Alternative Approach to Headaches in Mississauga

10 Mar
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Alternative Approach to Headaches in Mississauga

Most people try to ignore their headaches and others can’t because they are so severe or become migraines. Initial investigations typically let you know that there is no tumor in your head or pathological reason for your headaches. On paper you are normal, but you still have headaches! Our Mississauga Chiropractor, Dr. Callum Peever,  shares with you in the video below regarding alternative approaches to headaches;

-What approach to take after medical tests have failed
-What is the impact of chemicals, foods, physical stress, and emotional stress on headaches.

Watch the videos below or read the transcripts to learn more or contact us today in Mississauga for help!


Chiropractic, Headaches, and Natural Health

Before becoming a patient of Dr. Ken Peever natural health and Chiropractic treatment was not familiar to me.  I had grown up in a time when most people had relied on their medical doctor only and there was a negative stigma around natural health and wellness. Today, we live in a society that is becoming more health conscious and willing to put in some work and effort for their wellbeing, instead of going to their medical doctors for medication. I am very fortunate to have a family doctor who is open to alternative care.  So when I told him I was going to see Dr. Peever about my headaches he was completely on board.  Growing up my family doctor had suggested everything: going on the pill to stop headaches, another pill that had the side effect of weight gain, you name it I tried it!  Nothing I had tried worked and on top of still experiencing terrible headaches I was now also unhappy. Before Chiropractic I lived with headaches almost everyday of my life.  Some days they were migraines that made me nauseous and other days were just a dull pain behind my eyes.  It got to the point that I was ready to try anything!  My Mom’s friend told her about Dr. Peever and although I didn’t know much about Chiropractic treatment I decided to give it a shot. After the first few Chiropractic adjustments from Dr. Peever I began to notice changes in my headaches.  In the beginning I was still getting some dull headaches, but I had 23 years of damage to correct. I can say that I am almost headache free!!  There is still the odd time every few months that I’ll get a mild headache but I have a routine and my wellness Chiropractic adjustments have made all the difference! Now thanks to Dr. Peever and all the wonderful Chiropractors at Erin Mills Optimum Health I have my headaches under control and my life back!

Yvonne, new Mom and part of the Front Desk Staff in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health


Headaches and Migraines

Chiropractic can make a huge impact on a person suffering with headaches and migraines. People often overlook the spine and spinal cord when they try to address their headaches. And often people only try to ignore their headaches and don’t address the causes of the problem. The pain is debilitating and life halting when suffering with headaches or migraines, but the pain is created or caused because of a reason. The neck and spine is a reason for headaches. This would be easier to identify by yourself if the pain didn’t spread or refer to various spots on the head.
I usually describe this to my patients by saying that the brain has a poor map of pain. If their is a cut on your skin it is easy to identify and locate. However, if an organ, joint, or nerve is injured or irritated the pain will spread and impact large areas or systems of the body. Heart attacks are classically felt in the left shoulder and gall bladder attacks are classical felt in the right shoulder…  neck problems are typically felt in the head or shoulders. Low back problems are classically felt in the butt or legs. Spine problems affecting the spinal cord and nerves (vertebral subluxations) have the capacity to impact the entire body due to interference to the signals originating in the brain and going along the nerves to the body.

When under regular Chiropractic care a patient becomes more in tune with their body and can identify with greater accuracy the location of the problem their body is faced with. This is of great benefit to patients suffering with headaches or migraines because they are able to learn the postural, structural, and functional triggers that can generate the headaches which are often ignored.

If you know someone suffering with headaches or migraines, get them to a Chiropractor now.


See a Headache! – MRI Videos of Spinal Fluid Flow that is impacted with Neck Postures

 

When learning about the spine and how the body functions at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto I didn’t understand from the text books how quickly the fluid in the spinal cord (Cerebral Spinal Fluid – CSF) moves.

I understood that the CSF was important for supplying nutrients/removing toxins from the brain and spinal cord and for protecting the cord from mechanical as well as chemical forces.  But I was missing a visual to understand its full functional impact on the health of the brain.

