Back Clinic Headaches & Treatment Team. The most common cause of headaches can relate to neck complications. From spending excessive time looking down at a laptop, desktop, iPad, and even from constant texting, an incorrect posture for extended periods of time can begin to place pressure on the neck and upper back, leading to problems that could cause headaches. The majority of these types of headaches occur due to tightness between the shoulder blades, which in turn causes the muscles on the top of the shoulders to tighten and radiating pain into the head.
If the source of the headaches is related to a complication of the cervical spine or other regions of the spine and muscles, chiropractic care, such as chiropractic adjustments, manual manipulation, and physical therapy, can be a good treatment option. Also, a chiropractor may often follow up chiropractic treatment with a series of exercises to improve posture and offer advice for future lifestyle improvements to avoid further complications.
Individuals that experience frequent headaches can have sensitive headache trigger points. Every case is different and requires a thorough examination before a proper and personalized chiropractic treatment plan can begin. Headaches can be brought on from a variety of causes. This could be:
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
Tightness in the neck muscles
Low blood sugar
High blood pressure
The majority of recurrent headaches fall into three types:
Tension headaches, also known as cervicogenic headaches
Tension headaches are the most common and affect around 77% of individuals experiencing chronic headaches. Most individuals describe a tension headache as a consistent dull ache on one side of the head and sometimes both sides. They are often described as having a tight band/belt around the head or behind the eyes. These headaches usually start slowly, gradually and can last for a few minutes or days. They tend to start in the middle of the day or before the end of the day.
These headaches can be the result of stress and/or poor posture. The most common cause is subluxations in the upper back and neck, usually combined with active headache trigger points. This stresses the spinal muscles in the upper back and neck. A tension headache or stress headache can last 30 minutes to a few days. Chronic tension headaches can last for months. The pain can be severe; however, these headaches are typically not associated with symptoms like throbbing, nausea, or vomiting.
If the top cervical vertebrae shift out of their position and lose their normal motion, a small muscle called the rectus capitis posterior minor/RCPM begins to spasm. This small muscle has a tendon that slips between the upper neck and the base of the skull. It attaches to a thin, sensitive tissue called the dura mater that covers the brain. The dura mater is very pain-sensitive. When the RCPM muscle goes into spasm, the tendon pulls the dura mater causing a headache. Individuals that work at a desk station for long hours tend to experience headaches from this cause. Another cause comes from referred pain caused by headache trigger points in the Sternocleidomastoid/SCM or levator muscle on the side of the neck. This cause tends to happen more to individuals that have suffered a whiplash injury with muscle damage in the neck region.
Migraines are intense and throbbing headaches that are associated with nausea and sensitivity to light or noise. They can last for a few hours to a few days. Many experience visual symptoms known as an aura just before they come on. This is described as seeing flashing lights or when things take on a dream-like appearance. However, even in individuals that don’t experience the aura, most can tell that a migraine is getting ready to present. Individuals usually have their first attack before age 30. They tend to run in families supporting a genetic component. Some have attacks several times a month, while others can have less than one a year. Most individuals find that migraines happen less and become less severe as they get older.
These headaches are caused by the constriction of blood vessels in the brain. During the constriction period, there is a decrease in blood circulation. This is followed by dilation/enlargening of the blood vessels. This is what leads to the visual symptoms. Then the blood vessels dilate, generating a rapid increase in blood pressure inside the head. This increased pressure is what leads to a pounding headache. Every time the heart beats, it sends another shock wave through the carotid arteries in the neck into the brain. There are different theories as to why the blood vessels constrict, but they are still unknown. What is known is that several factors can trigger a migraine. This includes:
Lack of sleep
Foods that are high in an amino acid known as tyramine
Cluster headaches are very short excruciating headaches. They are usually felt on one side of the head behind the eyes. These headaches affect about 1 million individuals and are more common in men. This type of headache tends to happen at night. They are called cluster headaches because they tend to happen one to four times a day over several days. After one cluster is over, it could be months or even years before they present again. Like migraines, cluster headaches cause the dilation of the blood vessels in the brain, increasing the pressure.
Headache trigger point therapy involves four muscles. These are the:
The Splenius muscles involve two individual muscles, the Splenius Capitis and the Splenius Cervicis. These muscles run along the upper back to the skull base or the upper cervical/neck vertebrae. Trigger points in the Splenius muscles are a common contributor to pain that travels through the head to the back of the eye and top of the head.
The Suboccipitals are a group of four small muscles that maintain proper movement and positioning between the first cervical vertebra and the skull base. Trigger points in these muscles can cause pain that feels like it’s happening inside the head, from the back to the eye and forehead. Individuals report that the whole side of the head hurts. This is a pain pattern similar to a migraine.
The Sternocleidomastoid muscle runs along the base of the skull, behind the ear, down the side of the neck. It attaches to the top of the sternum/breastbone. Although most are not aware of this muscle’s trigger points, the effects are evident. This includes:
Referred pain tends to be eye pain, headaches over the eye, and can even cause earaches. An unusual characteristic of SCM headache trigger points is that they can cause dizziness, nausea, and balance problems.
The trapezius muscle is the large, flat muscle in the upper and middle back. Pain can be felt in the temple and back of the head. A common trigger point is located at the top of the muscle. This particular point can activate secondary trigger pointsin the temple or jaw muscles, leading to jaw or tooth pain.
Stress can be a trigger.
Depression, anxiety, frustration, and even pleasant excitement can be associated with headache development.
A headache diary can help determine whether factors like food, weather, and/or mood correlate with headache patterns.
Repeated exposure to nitrite compounds can result in a dull headache accompanied by a flushed face. Nitrite dilates blood vessels and is found in products like heart medications, and is also used as a chemical to preserve meat. Processed meats containing sodium nitrite can contribute to headaches.
Foods prepared with monosodium glutamate or MSG can result in headaches. Soy sauce, meat tenderizers, and various packaged foods contain this chemical as a flavor enhancer.
Exposure to poisons, even household varieties like insecticides, carbon tetrachloride, and lead, can contribute.
Contact with lead batteries or lead-glazed pottery.
Foods that are high in the amino acid tyramine should be avoided. This could be ripened cheeses like cheddar, brie, chocolate, and pickled or fermented food.
Chiropractic adjustments are highly effective for treating tension headaches, especially those that originate in the neck. Research has found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement and had fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief than taking common medications. There is a significant improvement by manipulating the upper two cervical vertebrae, combined with adjustments to the area between the cervical and thoracic spine.
Body Composition Testing
Vibration exercise is believed to stimulate the muscle fibers without going to a gym or stressing the bones. One study broke up postmenopausal women into three groups: resistance training, vibration training combined with resistance training, or no exercise/training. Their body composition was measured before starting the study. After the study was completed, the findings included:
Both the resistance group and the resistance group with vibration training increased lean tissue mass.
The control group did not show an increase in lean tissue and, in fact, gained body fat.
The combination group, using vibration training with resistance training, showed a drop in body fat.
Another study placed male athletes in a training program that included vibration training. The first group had lower-limb strength training combined with vibration training, and the other had lower-limb strength training without vibration training. The researchers found that the athletes in the vibration training group improved leg extension strength by five percent. In addition, the vibration training groups balancing ability and vertical lift/jumping test improved as well.
Bryans, Roland et al. “Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 34,5 (2011): 274-89. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008
Chaibi, Aleksander et al. “Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache: a single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial.” BMC research notes vol. 10,1 310. 24 Jul. 2017, doi:10.1186/s13104-017-2651-4
Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with neck pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014; 37: 42-63.
Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011; 34: 274-89.
The Atlas vertebra is named for the mythological figure who held the world on their back/neck. The vertebrae are located at the top of the spine, where the cranium and spine connect. More than just a foundation for support, the vertebrae could be the most important vertebrae of the body. It consists of a complex bundle of nerves, vertebral arteries, and is the point where the entire weight of the cranium makes contact.
