The most common cause of headaches can relate to neck complications. From spending excessive time looking down at a laptop, desktop, iPad, and even from constant texting, an incorrect posture for extended periods of time can begin to place pressure on the neck and upper back leading to problems that could cause headaches. The majority of these type of headaches occurs as a result of tightness between the shoulder blades, which in turn causes the muscles on the top of the shoulders to also tighten and radiate pain into the head.
If the source of the headaches is related to a complication of the cervical spine or other region of the spine and muscles, chiropractic care, such as chiropractic adjustments, manual manipulation, and physical therapy, can be a good treatment option. Also, a chiropractor may often follow up chiropractic treatment with a series of exercises in order to improve posture as well as offering advice for future lifestyle improvements to avoid further complications.
Headaches & Types
There are three main types of tension headaches, cluster, and migraine.
Many structures changes, and sense pain, particularly tension in muscles. However, the brain itself has no pain and also you have a headache as the surrounding tissues report their discomfort.
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Tension headaches result from straining muscles that cover your skull, or your face or neck muscles. They might also occur when the blood vessels that circulates in your mind, face, and open. Exercise stress, and medication are a few things that could make your blood vessels open and provide you with a short-term tension headache.
Headache pain from tension headaches comes on gradually, and after that clears up in a number of hours. Just in case your tension headaches are severe or occur, you should see your doctor. Most headaches are just a part of life and no cause for concern.
Should you experience a cluster headache, the pain certainly will occur, and that’s sharp concentrate behind one eye. Headache experts attribute these headaches that are sudden and problems using a part of your brain called the hypothalamus.
Migraine Headache Symptoms
More than 60 million American adults report experiencing a migraine, and they affect women in a rate 3 times higher than men.1 Most people with migraines experience their first migraine as an adult, but children and teenagers can fall victim to them, too.
A pounding, deeply or pulsating throbbing aching headache, nausea, and pain which is immobilizing are the main symptoms of migraine headaches. Other common symptoms may include:
- One-sided blind spots and blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light, noise, or odors
- Fatigue and confusion
- Feeling sweaty or cold
- A stiff or tender neck
About 20% of people with migraines experience an aura lasting 15 to 20 minutes in front of the onset of the actual migraine.1,2 The most common aura is visual where people experience blind spots, flashing lights, and glowing zigzagging forms. Auras involve other senses, such as for example a tingling feeling or numbness. They confuse the migraine victim and may affect speech.
Medical experts aren’t sure what causes migraines. Shifting levels of serotonin together with other chemicals in the brain may provoke migraines, but brain scientists and neurologists admit that people have a great deal to learn before we understand the cause completely.
The list below covers a selection of migraine causes; learn more about what causes migraines in our detailed migraine and headache causes article.
You will discover a number of migraine triggers. And meaning you should consider avoiding food can often triggers migraines:
- alcoholic beverages
- legumes, pea pods, lentils, beans, nuts, and peanut butter
- pickled and fermented foods such as pickles, soy sauce, sauerkraut, and olives
- bologna, ham, herring, hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, and aged or cured meat
- meat tenderizer, seasoned salt, bouillon cubes, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- buttermilk, sour cream, and other cultured dairy
- aged cheese
- the artificial sweetener aspartame
- passion fruit and papaya
- coffee cake, donuts, sourdough bread, and other items containing brewer’s yeast or fresh
- chocolate, cocoa, and carob
- figs, plumbs that are red, and raisins
Other common migraine triggers include:
- fumes and strong odors
- bright lights
- loud noises
- weather changes
- poor sleep
- interruptions for example missing a meal, in your diet
- certain medications
- hormonal changes
- exercise, sex, and other activities that are intense
In the event you live with migraine headaches, avoiding triggers may help you reduce the number of episodes you will need to endure.
As an individual suffering from headaches and migraines, you are not alone. A large percentage of people often describe feeling symptoms associated with some form of head pain. While some might be occasional and dull and others may be more frequent and throbbing, headaches or migraine pain can be debilitating, especially depending on the type of injury or condition causing the symptoms. There are various ways to treat head pain but prevention can be one of the best ways to prevent headaches and migraines.
Chiropractic Prevention Of Migraines
Headaches and migraines can be treated in a variety of ways according to the type of injury or condition which caused the head pain. Chiropractic adjustments can greatly improve symptoms of head pain but chiropractic care can also be used to help prevent headaches. Because the majority of headaches or migraines are caused by spinal complications or muscle tightness, chiropractic treatment can help avoid the symptoms in the first place.
A cervicogenic headache begins in the cervical spine, or the neck. Sometimes these headaches mimic migraine headache symptoms. Initially, discomfort may start intermittently, spread to one side (unilateral) of the individual head, and become nearly continuous. Furthermore, pain can be exacerbated by neck movements or a particular neck place (eg, eyes centered on a pc monitor).
The trigger of a headache is often associated to extreme tension to the neck. The headache may be a consequence of cervical osteoarthritis, a broken disc, or whiplash-type movements that irritates or compresses a cervical nerve. The neck’s bony structures (eg, aspect joints) and its delicate tissues (eg, muscles) can give rise to the improvement of a cervicogenic headache.
Cervicogenic Headache Symptoms
A cervicogenic headache provides in base and the back of the skull as a steady, non-throbbing pain, sometimes extending downward into the neck and between the shoulder-blades. Pain could be felt behind forehead and the brow, although the problem originates in the cervical spine.
Pain usually starts after a sudden neck movements, such as a sneeze. Along with head and neck discomfort, signs may include:
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Pain in both arms or one
Risk facets that will be engaged in headache onset or irritate cervicogenic headaches include:
- Sleep difficulties
- Disc problems
- Current or neck injuries that are preceding
- Poor posture
- Muscular stress
Diagnosis: Cervicogenic Headaches
The analysis of a headache commences using a thorough medical background using a physical and neurological evaluation. Diagnostic testing may include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- CT Scans (rarely)
- Nerve block injections to validate the diagnosis, cause
Cervicogenic Headaches & Treatment
Initially, your doctor may advise an over-the counter nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug (eg, aspirin, Aleve). If this is ineffective, then a prescription anti-irritation and pain reliever might be prescribed. Other treatment options, outlined in purchase of from non-invasive to invasive, include:
- Spinal manipulation or alternative manual therapies
- Behavioral methods (eg, bio feedback)
- Trigger level injections
- Facet joint blocks (a type of spinal joint injection)
- Nerve blocks (this is generally of the medial branches of the nerves that provide you with the the facet joints)
- Radiofrequency pulse ganglionotomy of the nerve root (eg, C 2, C-3)
- Spine surgery to reduce nerve or vascular compression (this is rarely necessary)
Headaches Caused By Tension
The most common reason for tension headaches is muscle tension and tightness. The frequent tightness which occurs during a headache can be experienced all over the head and neck, feeling almost as though there is a rubber band around the head, according to reports of many individuals. The tension and tightening of the muscles is largely due to poor posture where the muscles are trying to adapt to the constraints which are being placed on them. Poor posture over time leads to shortening of the muscles and irritation of the structures surrounding the spine, particularly the spinal discs. It’s this specific shortening of the tissues that causes the rubber band feeling on the head, or tension headaches. Most often, this form of pain and discomfort is felt at the base of the skull. The longer the individual sits in an improper position, the longer the tension and tightness of the muscles will last and worsen, causing longer lasting and worse headaches.
The difficulty with improper postures is that they are mostly involuntary in their movements. If you are an individual who stresses frequently, it’s not uncommon for the shoulders to rise up to their ears. The person may not even realize they’re practicing this posture until they take a deep breath and relax, an action many take longer to realize. The shoulders may have been up for a majority of the day, meaning the muscles were being overworked in an inappropriate position, and chances are the individual won’t correct their posture until the headache has started.
When working an office job, there are many culprits which can often cause improper postures. One regular activity which causes the shoulders to rise is talking on the phone, whether it’s through a cell phone or a desk phone. Other individuals just outright hold the phone with their shoulders. This action can cause an even stronger contraction, leading to more intense pain. In other situations, desk height and monitor height may also contribute to an individual’s pain and discomfort. A desk that is too high often forces the individual to raise their arms up, therefore causing shoulder elevation. A monitor which is set too low, together with sitting in an unsupportive chair, promotes forward head posture. Even carrying large bags causes the body to slump forward. Making sure that your desk is set up correctly can help decrease your risk of developing this type of tension headaches.
