There’s no two ways about it – headaches suck.

I meet a variety of headache sufferers in my practice. For some, when a headache or migraine strikes, life comes to a complete HALT and they run for cover in a dark room. For others, they may notice a dull headache that lasts up to ten days or more, which they manage with over-the-counter pain meds. Neither is to be scoffed at. If you’ve ever struggled with this problem, here are three questions you must ask yourself first:

1. Are You Hydrated Enough?

One of the simplest causes of headaches is dehydration. Keep tabs on your water consumption. Also, how much coffee did you drink today? Remember to replace the water your body loses as a result. Constant emotional stress leads to dehydration as well – an insightful Osteopath/colon hydrotherapist let me in on this detail while I was “recovering” from our new house purchase and move in 2018, and I was OVERdehydrated…

Finally, how active have you been? Be sure to rehydrate after a run or intense workout.

2. Are You Staring Too Much At A Screen?

Another common cause is excess screen time. Google the dangers of “blue light”. It may help to add a blue light filter to your device or otherwise take frequent vision breaks. Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

3. Do You Need A New Prescription?

This is another super simple one that people often miss. Vision changes over time can mean that you are straining (even if slightly) to focus on things. Updating your prescription (or getting reading glasses) can be a game-changer.

These are some obvious places to go to first.

Stress, certain foods and alcohol may also be culprits.

However, a frequent and overlooked cause may be the misalignment and malfunction of spinal bones and nerves in the upper neck (especially at or near the top of the neck or the top of the shoulders). When spinal nerves and the structures around them are compressed, stretched, or irritated, they can produce abnormal body function – with headaches a common effect of that abnormal, stress-induced state. Several studies have shown chiropractic to be effective in correcting these sorts of issues.

If you’re curious, I’ve listed just a few of those studies at the bottom of the page here. I’m also happy to report that many of my practice members can’t remember the last time they had a headache. It’s crucial to note chiropractors don’t “treat” headaches. Instead, we identify causes of headaches (and many other symptoms or conditions) related to the spine and spinal nerves. Next, spinal adjustment-based care helps restore alignment and reduce nerve signal breakdown. That’s usually what enables the headaches to get better on their own. Drugs, apart from their many side effects, might treat the symptoms but they ignore the cause of the headache.

Finally, because headaches are so common, many people believe that getting a headache is a normal part of life. Not so. Headaches are usually a sign that something is wrong. And neither stress nor headaches are caused by having too little aspirin in your blood.

Hope you found this useful.

Dr. Josh

P.S. Watch this brief 2-minute video to find out what one patient with severe headaches and light sensitivity had to say about his experience with chiropractic care: