STAPLETON: Your neck may cause your headaches

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By Dr. James Stapleton

One of the leading causes of a headache is tension in the muscles of the neck. And in this time of layoffs, foreclosures and shrinking retirement funds, who among us is without stress?

Spinal manipulation, the primary art of the chiropractor, has been shown to be effective in easing the problem of tension headaches. Results of a Duke University study released in 2001 showed that spinal manipulation created an almost immediate improvement in headaches that originated in the neck.

The study also showed that manipulation provided fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief than a medication commonly prescribed in such cases.

Headaches, of course, can be caused by other factors, such as environmental triggers like loud noise and bright lights. And about 5 percent of headaches are symptoms of some other physical problem.

One way to avoid tension headaches is to stretch every 30 minutes or so if your job or your lifestyle keeps you sedentary or sitting in one position. Move your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.


And if you are traveling…

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission: In 2007, more than 50,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, clinics and other medical settings for injuries related to luggage.

Here are some strategies to prevent injuries when lifting and carrying luggage:

  • Pack lightly. When possible, pack items in a few smaller bags instead of one large luggage piece. It is better – and may prevent muscle sprains and strains – to carry a lighter bag in each hand rather than one heavy bag in one hand or over one shoulder.
  • As with any heavy lifting, you should bend at the knees and lift luggage with your leg muscles – not your back and waist – and avoid twisting and rotating your spine. Stand alongside your suitcase, bend at your knees, then grasp the handle and straighten up. Also, try to carry luggage as close to your body as possible.
  • When placing luggage in an overhead compartment, first lift it onto the top of the seat. Then, with the hands situated on the left and right sides of the suitcase, lift it up. If your luggage has wheels, make sure the wheel-side is set in the compartment first. Once wheels are inside, put one hand atop the luggage and push it to the back of the compartment. To remove the luggage, reverse this process.


Dr. James Stapleton is an owner of Shelby County Chiropractic. You may reach him at 633-1073 or visit www.shelbycountychiropractic.com.