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Hometown Chiropractic

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1651 Carey Avenue, Suite 1C
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Phone: 307-426-4321
Fax: 307-426-4320

Office Hours

Day
Monday9:00 - 6:00
Tuesday9:00 - 6:00
Wednesday9:00 - 6:00
Thursday9:00 - 6:00
Friday9:00 - 6:00
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed
Main Content

Headaches

Headaches are common, but they're not normal!

tension_headache.png
Most people describe a tension headache as a feeling of a tight band or dull ache around the head or behind the eyes. A common cause of tension headaches is subluxations in the upper back and neck.

 

Headaches affect just about everyone at some point and they can present themselves in many different ways. Some people only experience pain in one part of their head or behind their eyes, some people experience a pounding sensation inside their whole head, and some people even experience nausea, while others do not. The pain itself may be dull or sharp and may last for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Fortunately, very few headaches have serious underlying causes, but those that do, require urgent medical attention.

Although headaches can be due to a wide variety of causes, such as drug reactions, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), tightness in the neck muscles, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, stress and fatigue, the majority of recurrent headaches are of two types: tension headaches (also called cervicogenic headaches) and migraine headaches. There is a third, less common, type of headaches called a cluster headache that is a cousin to the migraine. Let's start out by taking a look at each of these three types of headaches.

Tension Headaches
Migraine Headaches
Cluster Headaches

Hidden Cause

A common cause of headaches is from spinal bones in the neck that aren't supporting the head properly. You might not notice your reduced ability to turn your head. But these subluxations affect nerves, muscles and even the blood supply to your head.

Our thorough examination detects subluxation patterns that could be causing your headaches. If subluxations are present, you're likely to benefit from chiropractic care.

Compensation Reaction

Some are surprised to learn that their headaches are being caused by problems in their lower back! The upper spine compensates, shifting the head off center, causing headaches.

While we can't guarantee results we have a high success rate with practice members who get headaches. Give us a call. Let's sit down and discuss your unique situation.

Chiropractic Care for Headaches

Numerous research studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments are very effective for treating tension headaches, especially headaches that originate in the neck. A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that "spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than commonly prescribed medications." These findings support an earlier study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that found spinal manipulative therapy to be very effective for treating tension headaches. This study also found that those who stopped chiropractic treatment after four weeks continued to experience a sustained benefit in contrast to those patients who received pain medication.

Each individual's case is different and requires a thorough evaluation before a proper course of chiropractic care can be determined. However, in most cases of tension headaches, significant improvement is accomplished through manipulation of the upper two cervical vertebrae, coupled with adjustments to the junction between the cervical and thoracic spine. This is also helpful in most cases of migraine headaches, as long as food and lifestyle triggers are avoided as well.

Headache Trigger Points

imagesCAL44B3Y.jpgTrigger point therapy for headaches tends to involve four muscles: the Splenius muscles, the Suboccipitals, the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and the Trapezius. The Splenius muscles are comprised of two individual muscles - the Splenius Capitis and the Splenius Cervicis. Both of these muscles run from the upper back to either the base of the skull (splenius capitis) or the upper cervical vertebrae (splenius cervicis). Trigger points in the Splenius muscles are a common cause of headache pain that travels through the head to the back of the eye, as well as to the top of the head.

The Suboccipitals are actually a group of four small muscles that are responsible for maintaining the proper movement and positioning between the first cervical vertebra and the base of the skull. Trigger points in these muscles will cause pain that feels like it's inside the head, extending from the back of the head to the eye and forehead. Often times it will feel like the whole side of the head hurts, a pain pattern similar to that experienced with a migraine.

The Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle runs from the base of the skull, just behind the ear, down the side of the neck to attach to the top of the sternum (breastbone). Although most people are not aware of the SCM trigger points, their effects are widespread, including referred pain, balance problems and visual disturbances. Referred pain patterns tend to be deep eye pain, headaches over the eye and can even cause earaches. Another unusual characteristic of SCM trigger points is that they can cause dizziness, nausea and unbalance.
The trapezius muscle is the very large, flat muscle in the upper and mid back. A common trigger point located in the very top of the Trapezius muscle refers pain to the temple and back of the head and is sometimes responsible for headache pain. This trigger point is capable of producing satellite trigger points in the muscles in the temple or jaw, which can lead to jaw or tooth pain.

