Friday, June 27, 2014

Do You Suffer from Chronic Headaches?

Do you suffer from headaches?  Headaches, or cephalgia is described as pain in the head and neck region.  As a chiropractor, I treat headaches everyday, so I understand how debilitating they can be.  If you are someone who suffers daily from headaches, then you know how they can interfere with every aspect of your life.  It is my goal to identify the cause of your headaches and give you lasting relief so that you can start living your life again.

What Causes Headaches?

Headaches can be very difficult to diagnose because there are over 200 different types of headaches.  Some are benign, and some can be life-threatening.  The brain itself does not have pain fibers and cannot sense pain.  The pain that you feel from headaches is caused by pain-sensitive structures surrounding the brain.  There are nine of these structures in the head and neck, they are the cranium, muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses, and mucous membrane.

Types of Headaches
Headaches are classified as either, "primary" or "secondary".  Primary headaches are benign and not caused by any underlining disease or structural problems.  Migraines are a type of primary headache.  While migraines can be very debilitating, they are not dangerous or life threatening. 

On the other hand, secondary headaches are usually caused by an underlying disease, like a tumor, brain bleed, or infection.  Secondary headaches can be harmless, or can be life threatening.  There are certain "Red Flags" that you should pay attention to that may indicate a life threatening headache.

Red Flags
The following are some red flags that may indicate a dangerous headache:
1. New headache after age 50
2. Very sudden onset of headache, (thunderclap headache)
3. Headache increasing in frequency and severity
4. New onset of headache in an individual with possible HIV or cancer.
5. Headache following head trauma.
6. Headache with full body illness, (fever, rash, stiff neck).
7. Inability to move a limb.
8. Change in personality, consciousness, or mental state.
9. Headache caused by cough or physical exertion.

Treatment for Headaches

In my practice the most common types of headaches that I treat are primary headaches, like migraines and tension headaches.  Many of my patients suffer from chronic repetitive stress in the neck and shoulders from poor posture because they sit at a desk all day.  When this happens, the head and shoulders begin to roll forward, thus placing a lot of stress on the muscles and joints in the cervical spine.  For every one inch of anterior translation of the head, 10 lbs. of stress is placed on the neck.  This will cause the muscles at the base of the skull to spasm, and when this happens the nerves will become irritated.  This is the beginning of a tension headache.

My approach to treating headaches is the same as if I were treating any other area of the body.  First I address joint restrictions through chiropractic adjustments.  Joint mobility is essential to overall health.  Next, I address the tight and tender muscles with Active Release Technique or other soft tissue therapies.  The third, and probably most important, step in treating headaches is to teach my patients corrective exercises that will improve their posture and help to prevent headaches in the future.  The final step is to educate my patients on stress management.  The majority of us live very stressful lives, which can take its toll on our health.  Managing your stress levels is vital to preventing headaches and living an Optimized Lifestyle.


The following is a testimony from one of my patients who suffered from headaches before coming to see me.

I visited Dr. Burnett on the advice of my primary care physician. I had severe headaches with vomiting and two visits to the emergency room. After the very first visit, I had no further headaches. I continued to see Dr. Burnett; first once a week, then every two weeks. As of this writing, I am seeing him once a month. He gave me exercises to do at home starting with the first visit and added additional ones on subsequent visits. Some were difficult at first, but after a while I got so I could do them easily and without pain. I am still working on my right shoulder but I am confident it will soon be as functional as my left. It is surprisingly that there are so many areas in your body that contribute to headaches. I would highly recommend Dr. Burnett.

- Karen Trogdon

If you or someone you know suffers from headaches, you don't have to anymore.  Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and take back your life. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Please take a minute to visit my social media sites.

Burnett Chiropractic @BurnettChiro


Thanks for reading.  If you would like to learn more about other services that I offer, please contact the office.

In Health,

Brian C.Burnett, D.C., M.S.
Chiropractic Physician
Brian Burnett Chiropractic, PL
1108 Hays St. Tallahassee, FL
O: 850-222-5362