What I was missing was a visual:

Visual: The following two videos show standing functional MRI studies of a normal neck and a neck with a “blockage” created by poor postural strain on the neck and spinal cord.

(The front of the face is on the left. The back of the head is on the right. The brain is in the center with the spinal cord going down. The CSF is the black on the screen that is moving. The static is just background noise. )

Normal Neck with good flow of CSFNormal Neck with good flow of CSF. The fluid moves up and down smoothly in this case.
Blockage in neck with poor CSF flowBlockage in neck with poor CSF flow. The CSF fluid doesn’t make it past the mechanical blockage in the neck highlighted with the black arrow and “pounds” in the back of the head.

 


What did I learn as a Chiropractor from these MRI videos of the spinal cord, brain, and neck?

When I saw these functional MRI “videos”, a lot of clinical experiences made so much more sense to me. The experience that comes to mind is a pounding headache or migraine. Most people don’t make the connection of their headache or migraine pain to their neck and postures. But take one look at these videos and you can see the impact that a blockage in the neck has on the brain.  Constant physical pressure on the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid will greatly impact the health of the brain!

Through Chiropractic care, adjustments can be specifically given to the spine in order to unblock the neck. In doing so the pressure comes off the spinal cord and allows the CSF fluid to flow fluidly!

An analogy to show how the flow of fluid impacts the function of the brain and spinal cord

 

An early way to describe how Chiropractic treatment was helping a body was to use a garden hose as an analogy. When the hose is pinched, the water coming through it is slowed. The same goes for the spine with respect to the flow of CSF.

Also realize that I mention postural blockage in my description of the second video. These postural blockages, which in Chiropractic are called vertebral subluxations, can be induced by injuries, bad habits, sitting postures, and more.

A complete Chiropractic exam will help you identify any postural blockages that may be occurring in your spine. If any blockages are found, it is a good idea to correct them and keep them from returning!

Will I have pain in my neck if I have a postural blockage like the one seen in the video?

Sometimes, but not always.

Pain in the neck or pain in the back CAN be a warning sign that a blockage is occurring. Many people try to ignore or numb the pain associated with the spinal cord pressure by taking pain killers. The drug may make it hurt less, but it won’t move the bones.

But with today’s life we are so busy and focused that we usually don’t realize a health problem building up before it is too late.  A good example is a person who has a heart attack.  They usually feel okay before the heart attack – but they were in bad shape leading up to it.  The same goes for these postural blockages in your neck and spine.

That’s why it is imperative to have a complete Chiropractic checkup.

Where are these neck and spine videos from?

The videos are from a website that also discusses further implications of the long term consequences of a decrease in CSF flow and mechanical pressure on the spinal cord in the neck. Just imagine what would happen if the garden hose you were trusting to water your garden was pinched / twisted… your garden would not flourish without the proper water supply regardless of how often you fertilized the plants with chemicals. Now realize that a similar problem can be happening to your body and brain with the mechanical pressure occurring in your spine.

I hope this has helped you visualize the flow and blockage of the cerebral spinal fluid throughout the spine and how it can impact headaches and your health.  Read more about this topic just below!

If you want to stop having headaches and to grow your brain by positively impacting your spinal fluid flow – connect with a chiropractor and read more about postures here.

Sincerely,

Dr. Callum Peever – Mississauga Chiropractor at Erin Mills Optimum Health

Lymphatic Drainage of the Brain: Implications for Chiropractic

This is a 2017 research hypothesis paper by Dr. Amy Haas that is quite interesting and connects to very exciting research.  Read my favourite excerpts from the paper and ask questions.
-Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Mississauga

The paper is titled:

Lymphatic Drainage of the Brain: Implications for Chiropractic

“Recently, researchers at the University of Virginia offered evidence that overturned the long-held assumption that the brain lacks a direct connection to the lymphatic system. In their 2015 Nature publication “Structural and Functional Features of Central Nervous System Lymphatic Vessels””

“These lymphatic channels appear to link the also recently characterized glymphatic system, which conducts cerebrospinal fluid through deep brain tissue and removes cellular waste products, to the body’s venous circulation.”

