Chronic headaches are a mystery to many of us. Chiropractors regularly treat them. Why they occur seems to be the most common question. Some patients’ headaches can be easily explained but many seem to get headaches for no apparent reason. An often-overlooked cause of headaches is the spine and spinal trauma. How does this occur?
Delicate attachments of connective tissue link muscles in your neck area around your spinal cord and vertebra. One theory is that tension can develop in these structures producing head pain and repeat headaches. Another possibility is headaches caused by forward head posture.
Forward head posture is present when the head is thrust forward in the classic bad posture pose (a little like a turtle neck). This can take out the natural curve in the neck. Since the head is quite heavy (10-14 lbs), the muscles have to counter this weight. When the neck muscles resist the load of the head, they can develop tensions, knots (trigger points) and sometimes spasms. Normally the head is more balanced over the shoulders.
Another neck problem that may cause headaches is a joint injury/sprain that can occur after whiplash trauma from a car accident. Over some time, this may lead to joint blockage where there is not the normal free and fluid motion from side to side. Quite often other joints must compensate for this lack of movement with hypermobility of the joints. Your muscles can become tense in these areas to protect the spine from unnatural movements overall.
If your headaches have become chronic and just never seem to go away, it is a sign that you are not getting at the cause of the problem. Since these types of disorders are so common in society they should be ruled out before leaning towards using medications over the long term. It is always important to have an accurate diagnosis before proceeding with treatment.
Correcting neck disorders when they occur is always a best bet when it comes to treatment. Headache can sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. If there is history of neck trauma in your past, the neck can and should be a part of your headache management strategy. At the minimum the neck needs to be examined by the proper physician.
Chiropractic care has been shown in multiple clinical trials to help patients with both tension-type and migraine headaches. In these studies, the neck or cervical spine is adjusted based on local problems of poor posture and mobility. The chiropractors at New Century Spine Centers in San Diego use chiropractic care, active release technique, and spinal decompression therapy to fix the cause of headaches.