If you are plagued with countless amounts of headaches where the cause is inconceivable and expensive headache medicine only seems to subdue the problem, it may be time to pay a visit to your local chiropractor.
James D. Raker, Doctor of Chiropractic at Ark-La-Tex Health Center for over 25 years, opens up about the connection between headaches and chiropractic care and how headaches can be solved through chiropractic care.
“From a research standpoint, there are two classes of headaches, headaches caused by an anatomic problem, like a tumor in the brain or a blood vessel in the brain that’s bursting. Those are the serious, go to the surgeon,kind of thing,” said Dr. Raker, “other headaches are functional headaches, which means that everything is there and everything is anatomically correct but there’s something functionally that’s not working right that is creating these headaches.”
“The good thing is that the vast majority of people have functional headaches,” said Raker. “Medicine can only cover up the pain, like getting a novocain shot for a bad tooth. If every time you went to the dentist for a toothache he numbed it with a shot, then told you to go home, after a while wouldn’t you say quit covering up the pain and fix the problem!”
“When it’s a functional problem, we know that most headaches are triggered by the muscles and the joints around where the head and the neck meet together, which is mostly what chiropractors work with and solve very easily, the muscles and joint problems of the neck,“ said Dr. Raker.
Chiropractic and headaches connect through issues such as a decrease in blood flow to part of the head, and also through the problems with the nerves running into the back of the head being irritated.
“Nerves conduct electrical signals and if a nerve gets irritated it can get too much signal and feel bad, or it can get too little and feel bad, either way, if a nerve is not running at its optimum speed, you can have a problem,” said Dr.Raker.
Dr. Raker notes that chiropractic can affect the nerve flow, and muscle spasms around the base of the neck thereby relieving headaches and joint pain.
“All these things, the joints, muscles and nerves must work together,” said Dr. Raker.
“Say for instance there is a joint that is stuck at the top part of the neck, and because of that there is joint pain, the muscles around it start to tighten up and then the nerves going through those muscles that go up to the head are getting irritated, so it starts an avalanche of things that are going wrong, causing neck pain, muscle spasms, and headaches,” said Dr. Raker.
“We loosen up the muscles, get the joints to line up straight and move properly, it’s like everything relaxes, so the muscle pain goes away, the squeezing of the nerves go away, the nerves quit being irritated, and the blood vessels relax, and the headaches go away.”
When asked about the treatment plan for those plagued with headaches, Dr. Raker said it is tailored for each person.
He begins by doing a history with each individual, this includes factors such as stress, and traumas, like old auto accidents or sports injuries.
“A good history tells us a lot about what’s going on and the direction we need to go,” said Dr. Raker. Next is a physical exam of the spine.
Then Dr. Raker looks at some diagnostics such as CAT scans, X rays and MRI’s to figure out the problem.
Kristen Larey, a patient of Dr. Raker’s, discussed her issues with headaches and how Dr. Raker’s techniques has caused them to completely subside.
Larey began having headaches every day since January 2015, and after consulting Dr. Raker, Larey learned that it was her spine not supporting her head and she was set up on a treatment plan to cure her headaches.
“The first visit that I went to Dr. Raker, he did some X rays and showed me some deformities I had in my spine, and showed me some exercises I could do at home to start strengthening my neck and my spine, and he adjusted my spine and I haven’t had a headache since.“
Larey said she would absolutely recommend this to anybody experiencing headaches.
“Medication only covers up the headache it doesn’t treat it, Dr. Raker treated the cause of the headache,” said Larey.
“The first day I adjusted her, her headaches were gone instantly. She’d been fighting them for months and been on several medications,” said Dr. Raker, “The medicines are expensive and have a bunch of weird side effects.”
“I try to take a problem that medicine only masks but does not cure, and try to sort out the ones that I can actually fix and get it to where they don’t have to take medicine and things are normal again,” said Dr. Raker. “I have about an 80% success rate whereby people no longer have to take medication for headaches”
Dr. Raker said “to maintain good health and prevent headaches, one needs to treat it like any other deficiency or illness.”
“Headaches are like diabetes, blood pressure, or anything else, you have an issue, it needs to be fixed, controlled, dealt with, you have to maintain health by eating right and exercising. You can not be overweight and inactive, and ask why do I have these issues” said Dr. Raker.
Dr. Raker said that “stress and lack of proper spine exercise could be the causes of functional problems. “
“The muscles get contracted up and tight, which is another reason why everyone should be told how to take care of your spine,” said Dr Raker. “What nobody gets told is that they should exercise their neck and back. Nobody does spinal core exercise. If everyone did those exercises we’d have a whole lot less of back, neck and headache problems.”
Dr. Raker also included that in the past, there was a medical contention that chiropractic manipulation of the neck could be dangerous due to stroke implications. After about 10 years of research, there are well designed studies that say the incidence of stroke after going to a chiropractor is actually a fraction of a percent lower than the incidence of stroke after going to your family practice doctor’s office.
“Basically there is no correlation between chiropractic adjustment of the neck and stroke,” said Dr. Raker.
note: This is a featured article paid for by the Ark-La-Tex Health Center