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Headache is one of the most common complaints heard in a doctor’s office. There are many types of headache, but no headache should be taken lightly. It is important to determine the underlying cause. They can arise from nerve irritation, muscle tension, sinuses, vascular or hormonal imbalances or serious pathological disorders. Pain is one of the body’s warning systems: it should never be masked with pain medication until the causes of the pain have been determined.

Most headaches have all or part of their origin in structural problems or spinal misalignments. These can be caused by falls, blows to the head, whiplash injuries, jarring injuries to the spine, poor posture or nervous tension.

The most common headache due to spinal imbalance is the recurrent muscle tension headache. It may begin as a dull ache at the base of the skull and progress to a piercing pain radiating to the top of the skull and along the sides of the head to the temples and behind the eyes. Gentle pressure may reveal tender spots in the scalp and extreme tenderness where the skull meets the neck. This is the area of the first cervical vertebra. The headaches often occur in the morning, ease off during the day, and recur later in the afternoon or evening.

Other types of headache, such as migraines or sinus headaches often are due to a combination of factors, including spinal misalignment. For this reason, correction of spinal problems may reduce them or eliminate them altogether.

Headaches of sudden onset, in the absence of previous episodes, should be referred to your general practitioner to rule out any pathological process. Chronic headaches, or those for which an underlying disease process have been ruled out, also should never be ignored.

A chiropractor can tell you whether there may be a spinal cause for your headaches. If correction of the imbalances provides relief, you have the comfort of knowing that you are getting to the cause of the problem rather than simply relieving the symptoms.

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