“This is a groundbreaking finding, because for so many years scientists maintained that the brain was isolated from the lymphatic and/or immune system. Louveau’s new discovery may serve to reminds us that even after centuries of studying the body, fresh knowledge continues to come forth that both supports chiropractic ideas and causes us to re-write anatomy textbooks.”

“The identification of a new lymphatic drainage system changes our understanding of how the brain clears out metabolic waste products, and also opens new doors for our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.”

“Louveau’s discovery of a lymphatic drainage pathway within the cranial vault suggests a new plausible biological mechanism by which the chiropractic adjustment yields the results that many chiropractors have observed during the birth and development of our profession. If subluxation of the upper cervical spine impedes intracranial fluid dynamics, varying degrees of congestion of the brain’s lymphatic system may result. In turn, effective clearance of metabolic waste products from deep brain tissue may not proceed at a normal rate (via both decreased physical fluid movement, and by decreased migration or activity of cellular debris-clearing lymphocytes within the lymphatic channels). Over a longer course of time, this may result in alteration of the neurochemical environment within the brain, disturbing the clarity, coherence, or quality of nervous system information transfer. To give a concrete example of this hypothesis, consider that recent FONAR MRI evidence suggests that abnormal CSF dynamics and abnormal configuration of the upper cervical spine may be involved in the genesis of multiple sclerosis (MS).  Consistent with this possibility, chiropractic care has been shown to reduce symptoms and progression of MS and Parkinson’s Disease in more than 90% of a patients under IUCCA care for subluxations in the upper cervical spine.”

 

Alternative Approach to Headaches in Mississauga Transcript

Here is the transcript from the above video of Dr. Peever presenting his fascinating seminar on headaches in 2014, watch it on you tube here.

Transcript from the presentation July 2014 at the new Goodness Me store in Mississauga:

Let’s look at the same problem from an alternative way in order to make a difference in your life and health. Same problem – different approach. You can keep addressing things the way you already are, but start to also look at them from another angle. How many of you have been to Goodness Me before? This Mississauga store? Goodness Me is building and expanding beautiful stores right now and we are lucky to have one of them in Mississauga. Who here has headaches? Not everyone has headaches, but a big group of you do. I have had headaches my whole life, but I lucked out and grew up in a Chiropractic family. The way we address headaches through Chiropractic prevented my headaches from sticking around for more than a day, kept them at a lower intensity so that I could function, and stopped me from using over the counter medications. I am glad that I learned how to address my headaches head on as opposed to ignoring them and not addressing why they occur.

Who here knows anything about Chiropractic? Naturopathic?

