According to the latest research, 9% of men and 12% of women in the U.S. experience at least 1-2 headache episodes per month. And, more than 4% of the U.S. population suffers from frequent headaches, defined as headaches that occur at least 180 days a year. Needless to say, headaches have become a social and economic burden in the United States, as well as other parts of the world.
Scientists have identified over 300 causes for headaches. Various pain-sensitive structures and tissues including the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles, arteries, periosteal bone covering, and the upper cervical and facial nerves produce headaches when irritated or injured. Fortunately, only a handful of causes are responsible for the majority of headaches.
The most common of these headaches include:
- Cervicogenic- problems within the neck
- Muscle-tension- neck and upper back muscular spasms
- Post-traumatic- following head/neck trauma, i.e. whiplash
- Drug-induced- from analgesic overuse
Doctors of chiropractic successfully help thousands of individuals everyday obtain safe, effective, long-term relief from their headaches. This is because most headaches have a spinal, muscular, or habitual component which the chiropractor has been trained to identify and treat. In fact, surveys show that 10-25% of patients initiate chiropractic care for the relief of headaches.
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Motor Vehicle Accidents & Headaches
Headaches are the second most common complaint following motor vehicle accidents (MVA's). Like the many other MVA symptoms, headache may not be present immediately following the accident and may take several weeks and often months to eventually surface.
Most post-traumatic headaches are thought to originate from the soft tissues and facet joints of the neck as well as injury or irritation to the nerves of the upper cervical spine.
The literature has shown there to be multiple types of headaches which can be experienced following a MVA. These include the following:
- Cervicogenic Headaches
- Muscle Tension Headaches
- Migraine Headaches
- Myofascial Trigger Point Headaches
- Site-Of-Impact Headaches
- Drug-Induced Headaches (following excessive or prolonged analgesic use)