Chiropractors can help people suffering from migraines by adjusting the neck and head to get the body in alignment. This normalizes nerve function thus releasing nerve pressure in the head.

What are the main causes of headaches?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: By far, the number one cause of headache is misalignments in the neck, so your neck is out of alignment. What that does is that can compress the jugular vein, and so what that does is it basically slows down proper blood drainage from the skull, from the cranial vault they call it, but that’s from the skull. It is almost like having a partially clogged pipe, so your toilet doesn’t drain like it should. Same kind of thing when your upper neck is out of alignment. Now you get old blood in the head around the brain, and that is something you really don’t want. That can cause a lot of headaches. You can also get cerebral spinal fluid flow problems. That can create a lot of brain stem pressure. That can create headaches or migraines. Then, of course, just when you are out of alignment, your muscles, some are over-engaged, some are under-engaged, so now you get muscular tension and joint pressure, which creates swelling and nerve pressure. All of that can create a headache.

Next, if you have a minor headache that is there all the time, dehydration. Look at dehydration. That happens a lot. Then also look at if you have kind of a low-grade headache consistently, then you can also look at hormone function, especially the thyroid glandular function. You probably want to do a saliva test to check that. Definitely, the most common cause, especially if they are severe, is your upper neck being out of alignment.

How can the demands of daily life contribute to triggering headaches?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: Okay, so you are out of alignment. Your muscles, some of them are already overworked because they are trying to hold your head up, hold your body up in gravity in a way they’re not supposed to. Now you add some mental or emotional stress from maybe work or just physical stress, you got a really hard job or you’re sitting at a computer for hours on end, any of those things can increase the tension in the body and thus create a headache.

How can chiropractic care help patients find headache relief?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: It is actually pretty simple. You’re out of alignment, and upper cervical chiropractic care, especially the NUCCA and Orthospinology techniques, are going to get you in alignment. We are going to get that head and neck balanced over the body, which is going to normalize muscle function, so a lot of that muscular tension, soreness, and achiness disappears. You are going to normalize nerve function. A lot of that nerve pressure, pinching in the nerves, that goes away. Then the soft tissues also will heal and normalize. You are moving the jugular vein. The blood will drain properly from the brain. CSF flow will happen properly. Sometimes you’ve got to get in afterwards and really work out muscle contracture, and soft tissue contracture, and things like that also in the fascia. But first, you want to get the head and neck in good alignment, and then go in and you can fix any minor things that happen after that.

Do you have any other advice on how patients can prevent headaches?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: The easy way to prevent it is, first of all, go to a specific upper cervical chiropractor that does the NUCCA or the Orthospinology technique, N-U-C-C-A, and get some X-rays.  And if your neck is out, get it fixed. If you get the neck in good alignment, you are virtually going to eliminate all headaches.

If you do that, but you’re still getting headaches, next let’s drink some water. Take your body weight, divide it by two, so if you’re 200 pounds, that’s 100. Drink 100 ounces of water a day. It’s a lot. You will go to the bathroom a little bit more, but that will normalize. The analogy I use is if a pot, a plant, if it hasn’t been watered in a while, the soil gets really hard. If you dump a bunch of water in it, a lot of water comes out right away because the soil can’t absorb it. Same thing when you start drinking water a lot. A lot of water comes out right away, so you go to the bathroom a lot more. Once you get that soil softened, it absorbs the water and it doesn’t spill out. Same thing. Once your body gets used to it, you go to the bathroom much less. Really important to get tons of water. Half your body weight in ounces is the minimum. If you are very, very active, say you’re a 200-pound person but you run a lot, you are very, very active for your job, then you are probably going to want 120, 150 ounces of water a day. Get plenty of water.

Then next, if you do that, those two things, you get your atlas fixed, you drink plenty of water, it still has not improved, now let’s look at your glandular hormone function. You are probably going to go to maybe a chiropractor, or a doctor of naturopathy, or someone who is going to most likely do a saliva test that is going to test your glandular function, looking at cortisol, testosterone, all those kinds of things, looking specifically at the thyroid, but then also how the adrenals is working with the thyroid. Then, many times, on top of that, you can get it fixed.

If you are interested in speaking with Dr. F.J. Schofield visit westbendchiropractor.com or call 262-334-8188 to schedule an appointment.

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