Well firstly we need to establish that there are many causes of headache, including brain tumours, sinus infections and hangovers. But what we will be discussing today is what is referred to as a “Tension-Type Headache.”
Dysfunction in the joints and muscles of the upper back and neck may sometimes result in irritation to pain sensitive nerves in the region, causing pain that may spread to other areas including the head and facial structures. An irritable knot in a muscle is referred to as a Trigger Point (TrP) and may be caused by stress, poor posture and joint dysfunction. If you press on a TrP, you can often reproduce the pain of your headache, and it is a strong indicator that therapy to this muscle may relieve a lot of your symptoms. However, as previously mentioned, a TrP may have been caused by poor posture or dysfunction of a nearby joint and often it is important to also address these issues, to clear out your symptoms fully. Chiropractors are experts at detecting and fixing joint dysfunctions that may be contributing to TrP’s and poor posture.
Dysfunction of the top of the neck joints may sometimes irritate a nerve that wraps around the base of your skull and up over the top of your head to the forehead region (the Greater Occipital Nerve). This may then result in increased tension in the muscles over these areas and subsequent headache symptoms. Removal of the irritation to this nerve through a Chiropractic adjustment can be a great way of clearing out the root cause of these types of headaches.
The vertebrae near the top of the neck also have meningeal attachments on their inner surfaces. The meninges are the skin like structures that envelope the brain and spinal cord, and although the brain itself is not pain sensitive, the meninges are. Tension and irritation to the meninges caused by dysfunction of the upper neck may be another cause for headache that may respond well to Chiropractic care. At Catalyst Chiropractic, we are able to assess and correct dysfunctions of the spine, relieve TrP’s and perform cranial therapy which may also provide further relief to tension built up within the meninges.
At Catalyst Health and Wellness Group, we conduct a thorough initial consultation that enables you to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan. We inform you about your situation and involve you in devising a treatment plan that is suitable. We discuss your lifestyle and we provide referrals to appropriate health practitioners when this is necessary.
by Dr Kristie Lane
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