It’s remarkable to consider how many different types of pain relievers there are for headaches. Not just the corner drug stores but also supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations keep an abundant supply. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, is consumed daily in America by the truckloads.
Have you ever thought about how we approach a health problem or symptom? Too often it’s a knee-jerk reaction where we pop a pill for whatever ill. Rarely do we ask why there is a headache? What is causing this headache?
It is very well established that there are many causes for headaches. Chemical imbalances in the body can of course cause head pain such as in dehydration or intoxication.
But in large part, the pill stock in gas stations isn’t targeted to the occasional hangover, it supplies the masses who suffer with tension headaches, migraines, and headaches due to mechanical neck disorders (e.g. whiplash). So what is the pill actually doing chemically? This varies from pill to pill. The side effects can range from stomach bleeding, to liver and kidney problems. Most people who take these medications have pain for years and decades. It is long-term use that is especially detrimental to the body. Headaches are a chronic disease and it is likely there will be triggers for you for many years to come.
Prescription NSAIDs and pain pills are usually much more powerful unless you’re doubling up on over-the-counter drugs. With prescription patches and pills it is easy to get addicted if taken over the long run.
But there is a different way to see the problem than the chemical approach. Although the mode of action of these different drugs changes, an important fact remains that they do not treat mechanical problems of the neck. If your headache is being caused by a joint injury in the neck, no amount of drug can correct this postural fault.
How would I know if my headache is really a spine problem? It could be that you notice stiffness in the neck or maybe it’s harder to look over one shoulder. If your headaches are accompanied by a lot of shoulder and neck stiffness and tension, this is a sign of a spine cause. In some cases though, the spine symptoms are very mild, so it is easy to see why patients rarely make the connection in their minds.
Several clinical trials have shown chiropractic adjustments are effective for patients with tension-type and migraine headaches. Less immediate side effects were also noted compared to those getting drug treatment.
By identifying the cause of your headache, you’ve changed your thinking to looking past the pain and asking why?