Ever feel like your head is splitting open? Headaches can be very debilitating. Many times a new patient will say to me, “Oh, that’s my normal headache.” Headaches may be common for many people, but they are never normal. Pain is your body’s signal that something is injured or not functioning properly.
There are many different forms and causes of headaches, including but not limited to:
- Muscle Tension
- Low blood sugar
- Neck Problems
- Not enough sleep
- Caffeine, or caffeine withdrawal
- Hormonal Imbalance
As you can see there are many different factors to consider. One thing that all headache sufferers have in common is that they have a spine and nervous system.
When the upper neck bones are shifted and/or not moving properly the joints, nerves, and muscles in that area become irritated and painful causing headaches and neck pain. What many people find interesting is that your pain may be felt one place but is being caused by a problem somewhere else.
This is called a referred pain. Most people are familiar with this concept of referred pain as it relates to heart attacks but there are also pain referral patterns with many neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
There are over 30 different muscles, nerves, and joints in the upper neck area that can cause pain anywhere from the upper back and shoulders to the front of the forehead and around the eyes. Head to the website listed below to see a picture of these pain referral patterns.
In addition, many headache and neck pain sufferers have a loss of the normal curve in the neck (known as cervical hypolordosis). You see it every day as people look at their cell phones with their heads kinked down or hunched over work stations. It is important that correction of this problem goes deeper than merely correcting posture. Don’t get me wrong good posture is very important; however, someone can have great posture when observed externally and still have these structural curve changes. It’s just like how a car can look perfectly fine from the outside but then you find out that the frame is bent.
Many times we will see a new patient who has tried some treatments in the past that work for a short time but then the pain always comes back at some point. In most instances of reoccurring headaches and neck pain it is the curve correction part of the treatment that was lacking in order to achieve a lasting full improvement. Most people with these problems get muscle tension and pain at the base of the skull and across the top of the shoulders. An understanding of the anatomy reveals that these muscles are being stretched as a result of the curve changes and they become painful as they react to these changes. Correcting the curve problem and poor spinal biomechanics takes the stress off certain parts of the head and spine and prevents the muscles from continually trying to pull the head back. There are specific chiropractic adjustments and protocols that must be done to make this curve correction.
A thorough examination and assessment of your headaches and neck pain will reveal what specifically is causing the problem in your case.
As with most topics there is much more that could be considered and discussed. I just wanted to shed some light on an ongoing problem in many people’s lives. This is a problem that many people are suffering needlessly with when they could be helped.
Stay tuned for future posts where I will reveal some helpful tips that will help correct back pain, neck pain, and headaches, even while you have to sit all day. Become one of the millions that benefit from chiropractic adjustments each year!