Chronic Headache Treatments in Chicago, IL
Everyone is bound to get a headache now and then. But when you are suffering from headaches multiple times a week, the problem can be nearly debilitating. When days with headaches are more common than days without headaches, for at least three months, you are suffering from chronic headaches.
What are Chronic Headaches?
At some point in your life, you have felt the symptoms of a headache, an aching and throbbing pain that usually goes away with over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen. But when does it become chronic? Chronic daily headaches are when you have consistent headaches for 15 days or more. Adults, teens, and children can have chronic headaches, and the causes can vary. Seeking treatment for headaches that happen frequently is crucial because there may be underlying issues that pose a very serious risk to your health and your future. Chronic headaches interfere with your daily life and need to be attended to immediately. There are different types of headaches that can occur, such as:
Tension Headaches- They feel like someone placed a tight band around your head and continues to apply pressure. They can be caused by stress, infections, and fatigue, among other causes.
Migraines- An intense throbbing that occurs on both sides of the head. It is easy to diagnose a migraine if light and noise worsen the pain.
Cluster Headaches- These occur on and off and usually cause pain on one side of the head.
What are the Causes of Chronic Headaches & How Can they be Treated?
The causes of chronic headaches range from minor and rather common problems that are easily addressed, to incredibly serious medical conditions. Some of the more serious causes of headaches are inflammation of blood vessels (up to and including stroke), infections (e.g. meningitis), brain tumors, or a traumatic brain injury. Because these are serious medical conditions, if you are experiencing chronic headaches, you should seek medical care to rule out these problems.
Once a doctor has ruled out these more serious underlying conditions as the cause of your chronic headaches, they may not be able to pin down any other underlying factor that is causing your headaches. Most physicians at this point will prescribe medication to attempt to prevent your headaches. This could be an antidepressant, a beta blocker, anti-seizure medications, prescriptions strength anti-inflammatories, or injections of botulinum toxin (the same substance used in the popular facial rejuvenating injection, Botox). However, if you are suffering from chronic headaches, it is well worth attempting to unlock the puzzle of your headaches, rather than simply medicating them away. While over-the-counter pain medications may get rid of your headaches, it isn’t healthy to take most pain medications for more than nine days per month. For other chronic headache sufferers, over-the-counter pain medication may not work at all, or only works when the patient takes more than the recommended amount.
Furthermore, one other common cause of chronic headaches is the overuse of pain medication, either over-the-counter or prescription. If you are taking pain medication (for headaches or other issues) more than nine days a week and experience headaches on days when you do not take the medication, you might be suffering a minor form of withdrawal from the pain medication. This is yet another reason that pain medication should not be treated as a cure-all for regularly occurring headaches.
We strongly encourage patients who are suffering from chronic headaches and who have ruled out more serious underlying conditions to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors and to see if chiropractic intervention can help reduce or eliminate their headaches before turning to prescription medications. Chiropractic treatments for chronic headaches aim to help the body heal itself. They do not involve medication and are completely non-invasive techniques. They are therefore significantly safer and pose fewer risks to the patient’s long-term health.
Symptoms of Chronic Headaches
What are Some Other Symptoms of Chronic Headaches?
The symptoms of chronic headaches can have a different effect on everyone. The constant symptom is head pain that can involve intense throbbing, tightening, and unbearable pain. The pain can trigger other symptoms such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to lights or sounds
- Tearing up of the eyes
- Stuffy and runny noses
Lifestyle Changes for Chronic Headache Relief
Though the direct cause of your chronic headaches will remain unknown without the help of a medical professional, your doctor may recommend that you make lifestyle changes to prevent triggering them. Some common changes can include:
- Taking a break. One of the leading causes of headaches is too much stress. So whether it be getting some extra help around the house or taking some time off of work, it is necessary so that the problem does not worsen.
- Stop consuming high amounts of caffeine. You may become reliant on it, and if you go without those cups of coffee, it is an easy trigger. But don’t stop completely; if you constantly consume caffeine, it is best to quit gradually.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine changes the mass of blood vessels in your brain and irritates your throat. Stop smoking and stay away from people when they are smoking to avoid chronic headaches.
How are Headaches Diagnosed?
Headaches are not an immediate sign of serious health problems, but when they are consistent, you need to see a physician. Depending on the signs, occurrence, and symptoms of your headaches, your doctor may refer you to a neurologist. Your doctor may ask you questions like:
- How often do you get them?
- How long do they last?
- Where do you feel the pain?
- Do your headaches occur after certain activities?
- What other symptoms, if any, happen alongside head pain?
- What medications are you taking?
If specialists believe that chronic headaches can be treated by chiropractic care, we are the best clinic in the Chicagoland area certified to treat you. We will take the time to understand your condition and provide a detailed personal plan targeted to you and your life. Get relief today with Advanced Spine and Sports Care.
When is a headache an emergency?
Most headaches, even chronic ones, are not a medical emergency. But there are some exceptions to this. If you answer “yes” to any of the following, please seek immediate medical care:
- Did your headache come on suddenly and is it particularly severe?
- Do you also have a fever, stiff neck, confusion, double vision, weakness, numbness, difficulty speaking or have you suffered a seizure?
- Have you had a recent head injury?
- Has your headache worsened even though you have rested and taken pain medication?
These events signal that your headache might need immediate medical attention. While it may turn out that your headache is run of the mill, don’t take a chance when you experience one or more of these symptoms.
When to See a Headache Specialist
If you are experiencing chronic headaches, it is essential that you don't think the worst. To get the best treatment, don't guess and see a doctor immediately. If you experience the following:
- Three or more headaches in a week
- Headaches that get worse even though you use over the counter medication.
- The pain is always unbearable, and you are constantly using medication to ease it.
- Headaches interfere with work, school, sports, sleeping patterns, etc.
Book an appointment with your doctor, explain your symptoms, and they will attend to you immediately. If you are unsure about your pain, you have any questions, or you may suspect you need chiropractic treatment, do not hesitate to contact Advanced Spine and Sports Care to talk with a certified and experienced specialist today!
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Treat Chronic Headaches
Contact Advanced Spine and Sports Care For More Information Regarding Chronic Headache Treatments
Chiropractic care offers a number of ways to tackle chronic headaches because chiropractors are aware that a headache is one of the body’s ways to signal that something is amiss. In many cases, chronic headaches are due to a misalignment in the head, neck, and spine, which irritates nerves or constricts blood vessels just enough to create a headache, but not enough to be a medical emergency. Muscle tension can be a product of our cause misalignment and can also restrict nerves and blood vessels.
A chiropractor will ask you about your headache history and do a simple, painless examination of your spine. This may reveal subluxations (a misaligned vertebrae in the spine) that could be impinging nerves. These nerves could be the cause of the headaches, or the nerves might be causing muscle pain and tension, that, in turn, is creating the pressure that is underlying the headaches. Some chronic headache sufferers are lucky enough to receive instant relief from gentle chiropractic adjustments when they are suffering from headaches. For others, a series of treatments over time may reduce the frequency and/or intensity of headaches. With continued regular chiropractic care, chronic headaches may become a thing of the past, without the use of heavy medications.
Chronic headaches occur for 15 days or more, there are many different types of headaches, and it is important to seek medical attention right away. At Advanced Spine and Sports Care, our team of specialists is ready to assist you in any way they can and provide a plan that can get you back to living a healthy life free of headaches. Do not let chronic headaches hold you back any longer; get the help that you need today. You shouldn't have to live with pain, and we at Advanced Spine and Sports Care can help. Are you suffering? Contact us immediately and book your consultation; we will stop at nothing to find a solution that works.