The myth requires Atlas to be careful while holding the world carefully and confidently at all times, otherwise it will come crashing down. The key is being able to balance it perfectly. The vertebra has the same job to hold the head up properly and maintain posture. If not problems with balance and alignment will begin to develop, and affect the entire spine.
The Atlas Vertebra
The Atlas vertebrae’s role in maintaining balance is based on its ability to adjust to the weight of the head. The actual vertebra is wider than the other cervical vertebrae. This creates a center of gravity that is reinforced through proper posture. It distributes the weight of the head (10-12lb) evenly to centralize the weight and is supported by the natural curvature of the spine.
If the center of gravity shifts, the Atlas vertebra will tilt in that direction as well. This creates instability in the cervical spine and can increase the amount of weight the spine is taking and trying to redistribute. This creates spinal issues and leads to everything from poor posture, overcompensation that leads to injury.
Disruption to the vertebra and its ability to balance can come from a variety of causes and can occur as a result of chronic and acute conditions. Some include:
Auto accidents, sports, work injuries can cause cervical soft tissue damage
Dislocation of cervical vertebrae below the Atlas results in instability
Poor posture/s make individuals overcompensate to one side of the body straining muscles, ligaments, tendons causing pain and other issues
Herniated, bulging, and slipped discs
Spinal issues range from simple neck pain and soreness to full-on chronic pain. Because the Atlas can alter the balance of the entire spine, combined with cranium support, issues can be localized and referred creating further complications. Addressing the root problems requires a comprehensive chiropractic approach. Chiropractic will assess the position of the spine and determine the degree to which Atlas has shifted out of place. An adjustment treatment plan makes it possible to undo the widespread damage.
Individuals do not realize that muscle loss occurs throughout their lifetime. This is because muscles, like other tissues in the body, must go through cell turnover and protein synthesis. This means that the body is constantly breaking down protein in the muscles and rebuilding them.
Skeletal muscle can be developed with proper nutrition and includes consuming a proper amount of protein to provide the necessary amino acids and from physical activity. The reverse is also true, if an individual becomes less physically active and/or their diet no longer supports the development of increased muscle tissue, the body enters a catabolic/tissue-reducing state known as muscle atrophy.
Dr. Alex Jimenez�s Blog Post Disclaimer
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
Woodfield, H Charles 3rd et al. �Craniocervical chiropractic procedures – a pr�cis of upper cervical chiropractic.��The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association�vol. 59,2 (2015): 173-92.
Headaches can be detrimental to a high quality of life.� Especially, migraine and tension headaches.�Some deal with them on a weekly, or even daily, basis.�They can range from minor to life-changing afflictions. There are various causes, symptoms, and treatment options. The first step in treating headaches is understanding the type of headache it is.
Some people think they have a migraine, when in fact, they are suffering from a tension headache. Tension headaches are more common. But the Migraine Research Foundation found that 1 in 4 U.S. households include someone that suffers from migraines. Determining what type of headache can take some research.
Here are some things to think about to determine if the headache is a migraine or a tension headache.
According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines often begin in adolescence or early adulthood. Tension headaches can start at any time in an individual’s life.� An adult just beginning to have recurring headaches means that they are most likely tension headaches.
Where is the pain located
Migraines usually happen on one side of the head. Tension headaches can affect both sides of the head and can produce intense pressure on the forehead. The location of the pain can be a key indicator of the type of headache.
Describe the pain
If it is a dull pain, with pressure, and tenderness around the scalp, this could mean a tension headache. If the pain is throbbing or pulsing pain, it could be a migraine. Both headaches can present intense pain, just different types of pain.
Migraines often come with symptoms beyond head pain.
Seeing bright flashing/sparkling lights
A sensation of Pins and needles in one or both arms
Individuals not experiencing any of these symptoms are more than likely dealing with a tension headache.
Those with tension headaches can still perform jobs, drive, read, and operate through daily life even though it can be painful and frustrating. Migraines are very different. Lying down in a dark, quiet room with an eye mask on until the headache passes is how many handle their migraines. If the headache disrupts your life it is more than likely a migraine.
Over the counter pain killers
Tension headaches can usually be relieved with over-the-counter pain meds. However,�this type of treatment does not work for migraines. When a migraine shifts into full force, the individual has to go through it. Headaches that respond well to nonprescription pain killers means it’s a tension headache. The majority will at some point deal with a headache.
Although tension headaches are more common that doesn’t rule out the possibility of the headache being a migraine. Just a little insight as to the type of headache that is presenting, and some proactive treatments. No matter the type of headache, if the pain is severe, or starts up after a head injury, seek medical treatment.
There are different kinds of head and upper cervical disorders that are also known as:
Upper neck disorders
Craniovertebral junction – CVJ – abnormality
Some are present at birth while others are developed later in life. Whether congenital or acquired, they share many of the same symptoms.
Where your skull and spine meet is where upper cervical disorders take place. Neck pain along with headaches along the back of the head are the most common symptoms. People with craniocervical disorders often experience neck pain and headache in combination and symptoms worsen with head and neck movement. Even just a sneeze or cough can cause pain. Neck pain can also spread to the arms if spinal nerves are compressed.
Spinal Cord Compression
The more complex upper cervical disorders involve spinal cord compression. When the spinal cord gets compressed, nerve problems can happen that make daily function a challenge.
With spinal cord compression, neurological symptoms can present like:
Weakness in the arms, legs or both
Loss of sensation and awareness of the limbs called positional sense
There can be an electrical/shooting pain or tingling running down the spine and into the legs when pitching the neck forward called Lhermitte sign
Hot and cold sensational loss in hands, feet or both
All of these can cause malformation and physical changes in the neck. The neck may appear short, webbed, or twisted. There can also be a limited ability to move the neck.
Symptoms can also be caused by brain and cranial nerve pressure
Conditions like platybasia, basilar invagination, and craniocervical tumors can place pressure on the brain stem and the cranial nerves around it. If this happens the following symptoms can occur:
Eye issues like abnormal eye movements and double vision
Throat and speech problems like hoarseness, slurred speech, and swallowing problems
Loss of coordination
Sleep problems like sleep apnea
Vertigo Faint Feeling
Some individuals could experience a set of symptoms that don’t occur too often called vertebrobasilar ischemia.
This happens when the head position changes placing pressure on the cranial arteries and cutting off the blood supply.
The result is:
Vertigo or a dizzy spinning sensation
Syringomyelia is a fluid-filled cyst known as a syrinx that forms inside the spinal cord. If the cyst grows, it can damage the spinal cord causing painful neurological symptoms throughout the body that include weakness, and numbness. In extreme cases loss of ability to feel heat or cold in the neck, hands, and possibly throughout the spine. The hand muscles can become paralyzed.
Quality of Life with Upper Cervical Disorder
While some individuals have no symptoms associated with a craniocervical disorder, others experience intense pain and neurological dysfunction. There are treatment options that can help you successfully manage and eliminate symptoms.
When headaches present it usually means there is a misalignment in the cervical spine. This is often combined with tight muscles in the neck, shoulders, and surrounding area. Pressure on the nerves can cause sharp shooting pain along with a continual dull throbbing sensation.
A chiropractor will assess the area and then move forward with an adjustment to relieve the pressure and pain. Chiropractic medicine does not just focus on relieving symptoms but finding the root cause and correcting the problem. In addition, the chiropractor will take the time to educate you on the importance of diet, exercise, stretching, and making healthy lifestyle choices.
Whiplash Massage Therapy
The effectiveness of chiropractic care for headaches has been proven by many research studies. Chiropractic is not only excellent for treating headaches, but is gentle, non-invasive, does not require medications, and is known for being free of side effects.
Metabolic Syndrome affects many people. In fact, more than a quarter of the United States has it! Metabolic Syndrome is not a disease, but instead a cluster of disorders. These disorders on their own are not necessarily alarming but when you have more than one, the body starts to feel the repercussions.
