family History of Migraine Headaches
  • Four out of five migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines.
  • A child has a 50% chance of having migraines if one parent has migraines; and a 75% chance of having migraines if both parents have them.
migraine headaches1
Migraine Headaches
  • Despite years of research, scientists still do not know exactly why migraines occur.
  • However, the pain of migraines almost certainly results from swelling of the blood vessels that surround the brain.
migraine headaches2
Migraine Headaches
  • What cause the blood vessels of the brain to become swollen?
  • There is a lot of controversy over this. Frankly, no one has conclusively defined one single cause, therefore the same treatment does not work for all patients.
treatment for migraines
Treatment for migraines

There are many and varied treatments available for migraine headaches. The treatments include medication, chiropractic, massage, herbal treatment, homeopathy, acupuncture, or many other alternatives. Most all treatments aim to effectively manage the migraines, as most people with true migraines do not completely resolve the problem.

tension headaches
Tension Headaches
  • Up to 88% of women experience tension-type headache during their lifetime.
  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from tension headaches as men.
  • A condition characterized by bilateral mild to moderate pain and pressure that often is described as similar to that of having "a vise around the head."
stress or tension headaches
Stress or Tension Headaches
  • Vast majority are caused by tension from the muscles surrounding the neck
  • Stress or vision problems can be a contributing factor
tension headaches1
Tension Headaches
  • But why are the neck muscles tense?
  • Usually, because of forward head posture and misalignment in the neck.
  • If the human head weighs 12 pounds and is aligned directly over the shoulders, then a minimal amount of muscular effort is required to maintain normal correct posture.
tension headaches forward head posture
Tension Headaches & Forward Head Posture
  • “With each inch of forward head translation the work required by the posterior cervical muscles to maintain this abnormal erect posture is increased by a factor of 10.”
tension headaches forward head posture2
Tension Headaches & Forward Head Posture
  • What causes forward head posture?
    • Poor ergonomics.
    • Imbalanced muscles.
    • Old untreated injuries.
    • Inattention to posture.
what do all of these causes have in common
What Do All of These causes Have in Common?
  • Misalignments of the spine.
  • This is referred to as a SUBLUXATION.
  • A subluxation is a misalignment of the spine that causes nerve interference.
the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body



“The nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body.”
  • The nervous system controls all your voluntary and involuntary actions. These include taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing, digestion, elimination, breathing, heartbeat, winking, wiggling toes and, especially your health!
  • It takes the pressure of a dime on a nerve to take away 60% of its function.
    • Sharpless SK. Susceptibility of spinal roots to compression block. 1975

Gray’s Anatomy, 29th Edition, Page 4

cause and effect
Cause And Effect…

Besides the obvious pain and tightness we feel from poor posture and subluxations, we can be affected in other ways as well. Since the nerves control so much in our bodies, when they are pinched we may often feel tired or fatigued, have headaches, digestive troubles, or other products of the functions that those nerves control.

what causes subluxations
What causes subluxations?
  • Stress
  • Poor Posture
  • Slips/Falls
  • Auto Accidents
  • Repetitive Movements
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Sedentary Positions
  • Birth Trauma
how can subluxations be corrected
How can subluxations be corrected?

- Exercise

- Therapy

- Chiropractic care

- Massage

- Attention to posture

- Correct ergonomics

- Reduced stress

exercises at your desk
Exercises at your desk:

*All exercise programs should be supervised by a qualified professional, as headaches can be an indication of a more serious problem. Please seek professional advise before beginning any exercise program or other treatment.

Example of the types of exercises commonly prescribed:

Most people with posture-related headaches have what is known as “upper-cross” syndrome. This is noted by shoulders rolling forward, and forward head posture. The exercises, therefore promote stretching the tight chest muscles and strengthening the weaker upper back muscles. The next slide has some examples:


Stretching the chest muscles helps the shoulders to pull back more easily.

Strengthening the upper back muscles helps to correct the most common types of postural deviations.

(Many variations and other exercises are important as well)

correct ergonomics
Correct Ergonomics

Correct ergonomics give a good guideline to follow as above. It is very important to be able to vary your position throughout the day as well. Taking breaks to stretch is just as important.

chiropractic care
Chiropractic Care

Spinal manipulation has been proven effective for such conditions, and it does not involve medication to cover up the pain. Chiropractors are well educated in this field and can also diagnose the condition to recommend the most effective course, which should include exercise and nutrition.

the best cure
The Best Cure

*If you already have headaches, be sure to check with your local health professional for a thorough evaluation.

The best cure is to never develop the problem in the first place. Take preventive steps:

1. Maintain a proper body weight.

2. Exercise regularly (3 times per week or more for aerobic exercise)

3. Eat only nutritious food. An apple a day…

4. Reduce stress (all of the above will help with that).

5. Watch your ergonomics.


Our purpose is to help you!

If you’d like a free consultation in our office to determine what is causing your headaches, simply call 685-9391. Mention this web site, and we can set up a convenient time for your consultation.