Proper Posture Exercises
Muscles need blood flow in order for them to function properly and not experience tension and tightness. Simply standing at your desk for even a minute can allow blood flow to increase which may save you from feeling head pain. One method you can use to remember to give yourself time to stretch and correct your posture is to set up a timer on your phone or computer. For every 15 or 30 minutes the timer goes off, the individual should correct the posture of their shoulders if they are being held up to their ears and if they are slumping on their chair. Ultimately, every time the alarm goes off, individuals should use this as a healthy reminder to stand up and allow the muscles to reset.
Whiplash Headaches & Auto Accidents
A headache is a symptom of pain felt in any region of the head or neck. From a mild and irritating discomfort to a severe and throbbing pain, headaches can be caused by a variety of factors and they may occur temporarily or they can last throughout the day. In a majority of cases, individuals report headaches and other similar symptoms after being involved in an automobile accident, most commonly, if they’ve been diagnosed with whiplash.
Any type of auto collision can lead to whiplash and other injuries, however, whiplash occurs most frequently during rear-end impacts in a car. Whiplash occurs when the head suddenly moves back-and-forth in any given direction as a result of a powerful force, extending the neck beyond its normal range of motion. This type of injury can also be caused by trauma from a sports injury or other type of accident. The neck is a complex structure consisting of joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and other tissues. When the structures of the neck are subjected to an extreme force, such as that from a car crash, the tissues within the neck can become irritated and inflamed, causing injuries that results in pain, whiplash headaches and other symptoms.
The symptoms of whiplash generally develop immediately after the automobile accident, although occasionally, the pain and discomfort can take up to several days, weeks, or even months to manifest. The pain is often in the form of whiplash headaches.
Headaches Caused By Whiplash & Treatment
If an individual suffered injuries from an auto accident, whether these were visible wounds or only symptoms of pain and headaches, it’s essential for the victim to seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine the source of their symptoms. Treating whiplash can help relieve head pain. Many people who are involved in a car accident are sent to the emergency room, or ER, where they are treated for any life-threatening injuries from the incident. However, the ER often only treats open wounds or bone fractures, overlooking the individual’s neck and head pain. They may prescribe pain killers or muscle relaxers for the symptoms but, while these may help relieve the pain and restore function, the effects are only temporary and they are not meant to be a cure for headaches or whiplash.
Headaches and whiplash should be treated at the source and, fortunately, there are many different forms of treatment to alleviate the symptoms of an automobile injury.
Chiropractic care is a popular and effective, alternative treatment option for a variety of soft-tissue injuries. Chiropractic focuses on restoring the normal function of the spine and its surrounding structures, eliminating symptoms and improving the flexibility and mobility of the body. Once the healthcare specialist completes a diagnosis, they utilize a variety of therapies and treatments according to the individual’s injuries or conditions. Chiropractors will frequently use spinal adjustments and manual manipulations to rehabilitate the spine back into its natural alignment, decreasing the stress and pressure of the tissues around the affected region and reducing the irritation, inflammation, ultimately helping eliminate whiplash headaches and other symptoms. Additionally, a chiropractor may recommend a series of exercises to strengthen the body and speed up the rehabilitation process.
Headaches & Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic care can help both treat and prevent chronic headaches and migraines. The majority of head pain symptoms generally originates from spinal misalignments, improper posture, and reduced spinal mobility as a result of direct injury or an underlying condition. Also, the muscles surrounding the cervical spine may at times develop poor contraction patterns, or scar tissue between the layers of the muscle that could also cause head pain. Many of these complications can improve with chiropractic treatments on the spine, specifically focusing on the neck and upper back.
Finally, preventing headaches can simply be accomplished by staying active. However, while resuming back to any physical activities, keep in mind to avoid participating in exercises that could aggravate any injuries or conditions that caused the headaches or migraines in the first place.