Those with metabolic syndrome often suffer from frequent headaches, inflammation, nausea, fatigue, joint pain, and many more. On top of these symptoms, metabolic syndrome can put individuals at a higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, Obesity, Sleep Apnea, and Kidney Disease.
Individuals who have an “apple or pear” body shape, are at an increased risk for developing metabolic syndrome. There are no “obvious” signs of metabolic syndrome, but rather one with metabolic syndrome has 3/5 of these risk factors.
A fasting blood glucose level of 100 mg/DL
High Blood Pressure, measuring 130/85
Low HDL (Good Cholesterol)� measuring <40mg/DL Men & <50mg/DL Women
Excess Waist Fat (>40in Men & >35in Women)
What Can You Do About It?
Of course, no one wants to be left feeling sick and stranded. There are ways to help prevent metabolic syndrome at home. Below there are five tips for each risk factor and how to prevent/reduce your symptoms.
A Fasting Blood Glucose Level Of 100 mg/DL
Set “Carb Goals”
Choose complex carbs over simple carbs
High Blood Pressure, measuring 130/85
DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
Read Food labels
Limit sugar intake
Establish a regular eating pattern
Eat more “tree nuts” ( almonds, cashews, pecans)
Switch to unsaturated fats
Low HDL ( Good Cholesterol) measuring <40mg/DL Men & <50mg/DL Women
Do not smoke
Choose better fats
Purple Produce (antioxidants to help inflammation)
Increase fish consumption
Excess Waist Fat >40 in Men & >35 in Women
Walk after dinner
Grocery Shop without Aisles
Increase in Water Consumption
Aside from doing these tricks and tips at home, a doctor or health coach will be able to further assist one in healing. The main goal is to take these symptoms and disorders and correct them before they become a full-blown diagnosis.
Rather than just running a basic blood panel, they now have tests that allow us to see multiple different levels and numbers. these elaborate blood tests provide great insight to allow us to see the full picture. By completing these labs, it allows the doctor to evaluate the patients better and provide a more specific treatment plan.
In addition to detailed lab work, there are all-natural supplements that have been shown to help improve these symptoms along with proper diet and exercise. Some of these supplements include Vitamin D, Berberine, and Ashwagandha.
On top of these things, there is also an app that is available to download. This app is called, “Dr. J Today”. This app connects you directly to our clinic and allows us to monitor your diet, supplements, activity, BMI, water weight, muscle mass, and more! This app also gives you a direct portal to message Dr.Jimenez or myself.
As stated before, our main goal is to help you decrease your symptoms before they turn into a full-blown diagnosis. One thing we want to surround our patients with is knowledge and a team atmosphere. With the right team, anything is possible and better health is more attainable than you think!
Having Type 1 Diabetes, I have experienced metabolic syndrome before. It is one of my least favorite feelings that exist. I want our patients to know that they do not have to feel that way and there are treatment plans that can help! I will help to create a personalized plan that is tailed to you, so success is the only option. – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach�
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
Detailed lab testing is becoming more and more essential as integrative medicine is on the rise. Detailed lab testing goes more in-depth than the traditional blood levels usually taken. This allows physicians to understand more of the underlying issues that are causing the patients headaches, inflammation, pain, or overall discomfort.
There are multiple lab companies that utilize top of the line technology in order to obtain the best results for the patient. By running a detailed test, it allows more data to be collected and the physician to get a deeper look at what the patient might be lacking.
One test that is extremely detailed and allows an abundance of information is the Micronutrient test from SpectraCell. Micronutrients are essential for the body to function properly. The body requires macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are those obtained through the diet, such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that the body needs to achieve proper nutrition.
The Micronutrient test came from Dr. William Shive who was a biochemist that realized many serum (blood tests) do not adequately show the number of vitamins and minerals in an individual. In turn, the labs are not a true number of the patients health.
The Micronutrient test from Spectracell is unique because it is the only test on the market that obtains a history of 4-6 months from inside the cells. Thus, allowing practitioners and patients to see if their cells are truly healthy and what they are lacking in.
Who Should Be Tested?
Micronutrients are needed to perform almost all metabolic processes in the body. When these essential vitamins and minerals are lacking, the body is more prone to degenerative processes like arthritis.
Getting tested can provide an inside look at what is actually happening in your body. This can shine some light and possibly even explain some health symptoms you’ve been struggling with. Due to the fact that micronutrients are needed in the body and not having them does affect your health, getting tested could help prevent a compromised immune system.
As mentioned earlier, this test measures micronutrients, which are essential vitamins and minerals in the body. But, what else can this test really tell an individual besides the fact that they’re lacking in vitamin D?� This test can help provide measures for:
Sports Performance Optimization
SpectraCell is all about giving their patients high-end results that lead to real solutions. By creating a test that captures the functional level and the actual capability of the nutrients present in the white blood cells, it allows physicians to see a patient’s metabolism from a different standpoint. Getting tested could be the first step towards a healthier future.
SpectraCell is an amazing company, which is why we use them! This test is very detailed and provides us with a great deal of information. The science behind this test not only allows our patients to feel better by getting on the correct vitamin regimen for their body but also by allowing us to treat patients on an individualized level without the guesswork. – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
*All information for this article was found onSpectraCell.com and is properly cited below
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request.�
Part of understanding the body and treating symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and overall discomfort is realizing that the body is an intricate system that functions as one. In modern medicine, we have become used to seeing different specialists for different body systems ( i.e the endocrine system, the nervous system, etc.). However, in all reality, the body is made up of all these systems to work together to maintain homeostasis.
Wellness is best defined by the National Wellness Institute as, ” An active process through which people become aware of, and make a choice toward, a more successful existence (The Six Dimensions Of Wellness)”.
In general, wellness is applied in one’s life to incorporate all aspects of health. Similar to the systems in the body, wellness is not just isolated to one part. The National Wellness Institute has promoted and defined there to be six dimensions of wellness.
These dimensions dive deep to incorporate mental health and physical health. Mental and physical health are closely intertwined and often times relate to each other. By applying the six dimensions of wellness into your life, you are treating the body as a whole and allowing yourself to embrace the mind-body connection for optimal wellness.
The ability to be alone and have your own feelings and thoughts not overwhelm you, expressing emotions in a healthy way, and to be able to be compassionate towards others’ emotional state.
The work you put in every day and understanding that it has a purpose and point to fulfill not only the necessary job duties but also the soul.
The practice of regular physical activity, healthy eating/nutrition, and a regular healthy sleep schedule. These are essential elements to fuel life and heal the body.
To be able to regularly socialize and react with others. This includes interacting with people in all aspects of life and engaging in a healthy living environment.
Not only referring to education, but allowing the mind to open up and connect to the lively world around.� Intellectual wellness has a main focus of creativity while exploring problem-solving and critical thinking.
Knowing that there is a purpose in life that the life you are living is meaningful.
Essentially, by applying these six dimensions of wellness into everyday life, a person becomes more aware of how each dimension is connected to another and how they contribute to healthy living. Emotional health has a lot to do with mental health. By aligning emotional health with mental health, the physical health the body receives is less inflammation, a healthier gut, and more mental clarity.
Similarly speaking, occupational health has a lot to do with physical health. If the occupation one has is constantly exhausting them and causing high levels of stress, the hormones in their body will start to become off balance. This will affect their health in the way that they will not be sleeping as well, causing fatigue and the body to react with inflammation because it is not getting an adequate amount of rest to properly heal.
Physical health is important because by incorporating regular physical activity into one’s life, endorphins will be released more often. Physical activity is used to treat many mental health disorders as well as prevent many physical disabilities.
Often times, anxiety or stomach issues can be brought on by social events. Social wellness works on healthy communications with others around you while also being able to be comfortable and confident.
Intellectual wellness happens as individuals explore and connect with others. If one is not complete or working on the intellectual wellness side of things, this can cause depression and poor health due to not being stimulated and interactive.
The last dimension of wellness is spiritual.� Spiritual wellness does not mean that you believe in a specific thing, but rather that your life has a meaning and you have a purpose.
