Headaches are a common complaint among stressed-out urbanites in Hong Kong, with one in 20 people experiencing chronic headaches every day. However, if you experience frequent or severe headaches, it can be extremely frustrating and lead to other ailments such as depression. In that case, it is important to seek medical attention at a professional clinic and get the right treatment to relieve related pain.
Headaches typically develop in the head or neck. According to the International Headache Society, there are more than 14 types of headaches, with tension headaches and migraines being the most common.
What are the causes of headaches?
It is helpful to identify the cause of your headache in order to seek appropriate treatment.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache in Hong Kong and many places around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 67% of men and 80% of women suffer from this type of headache. Caused by physical or mental stress, it occurs when a tender point is stimulated by muscle tension in the neck, and the range of pain extends to the head. Tension headaches are usually mild to moderate in intensity and may include symptoms like head tension, dull pain in the forehead/temple area, and tired eyes.
Migraines may be preceded or accompanied by symptoms such as vision disturbance (blind spots or blurred vision), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, and extreme sensitivity to light or sound. Pain is usually limited to one side, but can also occur on both sides of the head at the same time. Migraines can range from moderate to severe pain, involving a throbbing sensation that could disrupt normal life and last for hours or even days.
The proportion of women and men that suffer from migraine is 17% and 6% respectively. Migraines may be triggered by hormonal changes (especially for women), certain foods (such as alcohol, cheese, chocolate, MSG, etc.), strong sensory stimulation (bright light, noise, strong smell, etc.), excessive physical exertion and stress, etc.
What headache symptoms require immediate medical attention?
In addition to the more common types of headaches listed above, there are many other causes of headaches. Seek appropriate diagnosis and treatment at a professional clinic in Hong Kong if you have the following headache-related symptoms:
- Sudden onset of headaches of unprecedented severity
- Headache accompanied by neck stiffness, fever, weakness, or trouble speaking
- Headaches that get progressively worse after a head injury
What is the chiropractic treatment approach for headaches?
- Pain reduction - For both acute and chronic headache, the initial goal of treatment initially would be to reduce the pain, or to “break the pain cycle”. As the pain level is reduced, the muscles will relax, reversing the pain cycle.
- Restore normal joint mechanics – Depending on the examination findings, your chiropractor will then adjust (manipulate) the vertebral joints that are misaligned (subluxated) to restore proper movement within the joints. This may take place on the first treatment or on any subsequent treatments as deemed necessary.
- Improve flexibility and strength – Especially for tension-type headaches, it is important to improve the flexibility of the joints and muscles. Your chiropractor will advise you on appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises according to your physical needs and fitness level.
- Lifestyle adjustments – Other factors like exercises, diet, working posture, sleep etc. may play a vital role in the development and otherwise prevention of head and neck pain. Your chiropractor will work with you to identify lifestyle adjustments that will help you maximize the quality of your health.
How effective is chiropractic treatment for headaches?
Performed by a qualified practitioner at a licensed clinic, chiropractic is an effective and popular treatment method. For a list of research on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment of headache, please click here.
What are the Recommended Treatments for Headaches?*
- Spinal manipulation - for restoration of joint movements
- Dry-needling - for pain relief and relax muscles
- Ultrasound Therapy - for reducing inflammation
- Interferential Current Therapy - for relaxing muscles and enhance circulation
- Shockwave Therapy - to speed up tissue healing
Author: Dr Claudia Ng, BSc, DC
Related article: Migraines: what causes them, who gets them and how to treat them – medication or meditation
Most people in the Hong Kong (HK) region have experienced a headache at some stage in their lives. Previous research by specialists has found that while the rate of migraines and other headaches in HK is lesser than in Western communities, it is higher than in mainland China.
If you’re tired of having your daily routine affected by headaches, there are plenty of resources for you to get the help you need. There are a range of specialist clinics across Hong Kong who can help direct you to the most appropriate treatment path. Any questions? Feel free to contact us for assistance.
* A proper diagnosis has to be obtained for all of the above conditions before an appropriate combination of treatments will be provided. This is just a list of possible treatments for the individual condition but not all of them may be necessary, nor is it limited to those listed only.
Got a Question?
If you have a question about chiropractic treatment for headaches or want to book a consultation at our clinic in Central, Hong Kong, please feel free to contact us.