Headaches and migraines are super common and they can really affect your quality of life. Did your doctor tell you about ALL of the different causes of headaches? Unfortunately reaching for the Advil, Tylenol, rubbing your temples or even the stronger stuff like using neurologist-prescribed triptans, antihistamines, anti-seizure drugs, or antidepressants, to treat their pain. In extreme cases even sedatives may be prescribed to help sufferers sleep off the pain. At my clinic in Tampa, FL I use Acupuncture to help Headaches every single day.
But does any of this actually fix your headache?
The answer is unfortunately, NO. The good news is that at my Dry Needling Clinic and Acupuncture Clinic in Tampa, FL, I help patients with every kind of headache. What I do is VERY different than what your regular doctor does. I help to find the CAUSE of your headache instead of just giving you a handful of pills and hoping for the best.
Find the Cause of Your Headache
Until you find and cure the cause of your headaches, they will always come back. If you had a rock in your shoe, you could take Advil everyday to help with the pain but would that ever fix anything? Of course not. You want to get the rock and take it out, then your pain goes away. Why should a headache be treated any differently? Find the cause, the source, of your headache, and get the problem fixed.
Choose the Right Professional for the Job
Neurologists focus on diagnosing and treating vascular headaches (migraines) and throw drugs at the symptoms. At best you’re going to get a prescription to take every time you get a headache. Most headaches are musculo-skeletal in nature, so in the end this approach won’t help to fix anything. You’ll be stuck with a drug to take everytime you feel a headache coming on. Most headaches have an musculo-skeletal origin but since your family doctor was only exposed to the neurology view, the real causes of headaches are often missed. The good news is that Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM in Tampa, FL is an expert in treating headaches and migraines with Dry Needling and Electro-Acupuncture. So let’s talk about 5 types of headaches.
4 Types of Headaches
Injured neck joints—Your neck has joints, just like your fingers, called “facet joints.” How can they get injured? Overuse, like looking down at your phone or computer all day. In a car crash or when you fall and hit your head (or something hits your head). These joints can also become arthritic without injury.
Irritated nerves—There are nerves at the back of the head that can cause headaches. The two most commonly involved are the greater and lesser occipital nerves. These can be irritated by bad posture, loss of neck curve, instability, and so on. In addition, there are small muscles at base of the skull that connect into the covering of the brain called the dura. When these muscles spasm they can yank on the dura leading to headaches.
Weak muscles—The most common weak muscles that lead to headaches are the deep neck flexors in the front of the neck. However, weak muscles can also be found in the upper neck or even at each level in the back of the neck. These lead to areas that are unstable and the extra wear and tear on discs, joints, and tendons can also lead to headaches.
Trigger points—Trigger points are areas in the muscle that are tight and weak and cause pain. Many different muscles in the neck (and a few in the head) can cause headache. This is referred pain, where a spot in the muscle shoots pain to the head.
So What Can You Do Besides Take Pills?
At my Dry Needling & Electro-Acupuncture Clinic in Tampa, FL, I take a comprehensive approach to treating your headaches and migraines. We start by performing a thorough physical exam to find your pain generator (something most docs never do is a thorough physical exam. Has your doctor ever touched or palpated to exam your headaches??).
After a physical exam, we use a combination of dry needling and electro-acupuncture to help repair damaged facet joints, chill out irritated nerves, restore strength to weak muscles and bust up trigger points.
In the end, no drug is a safe long-term solution. Find the cause of your headaches and seek out treatments to fix or at least manage it long-term. Be proactive and stop that next headache before it starts!