By incorporating these six dimensions, it allows the human body to connect with itself. by opening up the communication between the systems, a new level of wellness can be achieved.
The six dimensions of wellness is a more holistic approach to healthy living. These dimensions will help individuals reach their full potential while learning and acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to health. I highly recommend incorporating the six dimensions of wellness into everyone’s life as the healing benefits it can bring are remarkable. Treating the body as a whole and realizing that your gut health is related to your brain health is eye-opening and creates a lot of room for potential healing. – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach�
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.�
Functional medicine is about taking the human body and treating it as a whole. The human body has many systems but they all work together to maintain homeostasis. In many cases with traditional medicine, a patient with headaches, joint pain, inflammation, and fatigue will be referred to many specialists to treat each individual symptom.� However, by looking at the entire body as a whole and digging into the root cause of the issue and not just the symptom itself, a lot can be revealed.
With functional medicine, often times a series of labs are run that look deeper than the typical basic blood panel. In traditional medicine, a glucose and AHb1c test will be done to assess diabetes. In functional medicine, a deeper test is ordered to rule out other possibilities and practitioners are able to view all components of diabetes including , Adiponectin, Insulin.� This allows a deeper understanding of what is happening inside the body and how to best treat it.�
With this being said, there are many labs that functional and integrative medicine practitioners utilize, each specializing in their own unique panels. The average integrative practice uses an average of 5-10 different lab companies for their patients to have the best care. Eight of the most utilized lab companies are:
Diagnostic Solutions offer many tests but their specialty lies within their GI Map. This test measures the gastrointestinal microbiota DNA from a stool sample. This allows practitioners to see and detect the exact microbes that may be causing a disturbance in the gut or a factor contributing to illness.
Vibrant Wellness has a wide variety of tests but one of the most frequently used is the food sensitivity panel. This allows practitioners to see what foods their patients are consuming that are creating havoc for their gut health.
SpectraCellstarted as a nutritional testing company but has since evolved into a lab that tests cellular nutrition, cardiometabolic health, hormone balances, and genetic predisposition.
Genova Diagnostics has a wide variety of tests but one of the most common is the GI Effects Comprehensive Profile. This test takes a patient’s stool and detects an organism’s DNA as part of a comprehensive assessment.
Doctors Data provides a wide array of functional testing to provide patients with the best outcomes. Some tests include Environmental Exposure and Detoxification, Toxic and Essential Elements, and Allergy and Immunity.
Cyrex categories their tests as “arrays”. These arrays test for things like diabetes autoimmune reactivity,� The blood-brain barrier, Mucosal Immune Reactivity and more.
Dunwoody Labs offers food sensitivity testing, adrenal, neurotransmitters and many more. Dunwoody can test for specific IgE and IgG4 molecules.
The patient’s health comes first, and getting down to the underlying issues sometimes requires one than one lab company. These companies use the top of the line technology to ensure their patients and physicians obtain the most accurate results for optimal healing.
It is important to make sure the patient gets the best possible care available. This usually means ordering different labs from different companies to obtain the best results. Each lab is great in its own way, but they often specialize in a certain area. This is key because it often allows the patient and the practitioner to get the highest quality of results. A practitioner who uses multiple labs is educated on the subject and truly cares for their patients. – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach�
*The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request.�
For most individuals experiencing symptoms,� health care providers will run a few tests. For the most part, these tests come back normal or inconclusive. The patient is usually relieved, but not satisfied as they are still experiencing symptoms. The truth of the matter is, most tests practitioners run on patients are basic.
What Does That Mean?
It means that they are checking your levels and ruling out issues based on standard testing, but they are not diving deep into the cause of the symptom itself. Most individuals have a family history of one or more autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is when the body misidentifies its own cells as a foreign body leading them to attack. These diseases can be triggered at any point in one’s life.
So What Do I Do Now?
Due to family history,� an ANA test can be run. Most of the time for patients still experiencing symptoms after the standard tests came back negative, the ANA comes back positive. However, a positive test does not always mean answers. This test can provide useful information but does not include a definitive answer as to what kind of autoimmunity a patient may have.
Using A Functional Approach
In modern/traditional medicine, most practitioners will suggest the patient is fine and that there is nothing to treat until they have been diagnosed. However, by using a more naturopathic and holistic approach, integrative practitioners can take these symptoms and use them to the patient’s advantage to help avoid a full-blown diagnosis.� The main reason this is effective is due to the fact that individuals do not just wake up one day with a new disease, but rather there are steps progressing in the background that eventually build up to a diagnosis if not treated.
Uncovering the underlying issue and using this stage in someone’s life as an opportunity to improve their quality of living is what functional medicine revolves around. By combining symptoms, previous lab results, and the patients declining quality of life, testing that relates to triggers of autoimmunity can be conducted. These tests will provide insightful information allowing the practitioner to not only treat the symptom but more importantly, to treat the cause.
There are multiple factors, including environmental that cause an autoimmune response to start to express. There are certain markers in the body that will shift before the onset of the autoimmune disease in which the environmental triggers will be shown.
Many labs are equipt to test for these markers and use top of the line technology. Some tests that evaluate these triggers that contribute to the progression of autoimmunity are:
The Gut Zoomerfrom Vibrant Wellness:The Gut Zoomer provides information and patient potential risks for intestinal permeability, IBS & IBD, SIBO, celiac, MS, obesity, diabetes, nutrition, viruses, fungal or yeast species, worm species, bile acids, SCFAs and more
The Food Sensitivity Panel from Vibrant Wellness:This test from Vibrant Wellness recognizes the specific antibody-to-antigen responses in commonly ingested foods. This panel tests for IgG and IgA sensitivity to the food antigens. This test is beneficial so patients do not have to an elimination diet, but rather have the test remove the guesswork and let results tell them what foods cause their body inflammation.
Dietary Antigen Test Plus from Dunwoody Labs:��This specific test from Dunwoody Labs allows the health care provider to see if there is an increased antibody response to food. Often times, the antibodies this screens for attack the body’s tissue leading to more autoimmune symptoms. This test looks at 4 separate antibody types IgE, IgG4, Total IgG, IgA, and complement.
Oxidative Stress Test from Dunwoody Labs:If the body is under large amounts of stress, this will cause an increase in the activity of T-Cells, thus keeping the body out of balance.
GI Microbial Assay Plus (GI-MAP� ) from Diagnostic Solutions: This is a stool test that not only analyzes but also evaluates the DNA of the actual organisms that are living in the gut. This allows the health care providers to see what is impacting health such as, mucus metabolism, methane production, T-Cells, and inflammatory LPS.�
Why Would I Want / Need This?
Preventative medicine provides the ability to keep up with, if not improve a patient’s quality of life while decreasing or avoiding the hard prescription medicine! By treating the underlying cause and not just masking the symptom, it allows individuals to truly feel better.
The number of individuals diagnosed with a disease that could have been prevented should earlier steps have been taken, is on the rise while their quality of life is declining. Feeling good should not be a delicacy, but rather a normal standard. With the use of integrative medicine, many grandparents will be able to play hide and seek and tag with their grandchildren, parents will be able to get through the day without as much fatigue and headaches, and children will be able to play, focus, and learn with fewer belly aches no matter the hour of the day. Integrative medicine not only utilizes tests to guide patients in the right direction but also gives patients tools and further educates them on exercise and nutrition components that will help prevent inflammation and stimulate good bacteria in their bodies to grow. – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
*The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
�Basic Oxidative Stress.� Dunwoody Labs, 20 July 2018, www.dunwoodylabs.com/index.php/ox-stress/.
Burdette, Cheryl. �Is There Such Thing as Being Pre-Autoimmune.� 3 Dec. 2019.
