New Research Reveals the Back Pain/Headache Connection
Back pain and headaches often go hand in hand. There have long been theories about how the two conditions are related. But the latest research reveals that the connection may be stronger than anyone thought.
It shows that if you suffer from one of these issues, it doubles your risk for developing the other one.
These findings could change the approach to treating these conditions and help get relief for people who suffer from them.
The research was published in the Journal of Headache and Pain. Here are some highlights:
- It studied the link between chronic headaches and persistent low back pain.
- Researchers reviewed 14 existing studies.
- The studies had sample sizes ranging up to 400,000 people.
- Every study they reviewed suggested there’s a connection.
- The connection is even stronger for people who suffer from migraines.
How Are They Linked?
It’s still unclear exactly how the two issues are connected. But there are a few theories.
One possibility is that it’s related to how people feel pain differently. Researchers say that genetic differences in how pain is signalled could mean that some people are just more likely to feel pain from these conditions and to be more sensitive to it.
The Vicious Cycle
Another explanation is based on psychology. It says that chronic pain can lead to a vicious cycle. That’s because pain can cause mental health issues which then increase your sensitivity to pain. So as your pain worsens, so does your mental state, and vice versa. This cycle increases your chances of ending up with both conditions.
And for some people, the cause may be an underlying health issue that leads to both headaches and back pain. That can include things like poor posture, vitamin deficiencies, injuries, and certain diseases.
What Does This Mean for Treatment?
The findings highlight the importance of taking a whole-body approach to health care. It shows that the old-school philosophy of treating these conditions separately is not the most effective solution.
According to the researchers, combined treatment is the answer. They say that whenever a doctor is treating one of these issues, they need to ask about the other and tailor the treatment accordingly.
Chiropractic Can Help
You probably know that chiropractors are experts at treating back pain. But chiropractic care has also been proven as an effective treatment for chronic headaches.
That’s because the adjustments and spinal manipulations that chiropractors perform can alleviate stress on many areas of your body—including the nerves and muscles that cause headaches.
Chiropractors also have the training to provide advice for relieving both back pain and headaches. That includes recommendations on posture, ergonomics, nutrition, exercises, stretches, and relaxation techniques.
Take a Whole-Body Approach
The adjustments and advice chiropractors can provide make them a great starting point for your treatment. But you shouldn’t stop there. You should talk to your healthcare providers about creating a whole-body treatment plan. Since your health issues can often be connected or come from sources you might not expect, this is the best way to uncover the root causes and ensure they don’t return.