Headaches - Cherry Creek Spine & Pain


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Headaches, especially chronic headaches, can be a sign of poor sleep, stress, overuse of caffeine, or poor posture. Headaches are classified as pains in your head that cause pressure and aching. The majority of headaches are tension headaches, which are often caused by stress, muscle strain, and poor posture. Chiropractic care and spinal manipulation are one effective treatment for tension headaches.



Did You Know?

95 percent of Americans experience headaches. The vast majority of these headaches are classified as primary headaches, which are not caused by any disease. In fact, the majority of primary headaches are caused by muscle tension in the neck. Sedentary activities such as sitting in front of a computer, or staying in any one position for an extended period of time can cause joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back, and scalp.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between a headache and a migraine?


Headaches exhibit themselves as pain and pressure in your head.They usually affect both sides of your head and are commonly found to occur in the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. The most common type of headaches are tension headaches, however there are also cluster headaches, sinus headaches, chiari headaches, and thunderclap headaches.


  • Tension headaches: can cause mild, moderate, or intense pain in your head, neck, or behind your eyes, as well as an overall sense of pressure.
  • Cluster headaches: severely painful headaches that occur on one side of the head.They earn their name because they occur in cycles, or clusters, and then are followed by periods of no headaches.
  • Sinus headaches: occurs during a sinus infection and is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, stuffy nose, cough, congestion, and facial pressure in the sinus area. Sometimes confused with a migraine.
  • Chiari headache: caused by a birth defect called Chiari malformation which causes pain in the back of the head from the skull pushing on the brain.
  • Thunderclap headaches: Extremely severe headache that occurs in 60 seconds or less and can be a symptom of several medical conditions. Call 911 if you have a thunderclap headache.  


Migraines, on the other hand, are classified as intense or severe pains in your head that are accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, pain behind your eye or ear, pain in the temples, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light and sound, temporary vision loss, or vomiting. Generally speaking, migraines only affect one side of the head and is classified by throbbing pain, rather than pressure.

Migraines are usually divided into two types: with an aura and without an aura. An aura is the name given to various sensations an individual experiences about 10-30 minutes before the migraine sets in. These can include trouble thinking, feeling less alert, seeing flashing lights or lines, feeling tingling or numbness in the hands or face, or having unusual sensory experiences with smell, taste, or touch.


Brain being hammered by wrecking balls

What causes headaches or migraines?

Headaches or migraines can be caused by a number of different triggers. At Cherry Creek Spine & Pain, your chiropractor will help you to identify and address these triggers to minimize your headaches. Some possible triggers can include: alcohol (especially red wine), poor posture, missed meals, certain foods (like processed meats), lack of sleep, and excessive stress.

Headaches can also be caused by over activity with pain sensitive structures in the head such as nerves joints, and muscles. However, sometimes headaches are the result of pain originating in the neck from irritated spine joints or soft tissues.


How can chiropractic care help my headaches or migraines?

Dr. Bryan Foss, D.C. may manipulate your spine or perform chiropractic adjustments to reduce tension and increase function, provide nutritional advice pertaining to your chiropractic health, and offer guidance on posture, ergonomics, stretches, and relaxation techniques to reduce joint irritation and tension. Because the majority of headaches are caused by muscle strain in the neck and shoulders, having a chiropractor align your spine and stretch out your muscles will decrease the frequency of your headaches and can possibly eliminate them altogether.

Chiropractic care can also help to reduce migraine symptoms by decreasing their frequency, intensity, duration, and increasing an individual’s quality of life. Once possible theory for this is that by properly aligning the spinal structures, chiropractic care opens up the blood vessels and prevents them from throbbing, which is thought to be a possible cause of migraines. However, research is still being done on the effects of chiropractic care on migraines.

To find out what chiropractic care can do for your headaches or migraines, schedule a consultation with Dr. Bryan Foss, D.C. at Cherry Creek Spine & Pain today.


Woman receiving chiropractic care

What should I expect during my chiropractic appointment?

During your chiropractic appointment, Dr. Bryan Foss, D.C. will start by asking you about your symptoms, family health history, and your dietary and sleep habits. If any possible headache triggers are identified, these will be discussed as well as ways to decrease your headache triggers. Next, if Dr. Bryan Foss, D.C. finds that your spine is misaligned, they may perform a chiropractic adjustment to properly align your neck and spine. Properly aligning your neck and spine will reduce any possible strain to your musculoskeletal system and should help alleviate the severity and frequency of your headaches.


What can I do between appointments to prevent or alleviate headaches?

To prevent possible headaches from occurring, be sure to avoid or manage the headache triggers discussed at your appointment. You will also want to get enough sleep each night, drink enough water to avoid dehydration, and stretch daily to keep your muscles from becoming strained.

In addition, you may also want to avoid or limit the amount of time spent doing the following activities because they can place too much strain on your neck muscles and cause a tension headache:


  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Driving for hours without rest
  • Working at a computer all day
  • Playing video games for hours
  • Constantly looking down at your phone
  • Clenching your jaw at night or during the day


Cherry Creek Spine & Pain is the premier choice for natural and effective back and neck pain relief in Denver, Colorado. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Bryan Foss, D.C. today!