How Headaches can stem from the neck - “oh I get the normal amount of Headaches”
I had a patient come in to the clinic last week and when going through a medical history I questioned her if she ever got any headaches, I heard the unnervingly common reply of
“oh I get the normal number of headaches, every month.”
But getting a headache should not be normal.
Headaches can vary so much in nature, from the location of the headache (frontal, temporal, occipital) to the intensity and character of pain (dull throb, sharp lancinating, deep pressure) and the duration.
At its most basic a headache is your brains inability to adapt to stress, as discussed before we have 3 stressors: physical, chemical and emotional.
In fact, there are many different causes and stressors of headaches and often the primary importance is understanding where the headache comes from. Whether from dehydration or a chemical response to sugar for example. Considerable debate still surrounds the cause and underlying pathology of a migraine and several theories have been proposed.
An often-overlooked cause of headaches is from the cervical spine.
A common cause of headaches can stem from the cervical spine called a cervicogenic headache. Sometimes these headaches mimic migraine headache symptoms. Initially, pain may begin intermittently, spread to one side (unilateral) of the patient's head, and become almost continuous. Furthermore, pain can be exacerbated by neck movement or a particular neck position (eg, eyes focused on a computer monitor).
Certain spinal nerves structures are involved in many cervicogenic headaches. Spinal nerves are signal transmitters that enable communication between the brain and the body via the spinal cord. At each level of the cervical spine is a set of spinal nerves; one on the left side and one on the right of the spine. C1, C2 and/or C3 may be involved in development of cervicogenic headaches because these nerves enable function (movement) and sensation of the head and neck. Nerve compression can cause inflammation and pain.
A cervicogenic headache presents as a steady, non-throbbing pain at the back and base of the skull, sometimes extending downward into the neck and between the shoulder blades. Pain may be felt behind the brow and forehead, even though the problem originates from the cervical spine.
Pain usually begins after a sudden neck movement, such as a sneeze. Along with head and/or neck pain, symptoms may include:
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Pain in one or both arms
A Chiropractor can help you identify where your headaches are coming from and which lifestyle changes you can implement to reduce the headaches if not completely help get rid of them.
If you want to get yourself booked in to AMI Clinic feel free to contact us
at www.amiclinics.co.uk or call us at 01234 0307565
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