There are many causes of headaches, from inflamed arteries to the rare brain tumor people fear. A large proportion of headaches, however, are due to more common and benign problems such as muscle and joint problems caused by injury, stress, or poor postures.
The most common muscle and joint problems that cause headaches occur at the top of the neck and in the jaw. In the neck, the top three joints and the muscles attached to them are common sources of head pain. Medical researchers have found these joints cause pain in specific regions of the head; the first joint, the eye and the forehead, the third joint, the back of the head, the second joint causes pain in the middle or top of the head. The headache is only on the side of the involved joint, but often joints on both sides of the neck are injured at the same time. Headaches are often a result of one or more of these joints being ‘out of place.’ When that is the case, gentle adjustments from a certified chiropractor can bring relief, often very quickly.
The muscles in the upper part of the neck may cause head pain in a number of ways; muscle spasm may squeeze large nerves that exit from the upper part of the neck and run up and over the top of the head, causing pain in that distribution; muscle spasm in this region may be painful, and the pain may be felt more in the head than the neck; muscle spasm under the back of the skull may, through fibrous attachments, pull on the pain-sensitive dura of the spinal cord. These problems can usually be corrected by your chiropractor through the use of muscle therapy, ART, stretches, or trigger point therapy.
For tight tender muscles, or muscle spasm that will not go away, and are causing headaches, often the problem is that there is muscle spasm because the muscles are too weak to support the weight of the head and go into spasm to try to compensate for their weakness. If muscle therapies haven’t helped, you need to have your muscles checked to see if they are weak or unbalanced. At Calgary’s Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries Clinic, our chiropractors use a Multi-Cervical Unit (MCU) that measures the strength of the neck in 16 different directions and compares your strength to normal for your sex. If your neck muscles are weak or unbalanced, we can set up a rehab program that will rebuild the strength in your neck safely and gently, relieving both the pain and muscle spasm.
For headaches due to more severe neck problems such as disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, or arthritic changes in the neck, DRX 9000C Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression may be the answer for you! For more reading on this treatment, visit Decompression.ca.