The percentage of individuals that are affected by fatigue, headaches, and overall pain is continuously growing. For the most part, these symptoms can all be linked back to a hormone imbalance. Hormone imbalances are more common than individuals realize and can affect people of all ages. Originally, hormone testing was completed through a blood draw (serum testing). However, as science is improving, there are now better, more functional ways of testing.��
As more and more studies are done, it is becoming more clear that salivary testing is superior to serum (blood) testing for hormones. There are two forms in which hormones exist in the human body, free (5%) and protein-bound (95%). Due to the protein-bound hormones being bound, they become too large to pass through into the salivary glands. This meaning that they are not bio-available and can not be delivered to the receptors in the tissues of the body.� The unbound hormones, or free hormones, are the relevant hormones that are found in the saliva. Considering the fact that free hormones are not as abundant, the hormone levels found in saliva are significantly less than those found in serum. However, many patients who are treated with serum hormone results are often overdosed because of the lack of correlation between bio-availability.
Labrix by Doctor’s Data
Similar to the D.U.T.C.H�hormone testing previously discussed, this company Labrix offers a variety of hormone testing as well.
NeuroBasic: ideal for monitoring therapeutic interventions of neurotransmitter imbalances previously tested or when symptoms are indicating an imbalance. This test measures Serotonin, Dopamine, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Glutamate, Glycine, Histamine, and Phenethylamine
Comprehensive Neurotransmitter: best when a comprehensive look at neurotransmitter secretion and metabolism of markers is needed. This test measures Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, Glutamate, Glycine, Histamine, and Phenethylamineand DOPAC, 3-MT, Normetanephrine, Metanephrine, 5-HIAA, Tryptamine, Tyrosine, Tyramine, and Taurine.
NeuroHormone Complete Plus:� provides insight on how the HPA axis function may be contributing to patients’ symptoms, such as mood swings, fatigue, and pain. In addition, this test is ideal for those who are at risk for breast cancer, PCOS, or a strong family history of autoimmune disease.�This test is recommended for women only.� This test measures�Estrone, Estradiol, Estriol, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA, Cortisol x 4, Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Glutamate, Glycine, Histamine, Phenethylamine
NeuroHormone Complete: useful for patients (men or women) who are experiencing any type of mood disorder, addiction, fatigue, chronic illness, confusion, weight issues, low libido, PMS, or chronic pain. This test measures Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA, Cortisol x 4, Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Glutamate, Glycine, Histamine, Phenethylamine.�
NeuroAdrenal: Included in this test is a full diurnal cortisol pattern, DHEA, and 6 primary neurotransmitters to help those with symptoms such as depression, anxiety, addiction, chronic illness, and low libido. This test measures DHEA, Cortisol x 4, Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Glutamate, Glycine, Histamine, Phenethylamine
Comprehensive Plus: provides an assessment of breast cancer risk. This test is a considerationfor women only who have an increased risk for developing breast cancer, other hormonally sensitive cancers, PCOS or a family history of autoimmune disease. This test measures estrone, estriol, and Estrogen Quotient.
Women’s Helth and breast Profile: includes two risk assessment ratios, the Estrogen Quotient and the Pg/E2 ratio
Comprehensive Hormone: �assessment of hormonal status and endocrine function and includes estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and four cortisols. This profile is useful with male and female patients because it looks at the full diurnal cortisol pattern; it is especially important in patients who are experiencing the full diurnal pattern ( weight gain, high blood sugar, elevated lipids, chronic fatigue)
Short Comprehensive: useful in men and women whose primary symptoms are related to sex hormone imbalances (elevated or depressed E2, P or T)
Basic Hormone: a basic evaluation of the sex hormones and a brief glimpse at the adrenal function with the AM cortisol level. Best for men who are experiencing decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, loss os stamina, decreased mental sharpness and metabolic syndrome. Best for women who are experiencing hot flashes, anxiety, night sweats, breast tenderness, irritability, forgetfulness, and acne.�
Comprehensive Adrenal Function: provides insight into the body�s stress response. This test measures sIgA
Adrenal Function: comprehensive view of adrenal function, DHEA, and cortisol levels. This is best for people who are fatigued, nervous, weak, crave sugar, have headaches, irritability, and depression
Diurnal Cortisol: Similar to the test above but for patients who do not need DHEA testing
Melatonin: Provides a snapshot of the sleep/wake cycle during a one day period
Salivary Hormone + CAR :
CAR: has the capability to test all the same markers as above but adds Cortisol Awakening Response “CAR” to all of them.�
For more information regarding testing and hormones tested, please visitlabrix.com��
LABRIX BASIC BOX CONTENTS:
Upon opening every box (no matter the labrix test) the patient will see a requisition form, a billable stamp, and a FedEx envelope. Under these two items, a styrofoam box (insulated cooler) with the imprint “doctorsdata.com” will be present. Once the patient lifts the lid off of the styrofoam box, they will see two more pieces of paper.� The first being a list of symptoms (patient survey) on a white sheet of paper that the patient is to fill out and place back in the styrofoam box and the second a small instruction manual.
Neurotransmitter Tests Breakdown
For the Neurotransmitter Tests, the patient is provided with the basic kit described above. The only sample type required for the neurotransmitter tests is urine.
The contents of the styrofoam box include a small plastic cup, a clear plastic bag consisting of a white tube, a dropper, an absorbent pad, and a Lab-Brix ice pack. The first step is to freeze the ice-pack and keep it frozen until ready to ship.�
In order for this test to have proper results, the patient should collect their sample with their first or second-morning urine upon waking. Then, select on the requisition form which urine ( first or second ) the sample was collected from. It is also important to note on the requisition form what time the patient woke and what time the sample was collected. The urine sample should be collected midstream. Patients will collect their sample in the plastic cup provided, not directly in the tube. Next, the patients will use the dropper provided to transfer 10 ml of the sample from the cup into the tube. Ensure the lid is screwed on tightly and gently rock the tube back and forth for 3-5 seconds to mix the urine with the preservative. The patients will then wrap the absorbent pad around the tube (not inside the tube), and place the sample tube back in the plastic bag. The bag is then to be placed in the freezer for 4-6 hours, and is to be kept frozen until ready to ship!�
Neurotransmitter + Hormone Tests Breakdown
The Neurotransmitter + Hormone analysis tests consist of urine and saliva samples. This basic test kit includes everything above. However, upon opening this styrofoam box the patient will find two plastic bags. The first being a plain plastic clear bag with a dropper, white test tube, and absorbent pad. The second plastic bag is a biohazard bag that has multiple colors on the outside and consists of 4 clear small straws, an absorbent pad, and 4 small saliva collection tubes of various colors.�
The urine sample is instructed to be taken the same way as the neurotransmitter test.
The patient should collect their sample with their first or second-morning urine upon waking. Then, select on the requisition form which urine ( first or second ) the sample was collected from. (Remember, the individual is� to note on the requisition form time they woke and what time the sample was collected). Patients will collect their sample mid-stream in the plastic cup provided, not directly in the tube. Next, use the dropper provided to transfer 10 ml of the sample from the cup into the tube. Be sure to check that the lid is screwed on tightly and gently rock the tube back and forth for 3-5 seconds to mix the urine with the preservative. The patients will then wrap the absorbent pad around the tube (not inside the tube), and place the sample tube back in the plastic bag. The bag is then to be placed in the freezer for 4-6 hours, and is to be kept frozen until ready to ship!��
The salivary collection has a few more steps considering it is 4 samples rather than one. The timing for the salivary testing is critical, so timers are encouraged. As the patient wakes up, a timer should be set for 30 minutes later. This is when the first salivary sample (the pink tube) is to be collected. Before this test, the patient should not eat, drink, brush or floss. The second collection (green tube) is to be taken right before lunch, around noon. The third (orange tube), is to be collected in the evening before dinner, and the final collection (blue tube) before bed at night.�
For all salivary collections, each tube needs to be 3/4 of the way full. The straws provided are the patient’s choice to be used. As soon as the tube is 3/4 of the way full, snap the saliva lid tightly, put into the bag in which it came, and freeze for 4-6 hours, until ready to ship. Patients are to record the date and times of the saliva collections on the bag and requisition form.�
Considering the salivary hormone testing is done using 4 saliva samples, the instructions are the same as the saliva collection in the test mentioned above. However, to review them again,�the timing for the salivary testing is critical, so timers are highly encouraged.
