While annoying and an energy drain, tension headaches are not life-threatening, nor do they have a significant deleterious impact on one’s daily life. I recall a patient I treated in my chiropractic practice who experienced a couple tension headaches a week. He initially saught care for lower back pain. When he casually mentioned he had tension headaches I checked him and administered treatment. He was pleasantly surprised when his headaches were virtually eliminated. He noted that while he didn’t alter his daily routine when he had a headache, it was “much easier to live without headaches.”
This article will discuss a specific form of headache called cervicogenic headaches (CGH). It will explore the cause of this condition, reveal research that can bring safe, nonpharmaceutical headache pain relief and a variety of treatment options available to those suffering from this common malady.
Headaches that originate in the neck are called by a variety of names. They may be called tension headaches, stress headaches or cervicogenic headaches. They typically start in the base of the skull or the upper most part of the neck. They are usually bilateral, which means they are on both sides of the head. In the most painful phase, they may radiate into the temples and the forehead.
They do not cause a person to be nauseous or incapacitated as with a migraine. They can however sap one’s energy, cause a lack of focus and concentration, and reduce a persons productivity.
Research reveals that up to 4% of the general population and up to one-in-six chronic headache
sufferers may be affected by CGH. There are many studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic care for CGH, often involving a multi modal approach.
The vertebrae of the neck are also known as the cervical spine. When the vertebrae of the upper neck become misaligned or move improperly, they irritate nerves which travel into the head and trigger tension headaches. Since the headaches originate in the cervical spine, they are called cervicogenic headaches.
Chiropractors are professionals trained to diagnose and treat physical, mechanical alignment problems of spine pain. Chiropractors are the preeminent healthcare providers, when it comes to relieving CGH by utilizing chiropractic adjustments to realign and restore proper motion to the upper cervical vertebrae Most patients who go to chiropractors find that having a chiropractic adjustment is a safe, gentle, pleasant experience because it relieves tightness and spasm of the muscles by correcting the deeper spinal misalignment.
Doctors of chiropractic will also prescribe stretching and strengthening exercises to improve patient’s posture. Advice regarding daily activities such as work ergonomics, what type of pillow to use and types of physically stressful activities to avoid are imparted.
Anyone suffering from CGH may find it beneficial to consult with a doctor of chiropractic. There are usually a number of methods to bring about headache pain relief by reducing the number and intensity of ones headaches.