Realize that Chiropractors are a wealth of knowledge to help you make changes in you and your family’s health. What you learn here we want you to apply to you and your family’s lives. My goal is to help people live towards a longer, more active and comfortable life. We want to get these headaches to be less often, less frequent, and less severe.  We want to live longer lives, but we want to keep active throughout them.  We don’t want to live long lives if we are unable to function.  In order to live long, active and comfortable lives, it takes effort. It’s not easy. We can help. The health talk is going to go through concepts, goals, and action steps. Most people with headaches, not everyone – not me, end up becoming over-medicated, over-suffering, and over-surgeried. They end up going from pill to pill and test to test in order to identify if it is a cancer or tumor. All the time they are exposed to more and more drugs during this process.  A big part of what we want to realize is that that smoke alarm in your house is there for a reason. If there is smoke anywhere in your house it is going to beep.  Your body has these alarms all the time. Pain is one of them. Different sensations including tingling, nausea, numbness, or the feeling of having to go to the bathroom are all different examples of your body’s smoke alarms.  Headaches is another! And just like it is difficult for children to understand the sensation of having to go to the bathroom until they learn, headaches are difficult to understand what they can be signalling for most people.  This can be because the pain is usually vague and spread out.  The pain where you feel the headache is not usually where the pain is coming from.  We have patients in the office who went to their dentist because they thought they has a sore tooth, but the dentist sent them to us because the tooth was fine and the pain was coming from their neck and the base of their skull. Smoke alarms in your house save lives – “Check Often”.  The same thing goes for our bodies. Those smoke alarms or sensors are important in our bodies and need to be listened to and checked. Often times drugs are used to simply remove the smoke alarm from the roof. Make sure that you are not addressing your health and body by simply pulling that fire alarm from the roof. Yes it is easier at the time, not to feel the pain, not to hear the alarm.  And if we were cooking right now and the smoke alarm went out, we knew where the smoke was coming from so we would push the silence button on the alarm.  We are recognizing however that the problem was the smoke from the pain, not a malfunctioning smoke alarm. The same thing with your headaches. If we have an alarm going off we can pull the alarm out. But why is the alarm going off?  We need to address it. With my headaches, sometime you want to cut your head right off. Headaches suck. But there are important things in that head and you can’t just cut it off. We can’t just cut off the effect of this pain. The same thing if our arm is sore all the way through our hand. We can’t just cut off our hand. And if we do our hand may not be there to hurt anymore but now it doesn’t work. Lets go through basic anatomy. What is the most important part of your body? The Brain. Why is the brain the most important part of your body? The brain controls everything. The body thought that the brain was so important that it completely enclosed it in a skull! Rule number one is don’t hit your head. That brain controls and coordinates everything in our body. It senses pain. It senses the situations in the environment and in yourself. The connects to everypart of our body through nerves. Those nerves don’t go out your ears. They go through your neck and spine.  That spine is bone and allows us to protect the nerves and move. If those bones mess up and become in the wrong spot and put pressure on a nerve it is not good.  If this happens it creates pain – But not always. If you have ever seen a kid watch TV and try to get his attention, you realize that sometimes the brain can only focus on one thing at a time. The same goes with these alarms in your body. You can ignore and distract yourself from them, but they are there. If you are at work and focussing, you can sit there for 8 hours on and on and on. Later your body doesn’t feel good but you didn’t notice. The same goes with kids on their cell phones now.  We had an era where receptionists were having lots of headache, neck, carpal tunnel, and arm injuries because of postural problems associated with their work stations and phone habits. We then saw these addressed through headsets and ergonomic devices. Now we see kids doing the same bad behaviours that got us into so much trouble! But they are so focused on their phones (and young) that they ignore the alarms going off telling them to stop what they are doing. This brain has to be taken into account when talking about headaches. Most times people only worry about if the brain has a tumour. The medical doctor will appease you even though he knows it is probably not a tumour as it is very rare. When it is not, you are told the brain is fine. But no one ever thinks about the performance of that brain and that if it is aggravated just a bit it will generate and create headaches and affect the headache experience. This spinal cord is attached to the top and bottom. It is a cord. It does not like to be pulled, twisted, stretched, cut, pinched. It is sensitive. Who has hit their “funny bone” before? The funny bone is a little nerve on the outside of your arm. It is exposed. If you hit it where does it hurt? Down your hand. But you hit your elbow here. Weird. Who has slept on their shoulder wrong and they’ve woken up and found that their arm is all numb? That is when you press on the nerves in your arm pit. When you press on these nerves the nerves go wonky. If you press on a nerve hard it hurts like crazy and then it goes away for a bit. If you press on the nerve for a long time it builds up the pain slowly until it becomes numb. Now imagine you put a small amount of pressure on those nerves and allow it to build up for years. It’s not going to create a zinger. But it will create headaches. The nerves coming out from your brain are different than the nerves in your arms. The nerves in your upper spinal cord creates different pains then that in your arm nerves. The pain will spread, but the pain spreads up the head or into the face or down into the shoulders. The pain is not felt in the spinal cord. Sometimes the result is a band or a specific spot. This can depend on how each person is wired, as we are all wired a bit differently based on our epigenetic make up. Every person is different and experiences this negative impact on the spinal cord differently. It can even affect the wires below. Some people have similar headache experience as others, and that’s how they come up with labels such as migraines,  tension headaches, cluster headaches, or cervicogenic headaches. They all can have similar components that affect them. They all suck. They all affect your life. Lets look at them differently. The brain is important. Think about it from a brain stand point. There are physical, chemical, emotional things in life that impacts our bodies and squishes us down. Every time we drop a pen, gravity will pull it down.  Our whole life we are fighting against gravity. Every time we are on earth, gravity is pulling down on our bodies. When we are sitting, gravity is pulling us down. That is just one physical stress. We are going to try to minimize these physical chemical and emotional stressors on our bodies making it easier for our bodies to adapt. Our bodies are designed to be healthy. It is not normal to have headaches, even if we have had them our whole lives. Our bodies should be working. Why is it stuck? That is what you need to be asking. Why is it not functioning like it should be? What are different things in my life that I can minimize so that my body can function at a higher level and have less headaches, less pressure in the neck and on the brain?