As the patient wakes up, a timer should be set for 30 minutes later. This is when the first salivary sample (the pink tube) is to be collected. Before this test, the patient is not to eat, drink, brush or floss. For the second collection (green tube), it should be collected right before lunch, around noon. The third (orange tube), is to be obtained in the evening before dinner, and the final sample (blue tube) before bed at night.�
For all salivary collections, each tube needs to be 3/4 of the way full. The straws provided are to be used at the patient’s discretion. As soon as the tube is 3/4 of the way full, snap the saliva lid tightly, put into the bag in which it came, and freeze for 4-6 hours, until ready to ship. Patients are to record the date and times of the saliva collections on the bag and requisition form.�
Salivary Hormone + CAR Breakdown
Aside from the basic components, the styrofoam box includes 6 colored salvia collection tubes, 6 straws, and an absorbent pad. The tests that fall under this category require 6 samples throughout the day. It is important to remember to write down the time the samples were collected as well as the time when the patient first woke up. The first sample (yellow tube) is to be taken as soon as the patient is awake but has not gotten out of bed. In order to accomplish this properly, it is best the patient sets the tube next to their bed the night before. This makes it easy to collect first thing in the morning. It is very important that the patient sets an alarm for 30 minutes after they wake up ( second test, pink tube)and for 1 hour after they wake up (third test, lavender tube). These tests are all to be done prior to eating breakfast, brushing and flossing teeth. The fourth collection (green tube) is to be taken before lunch and the fifth (orange tube) before dinner. The sixth and final sample (blue tube) is to be collected at least one hour after dinner. Just as the other saliva samples mentioned above, these tubes are to be filled 3/4 of the way, tightly closed, placed back in the bag they came in and frozen for 4-6 hours, or until they are ready to ship.
SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS FOR ALL TESTS:
Shipping should be done Monday-Friday as this will ensure the sample will be delivered to the lab on time. Make sure all paperwork is filled out properly and place contents back in the styrofoam box in the following order:�
sealed plastic bag with frozen specimen tubes
frozen ice pack�
requisition form, symptom sheet, and payment (if applicable)�
Next, place the lid back on the box and place the entire styrofoam box in the cardboard collection kit. Close the cardboard box and place it inside the FedEx shipping envelope provided. The patient will then write their name and address on the Billable Stamp and tear off the customer receipt for their records. Then, place on the FedEx envelope. The final step is to schedule a pick-up. In order to do this, the patient will call the FedEx toll-Free number at 1-800-463-3339 and select “schedule a pickup”. This MUST be a scheduled pick up from an address and NOT a dropbox.�
* It is important to note that patients should avoid eating avocados, eggplant, tomatoes, bananas, melons, pineapples, plums, nuts, nut butter, wine, cheese and chocolate 48 hours before and during the testing period as these could impact the results.
* Patients should keep in mind that strenuous exercise, alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco or any other product containing nicotine is to be avoided 24 hours before and during the collection period.
Labrix is a great company that allows patients a noninvasive way to have their hormone levels checked. Almost every patient who walks in the door can benefit from this test. I highly recommend this test because hormone levels can change based on age, PMS symptoms, fatigue, blood sugar issues, or stress! These results are accurate and have a decently quick turn around time. Gaining insight and taking control of your body is now easier than ever. – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or chronic disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
*All information and photos/video content for this article are directly sourced from labrix. Please see labrix for more information and credit.
The effectiveness of chiropractic care for headaches has been proven by many research studies, which is good news for the 90% of Americans who suffer. Chiropractic is not only excellent for treating headaches, but is gentle, non-invasive, does not require medications, and is known for being free of side effects.
Chiropractic A Gentle, Effective Treatment
Headaches can range from mild to debilitating, and all the stages in between. Some people suffer from headaches only occasionally, while others are constantly dealing with headaches. Unfortunately, standard medical care can only do so much to treat headaches � and the treatments often come with side effects, such as those caused by pain medications.
Chiropractic takes a different approach than traditional Western medicine. Instead of treating the symptoms, chiropractic attempts to get to the source of the problem. Using non-invasive treatments, chiropractic works to help the body heal itself � which it can do surprisingly well when the conditions are right. Chiropractic strives to create these ideal conditions.
The two most common types of headaches most people suffer from include:
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. The pain of a tension headache can range from fairly mild to severe. Although some headache sufferers describe tension headaches as similar to having a painful band around their heads, the symptoms of tension headaches can vary significantly from individual to individual. Symptoms of tension headaches include:
Pain that is constant, not throbbing
A feeling of tightness in the temples, forehead, back of the head, side of head or combination of these
Neck pain and stiffness
Tension headaches, as the name indicates, are caused by tension in the body � often in the neck and upper back.
Migraine headaches, while less common than tension headaches, are still a major issue for a large portion of Americans. It is estimated that approximately 13 percent of the population suffers from migraines.
Symptoms of migraines include:
Pain is often on one side of the head
Sensitivity to light
Migraines are still not fully understood by the medical community. Research has shown what happens in the brain during migraines, and there are a number of triggers that are known, but research is ongoing to determine exactly what is happening and what causes these debilitating headaches.
How Chiropractic Helps
Research has shown that chiropractic can help headache sufferers, particularly those that suffer from tension headaches. There are a number of ways that chiropractic can improve symptoms, including:
The spine and the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that surround it are prone to injury and misalignment, which can cause significant tension, nerve pain, and associated health issues. Subluxations, also referred to as spinal misalignments, can put pressure on nerves and cause muscles to tighten and even spasm. All of this can lead to considerable tension. Tension can result in headaches.
Chiropractic adjustments realign the spine, relieving pressure on nerves and helping muscles to relax.
While chiropractic adjustments can do a great deal to help relieve tension headaches, migraines are often most effectively treated through lifestyle adjustments. Changes in diet and avoidance of known triggers are considered the best way to avoid migraines and minimize symptoms.
Chiropractic care includes lifestyle advice to help patients navigate their health issues effectively, including migraines.
We live in a stressful world. Life happens; it moves so fast. Pressures coming at you from all directions. Eventually, it catches up with you, and it�s your body that bears the brunt of it. Tension is your body�s way of telling you that it is under stress � probably too muchstress.
It�s hard to escape stress in today�s society so if you find that you are exhibiting physical symptoms of stress, it might be time to make some changes. If tension headaches are one of those symptoms, you�re in good company � about 90% of adults in the US have headaches. Many of them are tension headaches.
Symptoms of Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are distinctive and can be very painful. The good news is, they are rarely an indication of a more serious condition � other than a stressful lifestyle. Some of the most common symptoms of tension headaches include:
Muscle tightness in the neck, jaw, and shoulders � may also be sore.
A Headache that originates at the back of the head and moves forward over the top and sides.
Squeezing pain or dull pressure in the head may also be described as a tight band or vice around the head.
Pain or pressure on both sides of the head equally.
Sometimes tension headache symptoms can occur prior to a migraine. In other words, a tension headache can turn into a migraine headache and may be considered a migraine trigger.
Causes of Tension Headaches
The actual cause of tension headaches is not known. Researchers have some idea of potential triggers, but recent advancements in medicine have debunked the belief that they are caused by the tightening of muscles in the scalp, shoulders, neck, and jaw. Scientific tests show that then a person has a tension headache, muscle tension does not increase. Newer theories indicate that a likelier cause involves changes neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain) which includes serotonin. This is similar to a migraine.
While researchers do not know the exact levels of neurotransmitter fluctuations, they do have evidence that it activates the brain�s pain pathways. The tightness in the muscles could be part of the physiological changes that trigger the fluctuations in neurotransmitters, or the neurotransmitter fluctuations could cause muscle tightness.
