Headaches can be a real, well, headache and while reaching for the painkillers is often an automatic response, getting to the root cause of the problem is a far healthier approach.
Dr Daniel Shakespeare of Life Rebel Chiropractic says that a headache is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong.
The chances are that migraine that kept you off work last week, or the headache you put down to a long, stressful day is a symptom of something else entirely.
“It’s a bit like a fire alarm going off, it’s a warning but the real issue is the fire itself.
Just as you wouldn’t try to silence the alarm rather than put the fire out, masking the pain with medication is not the solution either,” he explains.
Headaches, says Dr Daniel Shakespeare are a symptom of deeper dysfunction in the body, more often than not stemming, or exacerbated by, spinal dysfunction.
“Many people think that getting a headache is normal. It most definitely is not. That pain in your head is an indication of loss of health and function often from postural issues in the neck or possibly the pelvis.”
The key to establishing where the problem lies may be to investigate with an x-ray or surface EMG.
These investigations are taken while the patient stands, giving a clearer view of how the body performs when it is functioning rather than lying down.
“In the instance where someone has a ‘forward head carriage’ from time spent looking at a phone or screen for long periods, the spine is under pressure as the natural curve in the neck is stretched.
“The best way to see this in situ - the standing x-ray gives us a view of how the spine performs when the person is upright.”
It is this continuous tension on the spine that leads to headaches and in the long term further problems in the vertebrae such as spurs.
In fact, today’s prolific use of technology, not just in the workplace but perhaps more significantly in younger generations is having a huge impact on spinal health.
“Many of our clients are children or teenagers who are experiencing headaches and or neck pain that is a direct result of looking downwards at screens for extended periods.
Some of the level of dysfunction we see in young people is quite alarming and will only continue to get worse over time,” says Daniel.
Chiropractic adjustments can address the spinal dysfunction that leads to headaches by returning the spinal structure to its correct alignment, easing tension.
The trick says Shakespeare is to start early and avoid the temptation to ignore pain.
“The younger a person is the quicker the body will respond and the sooner someone experiencing headaches is seen, the faster we can find the problem.”