Cluster headaches, Tension headaches, and Migraines are a frequent presenting complaint amongst people who seek help from a Chiropractor. Tension headaches are the most common and are often related to tension in the neck and surrounding muscles with referral of pain to the head. There are many ways to temporarily relieve headaches, but we always recommend to address the cause. Headaches can often be attributed to the neck joints, ligaments, muscles and nerves.
Let’s take a look at how the neck works. The neck or cervical spine is comprised of 7 vertebrae, each stacked on top of the other and separated by a spongy shock-absorbing disc. At every vertebral level, there are spinal nerves exiting the neck, relaying messages from the brain to the head, neck, upper body, shoulders, arms, hands and all the way to your fingertips. The converse is also true in that vital messages to travel back from the organs and tissues to the brain, telling the brain what is happening in the body. The neck also plays an incredibly vital role in carrying special nerves from the brainstem to control many of the organs and body systems. Your spine is very important in protecting this delicate nervous system.
When viewed from the side the neck should normally be a C shape for best function of the spine and nervous system. The shape or architecture of your neck is of great importance and any changes to this normal curve can lead to many of the neck related headache problems we see in practice.
This is not all doom and gloom and we definitely don’t want to guess. This is why we use a combination of postural examination, orthopaedic testing, state of the art technology and X-rays to find out what is exactly causing your pain. In many cases, if you have lost some or all of your natural C curve in your neck, it may be correctable.
In addressing your pain and the cause we often use a combination of specific spinal adjustments, corrective postural exercises, and an Australian designed neck device called a Denneroll. We’ll also address any of your bad habits and give specific advice around sleeping posture, stress management, hydration, diet, ergonomics, and stretching.
Many of our clients report an improvement in both the intensity and frequency of their symptoms. In some cases, headaches can be completely resolved.