Some common triggers of tension headaches include:
Clenching the jaw
Alcohol or drugs
Certain medications (even some medications for headaches which can cause rebound headaches)
Keeping your head in one position for too long (like using a cell phone or computer)
Neck or head injury (even old injuries)
Sleeping in a cold room or in an awkward position.
Sleeping on a worn-out mattress or the wrong pillow
Certain foods can also be triggers for tension headaches. Additives and preservatives in prepared foods, even high sodium, can cause a headache.
Sinus and allergy problems can also accompany or lead to tension headaches.
Tension Headache Treatment
Over the counter and prescription medication may be recommended for tension headaches, but a good portion of the treatment involves lifestyle changes. Relaxation techniques, dietary changes, and exercise are all common treatments for tension headaches. Patients may be advised to stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption, or avoid certain foods.
Many patients find that keeping a headache journal is very useful in pinpointing triggers. There are several headache tracking apps that you can install on your smartphone and use them to get a better handle on your headaches.
Chiropractic for Tension Headaches
Chiropractic is a very effective, natural treatment for tension headaches. In addition to recommended lifestyle changes, the chiropractor may also make adjustments to realign the vertebrae and spine. The chiropractor may also use massage and other treatments that encourage relaxation of the muscles and relieve stress. He or she will use spinal manipulation of the neck and upper back to bring the body back into alignment, relieving not only the pain but the tension as well.
Headaches are a real pain (insert eye-roll here).�Many individuals suffer from them, and there are a variety of causes, symptoms, and treatment options. For some, they are a rare occurrence, while others deal with them on a weekly, or even daily, basis. They can range from minor inconveniences to full-fledged life-changing afflictions.
The first step in treating headaches is to understand�the�type of headache you are�experiencing. Some people think they have a migraine, when in fact, they are suffering from a tension headache. While tension headaches are more common, it’s estimated by the Migraine Research Foundation that 1 in 4 U.S. Households include someone with a migraine.
Determining which headache being dealt with takes a bit of research.�Individuals�suffering from�headaches need to�ask themselves these questions to determine if they are having a migraine, or experiencing�a tension headache.
When in life�did the headaches begin? According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines start in adolescence or early adulthood. In contrast, tension headaches can start at any time in a person’s life. If an adult just began suffering from headaches, they are most likely tension headaches.
Where does it hurt? Migraines typically occur on one side of the head. Tension headaches affect both sides of the head and can produce a feeling of pressure at the forehead area. The location of the pain is a vital indicator of�the type of headache.
What kind of pain is it? If it is a dull pain, a feeling of pressure, or tenderness around the scalp, it’s most likely a tension headache. If, on the other hand, the pain is throbbing or pulsing pain, it could be a migraine. Both�headaches can offer up severe pain, just different types.
Are there any other symptoms?Migraines typically come with symptoms beyond head pain. Nausea, light and sound sensitivity, seeing bright flashing or sparkling lights, pins and needle sensations down one or both arms,�or dizziness are common. Individuals who don’t experience any of these symptoms are most likely dealing with a tension headache.
Can you function? While painful and frustrating, many people with a tension headache can still perform their jobs, drive, read, and deal with daily life. A migraine is a different story. Lying in a dark, quiet room with a sleep mask on until the headache passes is how most people handle migraines. If the headache is life-disrupting, it could very well be a migraine.
Do regular painkillers work? Tension headaches can often be relieved by over-the-counter pain medications. Migraines don’t budge with these treatments. Once a migraine is in full force, the sufferer generally must ride it out. If a headache reacts well to a couple of non-prescription painkillers, it’s most likely a tension headache.
The majority of individuals�will, unfortunately,�deal with a headache at one point in their lives.�It’s important to note that tension headaches are much more common than migraines, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a headache being a migraine. The answers to the above�questions combined give insight as to the type of a headache occurring, and how best to proactively handle the treatment. No matter the type of headache, if the pain is severe, or begins after a head injury, seek medical treatment immediately.
45 million Americans suffer headaches on a regular basis. There are the traditional methods used to treat them, which include taking over the counter medications or taking pharmaceutical concoctions to eliminate pain and reduce swelling. However, none of these solutions provide permanent relief that address the core of the problem.
In recent years, people throughout the country are seeking alternative forms of therapy for all types of conditions, especially headaches. One treatment that is promising for physical and other types of pain is chiropractic treatment.
This form of alternative care has been used for over a hundred years and is a regular part of the American healthcare delivery system. Insurance providers are growing and are willing to pay for chiropractic because of its effectiveness.
Chiropractic school begins by studying human anatomy in great detail, like other medical professionals. In addition to looking at how the body works together physically, training primarily revolves around the diagnosis and treatment of misalignments in the spine known as subluxations.
Theses subluxations compress nerve tissue that affects organ function, soft tissue like muscle, ligaments and tendons and can eventually manifest as other health problems if not treated.
Once the nerves are disrupted pain will result. While it usually manifests itself as physical pain, this is not always the case. In some instances, the person may experience difficulties with sleep or other routine habits.
�How Does Chiropractic Help People Who Suffer From Headaches
On the first visit with a chiropractor, a review of health history will be completed. These include x-rays (if they are needed), in order to determine the type of nerve blockage that may be occurring. They will listen to the patient, make an assessment, and determine what type/s of treatment is best.
With headaches, there is usually a misalignment (subluxation) in the cervical spine. This may be accompanied by muscles that are tight in the neck, shoulders and surrounding area. Pressure on the nerves can cause sharp stabbing pain or a continual throbbing pain in the region.
The chiropractor will assess the area and then begin treatment, known as a chiropractic adjustment. The adjustment is what relieves the pressure and pain. The relief is usually instantaneous, with an increase in positive symptoms for the following few hours.
Chiropractors don�t just focus on relieving symptoms but getting to the root cause and correcting the problem. That is why additional treatments/adjustments are often required, as one adjustment is usually not enough. A chiropractor will take time to educate patients on treatment, therapy exercises, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and regular adjustments.
If you’re tired and no longer want to suffer from headaches, see how beneficial chiropractic care can be, then please give us a call to schedule an appointment!
Injury Medical Clinic:�Chiropractic Care Migraines & Headaches
My treatment with Dr. Alex Jimenez has been helping me by simply making me less tired. I’m not experiencing as many headaches. The headaches are going down dramatically and my back feels much better. I would highly recommend Dr. Alex Jimenez. He’s very friendly, his staff is very friendly and everybody goes well beyond what they can do to help you. -�Shane Scott
A majority of the populations has suffered from this well-known nagging health issue, however, did you know that headaches can sometimes be caused by neck pain? While these headaches are commonly referred to as as cervicogenic headaches, other types of headaches, such as cluster headaches and even migraines, have also been determined to be caused by neck pain. Neck pain can develop due to a variety of reasons and it can vary tremendously from mild to severe.
Therefore, it’s fundamental to seek a proper diagnosis if you’ve experienced headaches or neck pain to determine the root cause of your symptoms as well as to properly determine what treatment option will be best for your specific health issue. Healthcare professionals will assess your upper back, or the cervical spine, including your neck, base of the skull and cranium, and also all the surrounding muscles and nerves to find the source of your symptoms. Before seeking help from a doctor, however, it’s important to understand how neck pain can cause headaches. Below, we will discuss the anatomy of the cervical spine, or neck, as well as demonstrate how neck pain is connected to headaches.
How Neck Pain Causes Headaches
The muscles located between the shoulder blades, upper portion of the shoulders and those surrounding the neck, or cervical spine, may all cause neck pain if they become too tight or stiff. This can generally occur due to trauma or damage from an injury, as well as in consequence to bad posture or poor sitting, lifting or work habits. The tight muscles will result in your neck joints feeling stiff or compressed and it can even radiate pain towards your shoulders. Over time, the balance of the neck muscles changes and those specific muscles which are meant to support the neck become weak and can ultimately begin to make the head start to feel heavy, increasing the risk of experiencing neck pain as well as headaches..
