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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.

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

Trigger 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.

Avoid Headache Triggers

  • Stress may be a trigger, but certain foods, odors, menstrual periods, and changes in weather are among many factors that may also trigger headache.
  • 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.

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Great people -- friendly, caring, knowledgeable and accommodating. Doc Eulo and his staff do the job with the utmost of attention to patient needs and concerns. The range of services offered by this practice is considerable, including things beyond the ordinary chiropractics such as orthotic appliances with professional evaluation and fitting, dietary evaluations and supplements, and USDOT Physical Examinations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles."
    - C P.
  • "Doc Eulo is nothing short of amazing. The staff is excellent. I said the same thing about them 21 years ago when I first starting going to Dr. Eulo. Back then he took care of me and my aching back when I was pregnant, and even adjusted my newborn!"
    - Robin W.
  • "Dr. Eulo is awesome, he worked on my aches and pains in my back and upper legs by exercising and massaging them within a 6 month period 3 times a week I can truly say I am pain free, his caring and kindness helps too. I was able to connect not also with him by with his family too, they treated me with loving kindness, I will never forget him and will recommend him to anyone who needs a good Doctor."
    - Ollie H.
  • "Dr Eulo is the best of the best and he is the coolest doctor that I know. August 2015 I was involved in a car accident, someone referred him to me, the first day I walked into his office I was in so much pain from my head to toe, I was a mess, three times a week for 6 months he was working on my aches and pains and I am here to tell you I'm pain free. Every time I walked in his office he put on my R & B Oldies did I say he was the coolest yes I did, he makes you feel very comfortable like one of the family , he has an awesome personality and a great staff too. I would recommend him to anyone, he is definitely one in a million."
    - Constance G.
  • "Went to Dr. Eulo for treatment from an auto accident. The Dr. and his staff are very professional and makes your visit very pleasant. His knowledge and practice helped me very much with my injuries and I'm glad I chose Dr. Eulo as my chiropractor. If you're looking for a chiropractor, Eulo Chiropractic Center is the place to go!"
    - William B.
  • "It is always a pleasure to go see Dr. Eulo. He is a very positive, caring and knowledgeable doctor. You will always leave his office with a smile on your face. His office is beautiful and the staff is very friendly and professional. Dr. Eulo has successfully treated me for a frozen shoulder when an orthopedic surgeon thought that I would need surgery. My shoulder is fine now thanks to Dr. Eulo. He has also treated me for severe back spasms when I could hardly walk. Within a few days of treatment the pain was greatly diminished and now it is gone completely. He is the best.Thanks Dr. Eulo!"
    - Carol S.
  • "Dr. Eulo's treatments for my neck and back pain have been super helpful. He gives a thorough adjustment of neck, back and all joints and follows it up by a nice, relaxing massage bed. I leave the office feeling restored and like my body is back in it's best working condition. The office is neat and professional and Dr. Eulo is very down to earth, spends time with me and truly cares about my overall health. I've been to many chiropractors over many years, so I know a good chiropractor when I see him! Good vibes there - give it a try! :)"
    - KellySue F.
  • "Dr. Eulo is the BEST chiropractor, hands down. The staff is friendly, the office is always clean, and Dr. Eulo is the nicest doctor. I have anxiety when it comes to doctors and going for "check ups" but Dr. Eulo makes me feel comfortable. I wish he could be my doctor for everything! I would recommend Dr. Eulo in a heart beat."
    - Ashley J.