Don’t Just Dull the Headache Pain…
…Get Rid of the CAUSE of the Headache! 

Isn’t it the worst when you feel a headache coming on? Maybe it’s when you wake up, and you just feel rotten and your head is throbbing from the moment you wake up. Or maybe it comes on midmorning due to stress or something you’ve eaten. Sometimes we will tell ourselves it’s from too much or too little caffeine. Or sinus pressure. Oh and did we mention stress? Maybe we slept wrong or just had a terrible night of sleep in general. Or some combination of the above. 

Then there are those of us who suffer from regular, frequent, or even chronic headaches. We try all sorts of strategies to feel better and have probably tried most of the OTC medicines and maybe even a few prescription options. But when you feel that headache or migraine coming on, all you really want to do is find a dark room and crawl in bed. The fact is, there are a lot of causes for headaches, and many treatments. But before you go reaching for the medicine bottle first, check out this quote from a Scottish medical journal recommending the diagnosis and treatment of headaches: 

Clinicians should be aware that patients using any acute or symptomatic headache treatment are at risk of medication overuse headache. Patients with migraine, frequent headache and those using opioid-containing medications or overusing triptans are at most risk. Medication overuse results in the development of chronic daily headache. Stopping the overused medication usually results in improvement in headache frequency and severity. The risks of medication overuse headache should be discussed with all patients when initiating acute treatment for migraine.1

Yes, there is even a diagnosis for headaches known as “medication overuse headaches.” Once again, when we start by treating the symptom (headache pain), rather than looking for the cause (neck tension, poor diet, poor sleep habits) and treating them, we can and generally do make matters worse. In fact, the number one way to effectively treat and cure the occasional, frequent, regular, or even chronic headaches is through neck and spinal manipulation. Numerous evidence-based studies point to chiropractic care as the most effective way to solve most headache problems. And in this case the only known side effect is… you might feel even better than you expected! 

1. http://www.sign.ac.uk/pdf/sign107.pdf Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (November 2008). Diagnosis and management of headache in adults. Edinburgh. ISBN 978-1-905813-39-1.
 
Don’t Crack Your Own Neck In Front of Your Chiropractor
by Will Forrester

I’m not gonna lie, I love the feeling of that “pop” when my neck or my back “cracks.” I can still remember cracking my own back for the first time. In high school, I had this friend who started cracking his own back, and I thought it looked bizarre, but like most teenagers, I figured if someone else was doing it, I’d better try, too, right? So I did. Thus began a habit of cracking my own back which lasted for years. 

I remember the back thing, but I can’t recall when I started cracking my own neck. But talk about a great feeling! Honestly, as I’m typing this post, I’m now having to resist the urge to just reach up under my chin and twist to get that nice pop that will relieve some of that tension. Did I mention it’s been a stressful day and it’s late in the afternoon? 

After I’d been seeing Dr. Ranicki for a few weeks, one day right after he had finished my adjustment, I got up from the table and stood up. As Dr. Ranicki was making notes on my chart, I casually cracked my own neck. RIGHT in front of him. He looked up at me and said, alarmingly, “What are you doing???”

Here’s the funny thing – I had developed such an unconscious habit that I honestly didn’t even realize I had done it. I said, “What are you talking about?” 

“You just cracked your own neck right after I got finished adjusting you. You’re basically undoing the work I just did. Don’t do that.” 

I think my first thought was, “What’s the difference between you adjusting it and me cracking it just a bit?” Thankfully, before I could utter those words out loud, Dr. Ranicki explained, “Listen, if you had a toothache, would you buy your own drill set and fix your own cavity? I wouldn’t recommend you or 
anyone I cared about do their own dental work. In the same way, I wouldn’t recommend you adjusting your own neck. Trust me, this is why you are coming to me.”

A chiropractor like Dr. Ranicki has the training and skill to isolate just the problem areas and give just
the right amount of pressure needed to correct any subluxations that exist. When you or I just—on our own—casually give our neck a good crack, we are almost assuredly overextending ligaments and, over time, doing great damage to the health and stability of the neck. If you are feeling stress and wanting to relieve some tension, check out this great video Dr. Rancki posted about how to get some relief without doing the dangerous cracking. And obviously, nothing will help you more with overall neck health (not to mention the health benefits associated) than stopping by for an evaluation from Dr. Ranicki.