As a provider of holistic health care, Dr. Ayouby believes it’s important for patients and doctors to work together as a team. With that in mind, Dr. Ay-ouby is focusing this week’s Optimal Health University® prevention topic on hidden headache instigators — and what patients can do to halt head pain in its tracks.
When spinal bones (vertebrae) are misaligned, the result is a common condition known as vertebral sub¬luxation. This, in turn, restricts the movement of nerves and muscles: an underlying cause of headache. Dr. Ayouby restores alignment and movement to the spine with safe, gentle maneuvers known as chiropractic adjustments.
Migraine and tension-type headaches are often present in patients reporting neck pain, according to researchers in Australia (Cephalalgia 2007;27:793¬802).
When neck muscles stiffen and contract — a chain of events frequently sparked by poor posture — the result is a tug-of-war with spinal bones: a scenario that often leads to the development of vertebral subluxation. That’s why medications often fail to alleviate headaches; they focus on symptoms without addressing the root, underlying cause. Chiropractic care, on the other hand, gets to the heart of the matter.
Numerous studies illustrate that chiro¬practic care successfully relieves neck pain and related tension. For instance, in one study of 119 patients, neck pain was reduced by a whopping 54 per¬cent after four weeks of chiropractic care (approximately 12 visits). And all without drugs (I Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000;23:307).
Headache is commonly associated with temporomandibular disorder (TMD): the latter being a possible trigger or perpetuating factor (Dent Clin North Am 2007;51:129-44). TMD is an acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects the lower jaw to the skull. A study of 1,940 children illustrated the TMD/headache link when it revealed that “the most com¬mon symptom of TMD was headache.” (I Oral Rehabil 2003;30:1200.) Eye Strain Another well-known instigator of headache is eye strain. Glaring com¬puter monitors and vision difficulties (due to lack of corrective glasses or lenses) are two of the most common causes of eye strain.
Flickering fluo¬rescent lights also spark eye strain and headaches. In the case of uncorrected hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism (irregularly shaped corneas), the eye’s muscles have to work harder to keep an image in focus — leading to tired or aching eyes, poor concentration, headaches and blurring of vision: particularly with close-up work.
Dehydration — another common origin of headache — is also one of the most simple to remedy. To demon¬strate this, researchers in the Netherlands enrolled 18 patients in a pilot study. All of the individuals suffered from migraine headache. In addition, two also had tension-type headache. Patients received either placebo (fake) medication or advice to drink 1.51 times more water than they typically consumed every day for 12 weeks
There was no reported change in the placebo group. However, those who boosted their water intake “reduced the total hours of headache in two weeks by 21 hours.” Headache intensity also plummeted (Eur J Neurol 2005;12:715-8).