Physical Stress

Everyone show me a bad posture right now. Everyone show me a good one. Lots of people go into military posture right away. Where is the pressure going to build up in this slouched posture? The low back. It is quite obvious when you look at it.  Sometimes it is “comfortable” as it is creating a stretch on the muscles and joints… but also the nerves. Short term this feels nice but in the long run it is very detrimental to build up pressure on the spinal cord and spine. Also, the further forward the head is in front of the shoulders, the more weight builds up at the base of the neck and skull. If we lean forward at the head while sitting we will build up pressure but at a different location. You do this for a short period of time and your body can adapt. If you do this for a long period of time your body will send you warning signals and smoke alarms in the sense of pain. We see these bad postures in kids often now. This picture shows an example of how pain originating from the neck spreads to the face. Sometimes people who have “tooth pain” go to the dentist, but the dentist sends them to a Chiropractor as the problem isn’t their teeth but is their neck. My job is to help you with the physical aspects of that spine on the spinal cord. I teach you where your stress is building up and how to take it off and how to stop putting it on. If you can do this it will minimize your symptoms, your screaming headaches, as your body starts to function properly. What are some other physical stressors?  Car accidents will cause a major impact on the neck. It can create a whiplash on that spine. Unfortunately these things happen in life and once they happen they can’t un-happen. It is important to get these physical stressors addressed properly immediately as the pressure can slowly build up in your spine creating headaches later on in life.  Make sure you address these and similar problems so that you can live a longer, more comfortable and active life despite the injury. Realize that your body has an amazing ability to heal and can recover from such injuries, but it will take effort and time. You are worth it. There is accidents and postural stressors that impact the neck, as well as poor sleeping postures.

What is the worst sleeping posture for headaches?

Stomach sleeping is one of the worst sleeping postures for the neck, pressure in your spinal cord, and headaches. If you turn your head to the right and hold it there for one minute, your body will quickly tell you to move as it doesn’t feel good. Imagine now staying like that for 8 hours!  That is what you are doing to your neck when you are sleeping! It is touch to change this habit but it is an important one to address as it builds up pressure in the spine and spinal cord which negatively affects the brain and can generate headaches. Make sure you are not sleeping on your stomach tonight, and if you can’t do that because of your habits, make sure you change by next year and in 20 years. Make sure your head is centered over you shoulders when sleeping on your side or back. This will minimize undue stress on your spine while sleeping. For sitting postures again, if you have an old injury in your neck but slouch at your low back the cord can be tugged from the bottom but the effect can be felt where the pressure builds up in your neck. All these postures play a role in how that spinal cord is experiencing life and the brain is experiencing situations. What other things does our bodies have to adapt to? Not just physical stressors, but also Chemical toxins. There are toxins all over our environment. I also pracitice close to McMaster University in Hamilton and speak to McMaster students often. I am always amazed at how often it takes them to realize how alcohol affects the body the day after drinking and sometimes longer. Not only are they tired and have a headaches, but they are usually irritable, depressed, and can’t focus at school.  It is not unique to students but to everyone.  In our society people have a tough time realizing that toxins we are exposed to today will have an affect on our bodies tomorrow or even later. There are so many chemicals and toxins that we are lucky to have a liver, skin, and kidneys to filter and detoxify and get rid of as many of these toxins as possible. The only unfortunate part is that there is a lot of toxins. Our goal is to make it easier for our bodies to live and adapt. Some of the chemical toxins in our environment are toxic to everyone, and some are unique to us which can be expressed through allergies, asthmas, or food sensitivities.  Our Naturopaths at Erin Mills Optimum Health help people identify foods that your body is unhappy with or sensitive too. They can help you accomplish this through lab testing or through detox programs where you re-introduce foods to determine which foods your body has difficulty handling.  Dr. Aisling Lanigan has a talk on demystifying detoxification August 20th. Goodness Me stores allow you to have foods that are high quality and have less toxins. For my body, if I have some of the foods that I am sensitive to, the next day I am more likely to get headaches. Some of the foods I like to enjoy unfortunately, but I still try to minimize their consumption and take it easy while my body is processing them the next day.