Furthermore, the roots of the upper 3 cervical spinal nerves, which are found at C1, C2, and C3, share a pain nucleus, which routes pain signals to the brain, along with the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is the main sensory nerve that is in charge of carrying messages from the face to your brain. Because of the shared nerve tracts, pain is misunderstood and thus “felt” by the brain as being located in the head. Fortunately, many healthcare professionals�are experienced in the assessment and correction of muscular imbalances which may lead to neck pain and headaches. Moreover, they can help to relieve muscle tension, enhance muscle length and joint mobility, and retrain correct posture.
What Causes Neck Pain and Headaches?
Cervicogenic headaches, otherwise known as “neck headaches”, are caused by painful neck joints, tendons or other structures surrounding the neck, or cervical spine, which may refer pain to the bottom of the skull, to your face or head. Researchers believe that neck headaches, or cervicogenic headaches, account for approximately 20 percent of all headaches diagnosed clinically. Cervicogenic headaches and neck pain are closely associated with each other, although other types of headaches can also cause neck pain.
This type of head pain generally starts because of an injury, stiffness or lack of proper functioning of the joints found at the top of your neck, as well as tight neck muscles or swollen nerves, which could trigger pain signals that the brain then interprets as neck pain. The usual cause of neck headaches is dysfunction in the upper three neck joints, or 0/C1, C1/C2, C2/C3, including added tension in the sub-occipital muscles. Other causes for cervicogenic headaches and neck pain can include:
Cranial tension or trauma
TMJ (JAW) tension or altered bite
The Link Between Migraines and Neck Pain
Neck pain and migraines also have an intricate connection with each other. While in some cases, severe trauma, damage or injury to the neck can lead to severe headaches like migraine, in other situations neck pain might be the result of a migraine headache. However, it’s never a good idea to assume that one is the end result of the other. Seeking treatment for neck pain when the reason for your concern is in fact a migraine, often will not lead to effective pain management or pain relief. The best thing that you can do if you’re experiencing neck pain and headaches is to seek immediate medical attention from a specialized healthcare professional in order to determine the cause of your pain, as well as to determine the root cause of the symptoms.
Unfortunately, neck pain, as well as a variety of headaches, are commonly misdiagnosed or even sometimes go undiagnosed for an extended period of time. As a matter of fact, one of the top reasons as to why neck pain may be so difficult to treat is primarily because it takes a long time for people to take this health issue seriously and seek a proper diagnosis. Waiting an extended amount of time to take care of your neck pain, especially after an injury, may lead to acute pain and it may even make the symptoms more difficult to control, turning them into chronic pain. By the time a patient seeks diagnosis for their neck pain, it may have already been a persistent problem. Also, the most frequent reasons people seek treatment for neck pain and headaches include:
Chronic migraines and headaches
Restricted neck function, including difficulties moving the head
Soreness in the neck, upper back and shoulders
Stabbing pain and other symptoms, particularly in the neck
Pain radiating from the neck and shoulders to the fingertips
Aside from the symptoms mentioned above, individuals with neck pain and headaches can also experience additional symptoms, including nausea, diminished eyesight, difficulty concentrating, severe fatigue, and even difficulty sleeping.While there are circumstances in which the cause of your headaches or neck pain may be apparent, such as being in a recent automobile accident or suffering from sport-related trauma, damage or injuries, in several instances, the cause may not be quite as obvious.
Because neck pain and headaches can also develop as a result of bad posture or even due to nutritional problems, it’s fundamental to find�the origin of the pain to increase the success of treatment, in addition to enabling you to prevent the health issue from happening again in the future. It’s common for a healthcare professional to devote their time working with you to ascertain what could have caused the pain in the first place.
A Health Issue You Can’t Ignore
Neck pain is typically not a problem which should be ignored. You may think that you’re only experiencing minor neck discomfort and that it’s irrelevant to any other health issues you may be having, but more frequently than not, you can’t know for sure till you receive a proper diagnosis for your symptoms. Patients who seek immediate medical attention and treatment for their neck-centered problems are surprised to learn that some of the other health issues they may be experiencing may actually be correlated, such as in the case of neck pain and headaches. Thus, even in the event that you think you can “live with” not being able to turn your neck completely, other health issues can develop, and these problems might be more challenging to deal with.
There are circumstances in which a pinched nerve in the neck is the main reason for chronic tension headaches, where a previous sports injury that was not properly addressed before is now the cause of the individual’s limited neck mobility and in which a bruised vertebrae at the base of the neck induces throbbing sensations throughout the spine, which radiates through the shoulders into the arms, hands and fingers. You might also blame your chronic migraines on a hectic schedule and stressful conditions, however, it might truly be a consequence of poor posture and the obligated hours that you spend hunched over a computer screen.�Untreated neck pain might even lead to problems you might never expect, such as balance problems or trouble gripping objects. This is because all the neural roots located on the upper ligaments of the cervical spine, or neck, are connected to other parts of the human body, from your biceps to each one of your small fingers.
Working with a healthcare professional to relieve the root cause of your neck pain and headaches may significantly enhance your quality of life and may be able to eliminate other symptoms from turning into a significant problem. While the most common causes of chronic migraines are generally caused by another health issue or nutritional deficiency, you might also be amazed to learn how often the outcome is something which may be resolved with concentrated exercises and stretches recommended by a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor. Additionally, you may understand that the health issues you’ve been having often develop from compressed, pinched, irritated or inflamed nerves in your upper cervical nerves.
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Insight
Although it may be difficult to distinguish the various types of headaches, neck pain is generally considered to be a common symptom associated with head pain. Cervicogenic headaches are very similar to migraines, however, the primary difference between these two types of head pain is that a migraine occurs in the brain while a cervicogenic headache occurs in the base of the skull or in the cervical spine, or neck. Furthermore, some headaches may be caused by stress, tiredness, eyestrain and/or trauma or injury along the complex structures of the cervical spine, or neck. If you are experiencing neck pain and headaches, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional in order to determine the true cause of your symptoms.
Treatment for Neck Pain and Headaches
Foremost, a healthcare professional must�determine the cause of an individual’s symptoms through the use of appropriate diagnostic tools as well as to make sure they have the utmost success in relieving the headache and neck pain without prolonging the duration of the symptoms and extra cost of incorrect therapy. Once an individual’s source of neck pain and headaches has been diagnosed, the kind of treatment a patient receives ought to be dependent on the type of headache. As a rule of thumb, treatment starts once the diagnosis has been made.�A healthcare professional will work with you to create a treatment plan that’s appropriate for your specific health issues. In your sessions, you’ll be taken through procedures that help build flexibility and strength.
Chiropractic care is a well-known, alternative treatment option which focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a variety of musculoskeletal and nervous system injuries and/or conditions. A doctor of chiropractic, or chiropractor, can help treat neck pain and headache symptoms by carefully correcting any spinal misalignments, or subluxations, in the cervical spine or neck, through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, among other therapeutic techniques. Chiropractors, as well as physical therapists, may also utilize�a combination of gentle Muscle Energy Techniques, muscle building, joint slides, cranio-sacral therapy, and specific posture and muscle re-education to lower the strain being placed on the structures surrounding the cervical spine.�The staff will also help you understand how to better position yourself during your daily life to prevent relapses, like ergonomic and posture tips. Contact a healthcare professional in order for them to be able to assist you immediately.
In cases where alternative treatment options have been utilized without any results, or sometimes simply being used together with other complementary treatment approaches, pain drugs and/or medications may be contemplated, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anti-seizure agents such as gabapentin, tricyclic anti-depressants, or migraine prescriptions. If pain medications prove ineffective, then injections may be contemplated, including peripheral nerve blocks, atlantoaxial joint block administered at C1-C2, or aspect joint blocks administered in C2-C3. Surgical interventions may also be other treatment options, however, healthcare professionals suggest attempting all other treatment options before considering surgery.�The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at�915-850-0900�.
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes for disability and missed days at work worldwide. As a matter of fact, back pain has been attributed as the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience some type of back pain at least once throughout their life. The spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles, among other soft tissues. Because of this, injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.
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