Headaches effect more than half of the population. They are so common that people think they are just part of normal life, which is not true. Headaches are a sign that something is wrong. Simply popping a pill and waiting it out won’t stop a headache from returning if they’re arising from a mechanical source. There is a better alternative that you may not even be aware of.
Research shows spinal manipulation is an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate from the neck, also called Cervicogenic Headaches.
ABOUT CERVICOGENIC HEADACHE
Cervicogenic headaches are one of the most common conditions we treat in our office. Normally, each of the joints in your neck moves freely and independently to give you a full range of motion. But sometimes, muscle tightness or joint restrictions in the upper cervical spine can trigger a painful cycle of stiffness, tightness, inflammation, nerve irritation and pain.
Cervicogenic symptoms usually begin near the base of your skull and travel up and over the top of your head, towards your eye- usually on one side, but sometimes both. The pain is typically deep and continuous, while fluctuating in intensity. In rare instances, the pain can travel into your shoulders or arms. Cervicogenic headache episodes usually last between hours and days. Many patients report neck stiffness associated with their headaches.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF
- Try to limit your time sitting in a fixed position. Sitting at a desk, reading, or typing for prolonged periods can cause stiffness and nerve irritation. Get up and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
- Light exercise can help with headaches. Go for a walk or try a low-impact aerobics session. Avoid any high-impact exercise if you are prone to dull-throbbing headaches.
- Stay hydrated. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to prevent headaches.
Any headache warrants attention, but certain symptoms can suggest a more threatening origin. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call a doctor immediately or visit an emergency room.
- Headache with a severe onset
- A new or unfamiliar headache
- Significant neck stiffness or rash
- Numbness or tingling into the face or arms
- