Headaches are so common these days for some they are almost considered a normal part of everyday life. Just as with any other sort of pain, the headache is just the symptom of an underlying problem not the actual problem itself. Painkillers are not a solution, they are a cover-up. Even if the painkiller takes the pain away the cause of your headache is still there stressing your body until it causes a bigger and better problem to get hold of your attention.
While there are many types of headaches that have been classified, the most common is cervicogenic. As the name suggests this is a headache that is the result of a problem with your neck. The neck (cervical spine) has 7 vertebrae. From the levels of the first three vertebrae (C1-3) nerves exit the spine that have direct neurological connections controlling and supplying sensation to:
Glands and blood vessels of the head and brain
Bones of the face including the teeth
Eyes, ears and sinuses
Skin, muscles and joints of the head, face and neck including the jaw
This intimate neurological connection between the neck and head means that the consequence of poor spinal alignment, motion and control can be a headache. While there can be many causes of spinal misalignment here are the top 5.
1) Poor posture – this is an absolute killer. If being stuck at a desk and chair wasn’t bad enough now we have technologies like smart phones and iPads that force us to look down destroying the natural protective curve in the neck. With children under the age of 5 commonly using these means that upper neck problems are occurring at a younger and younger age setting up life long problems.
2) Trauma – knocks, bumps, falls, whiplash injuries and the like can all disrupt the normal alignment and motion of the neck. Sometimes headaches (one of many symptoms) do not occur till months or years after the original injury. This is because our body’s compensate as best they can to keep us going in the short term.
3) Stress and fatigue – chronic stress and fatigue have serious effects upon the way your muscles and joints work. Upper neck problems are common amongst those who are over worked and sleep deprived
4) Hand dominance – being right or left handed automatically means that your body doesn’t work symmetrically. Over time muscle imbalances that occur in the neck and shoulder pull the upper neck out of alignment.
5) Poor bedding and sleep posture – bad beds, pillows and sleeping position are not to be forgotten. Given the amount of time we actually spend in our beds the effort and money to get this right is well worth the investment.
Chiropractic evaluation can be the key to resolving your headache
If you suffer from headaches a chiropractic spinal evaluation is the best place to start. Our chiropractors will identify if in fact the problem is your neck or if the problem is the result of something else. Other examinations such as X-rays can also go a long way to better evaluating what sort of misalignment is present and if there are any signs of joint degeneration, all important information when devising a customised plan of care.
If you suffer from headaches and feel that your neck may be the problem please call us at Better Health on 9518 0722 to make an appointment.
Yours in Better Health,
Dr Andrew Richards (Chiropractor)