Avoidance of Headaches Triggers

  • Stress may be a trigger, but certain foods, odors, menstrual periods, and changes in weather are among many factors that may also trigger headaches.
  • Emotional factors such as depression, anxiety, frustration, letdown, and even pleasant excitement may be associated with developing a headache. 
  • Keeping a headache diary will help you determine whether factors such as food, change in weather, and/or mood have any relationship to your headache pattern. 
  • Repeated exposure to nitrite compounds can result in a dull, pounding headache that may be accompanied by a flushed face. Nitrite, which dilates blood vessels, is found in such products as heart medicine and dynamite, but is also used as a chemical to preserve meat. Hot dogs and other processed meats containing sodium nitrite can cause headaches. 
  • Eating foods prepared with monosodium glutamate (MSG) can result in headache. Soy sauce, meat tenderizer, and a variety of packaged foods contain this chemical which is touted as a flavor enhancer.
  • Headache can also result from exposure to poisons, even common household varieties like insecticides, carbon tetrachloride, and lead. Children who ingest flakes of lead paint may develop headaches. So may anyone who has contact with lead batteries or lead-glazed pottery. 
  • Foods that are high in the amino acid tyramine should also be avoided, such as ripened cheeses (cheddar, brie), chocolate, as well as any food pickled or fermented foods.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Is the spine the source of all headaches?
Not necessarily. The three most common causes are physical trauma, emotional stress or chemical toxins. Sometimes there may be a combination of factors. Our examination process helps identify the most likely cause.

What causes subluxations?
There are three basic causes of subluxations. Physical causes could include slips and falls, accidents, repetitive motions, and improper lifting. Emotions, such as stress, anger and fear can cause of subluxations. Chemical causes could include alcohol, drugs, preservatives, pollution and poor diet.

I was told it was "all in my head." Now what?
The pain you feel is real. And psychological sources of pain are common. However, this "diagnosis" is often the last resort of health practitioners who have exhausted their possible explanations of the cause of your problem. In these cases, we've often found that undetected subluxations are likely culprits.

How many visits will it take?
Some practice members enjoy results quickly. Others notice a slow decline in their symptoms after several weeks or longer of chiropractic care. It's impossible to predict. If you've had chronic headaches for many years, improvement can take time. We monitor your progress and modify our recommendations as needed.

What if chiropractic care doesn't help?
If we're unable to find and correct the cause of your particular health problem, we will refer to other experts who may be able to help. Your health and your satisfaction are our only goal.

How come my medical doctor didn't suggest chiropractic?
That's changing. Years of prejudice and bias are giving way to research showing the benefits of chiropractic care. Attitudes are slow to change. However, as the public demands alternatives to drugs and surgery, more and more medical practitioners are referring to chiropractors.

Contact us today!

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Services We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide. Make An Appointment We will do our best to accommodate your busy schedule. Schedule an appointment today! Online Forms Our patient forms are available online so they can be completed in the convenience of your own home or office.

Testimonial

"We have been to several, I mean several chiropractors and Dr Walton was the only one that gave us what we wanted....he LISTENED and ACTED! It is not everyday you find that one specialist who listens and understands what you are saying. He is exceptionally talented!! We love that he offers the best for you and your condition and follows what healing process is best for YOU! He listens!! We love him and like I said we have been to several chiropractors and my husband is really picky. But with Dr Walton we found what we were looking for honest, easy to talk to, availability and great skill. We walk in hurting and walk out healed! You are awesome Dr Walton!"

 - Brandee

Office Hours

Day
Monday9:00 - 6:00
Tuesday9:00 - 6:00
Wednesday9:00 - 6:00
Thursday9:00 - 6:00
Friday9:00 - 6:00
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed

Meet the Doctor

Meet Dr. Walton Dr. Walton was raised in Riverton where he graduated from Riverton High School in 2001. While in high school he was very active participating in basketball, track, and tennis. He enjoys getting out in the fresh Wyoming air and enjoying the outdoors, and loves to participate in any sport possible. Read More

Contact

  • 307-426-4321
  • 1651 Carey Avenue, Suite 1C Cheyenne, WY 82001
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