Cervical, Tension and Migraine Headaches
Anatomy of a Headache
Headache is more than just an ache in your head. It involves many parts of your body including vertebrae, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Your spine has three natural curves, which give your body the flexibility it needs to withstand stress. Good posture keeps your spinal curves aligned. When you’re cervical (neck) curve is aligned surrounding structures, like spinal nerves, and muscles perform their function more smoothly because they are not stressed or irritated.
Spinal vertebrae are movable bones that protect your spinal cord nerves when properly aligned. Spinal nerves leave the spine through openings in your vertebrae. Unless they’re irritated, they send the proper signal to all parts of your body. Muscles work together to support your spine and to move and support your head and neck. Unless they’re stressed they are flexible and relaxed.
Q: What is a Cervical Headache?
A: Cervical headache is a headache (HA) arising from musculoskeletal impairment and painful dysfunction in the cervical spine (neck). Studies have shown that a connection exists between HA and poor posture, weak cervical flexors, cervical joint trauma, and joint hypo mobility and hyper mobility.
Q: What is a Tension Headache?
A: Tension headaches are the most common kind of headache you can get. Although stress and fatigue can make them worse, or trigger the onset of pain, a tension headache often starts with misaligned vertebrae. This misalignment may irritate a spine nerve, setting in motion other physical problems, like tightening muscles and causing steady, “vicelike” pain of a tension headache.
Q: What does a tension-type headache feel like?
A: The pain of a tension-type headache is dull and ongoing, and changes in intensity. You may feel like a band is tightening around your head. Tension-type headaches aren’t associated with nausea or vomiting, but you may not feel hungry. You may be more sensitive to sound of light. You generally won’t feel worse if you’re active, but you may not want to do some activities. You may also feel tired.
Q: How long do tension-type headaches last?
A: Tension-type headaches may last 30minutes to seven days. You may have tension-type headaches once or twice a year to as often as three to four times a week.
Q: What is a Migraine Headache?
A: Migraine often begins with misalignment either restricting blood flow into your head or irritation upsets your autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious functions like the narrowing and expansion of your blood vessels.
Q: What does a Migraine Headache feel like?
A: The pain of a migraine headache can be intense. It can get in the way of things you want to do. Migraines don’t feel the same in all people. Symptoms of migraines may include the following:
-Throbbing of dull aching pain on one or both sides of your head
-Not feeling hungry
-Changes in how you see, including blind spots or flashing lights in your vision
-Bothered by light or noise
-Feeling cold or sweating
-Cold hands or feet
Q: Are there different kinds of migraine headaches?
A: Yes. The two most common are migraine with aura and migraine without aura. An Aura is a set of warning signs that usually occurs before the headache. Sometimes, though, the aura and the pain overlap or the pain never occurs. Auras typically last 15 to 30minutes. The aura often involves changes in the way you see. You may see flashing lights or zigzags of light. You may lose some of your vision for a short time in one or both eyes. For example, you may lose peripheral vision (side vision).
Things may also seem like they are different sizes of shapes or are in different locations. You may also feel a strange prickly or burning sensation or muscle weakness on one side of your body. The sensation may seem to march through your body.
Migraines without an aura may still have some warning signs. Two hours to three days before the pain begins, you may feel tired, crave certain foods, yawn more than usual, feel depresses, have a surge of energy, feel irritable, anxious or restless, or be more talkative than usual. This type of migraine may start more slowly than migraine with an aura, last longer and interfere more with your activities.
Can Chiropractic help treat and diagnose Headaches?
YES! Chiropractic can help you get to the root of your problem by diagnosing your type headache and the underlying physical causes. Although clinical orthopaedic manual examination will help to determine whether the cervical spine is a primary contributor or not involved in headache syndrome. Chiropractic spinal manipulation reduces pain by decreasing the pressure on your spinal nerves, by relieving muscle spasm, and improving your range of motion. Chiropractic will not only address the underlying physical cause, but will also help you learn how to prevent headaches in the future.