Who has heard of a rebound headache?

Coffee drinkers usually know what they are. If you are used to coffee daily and then you don’t have coffee for a day, you can get a rebound or withdrawal headache. This is because your body is expecting the coffee and prepares for it physiologically. When it doesn’t get it, it is in a state of disharmony which leads to a headache experience. The same thing can happen with NSAIDS (certain pain killers) or various other prescription drugs.  If you regularly take these drugs and the headache goes away quickly when you take the drug, it is possible that drug withdrawal is what is causing the headache! Some drugs have side effects causing the headaches, which you should talk to your pharmacist about. Another chemical stress is scents, which can overwhelm the system. Take the approach of looking at the problem from your brain. The brain is number one and is important. How do I help and support the brain and how am I hurting it.

What about Emotional stress and its impact on headaches?

The same situation for different people will be perceived differently. On roller coasters some people find them scary and others exhilarating. The brain controls the body and as such the body will respond to whatever the brain’s state is. If your body can switch between a scary stressed situation and enjoyment quickly you will be okay, your body is flexible to your life and environment. If your brain is always stressed, now you’re in trouble. Some people are stuck in a stressed emotional state endlessly for months and years.  The body is on edge too! If you introduce a trigger scent your body won’t be able to handle it. The same goes for a sensitive food or a bad posture. If your brain is always stressed, worried, or scared to body is going to have a tough time handling situations in life that it should be able to adapt to. Your body should be working. Your brain should be able to switch between a stressed state and a relaxed state. The more flexible you are at this the better you are able to adapt to your life and environment. Who has strategies to address your emotional stress in life? Walking. Not smoking! Meditation. Swimming. Laughter. Everyone has different ways to minimize and get away from their emotional stress.  Make sure you have healthy ones that can get your body a chance to get away from your emotional stressors. You can’t get away from all of them but definitely try to minimize the negative emotional stressors.  If you can’t minimize yours, definitely connect to an expert. Remember that your brain is important and take care of it. Don’t just ignore the smoke alarm and pull it down. Don’t just ignore your headaches and symptoms. They are not the problem but are the effects. Make sure you address why the symptoms are occurring. We can help.

Dr. Callum Peever


Headaches Suck

Headaches suck.

I have had them throughout my entire life. Instead of numbing myself into mush with drugs however, I address why they are occuring. I was fortunate to have a father as a Chiropractor, Dr. Ken Peever, who helped me do this. Most of my headaches occur when I have strained my neck. Yes, the neck has a big roll to play in lots of headaches. Moreso than people realize. Not only does the neck have joints that can create headache pain, the neck also protects the spinal cord as it enters the skull – a very important area that when irritated will create headache pain too!  Sometimes the strain on my neck I can’t help, like during a slip or fall. Sometimes I can avoid the strain if I wanted to, like writing this blog (but I need to finish it). I can’t necessarily avoid all the stresses to my neck, but I do try to minimilze the ones I can control while still having fun. What is interesting is that this strain on the neck doesn’t always create headaches. Usually I need a perfect storm in my life before the headache really takes hold.  So what I do, and what I educate my patients, is that the problem will occur first before the pain. Getting checked regularly will ensure you can catch all the little strains on your neck BEFORE they start to generate negative problems. A side effect of this is that you always get to stay in top gear! A nice perk if you need your body to perform well throughout your life. So, as I say in this quick you tube video, if you are having headaches, get checked by a Chiropractor, you are worth it.

 

Dr. Callum Peever

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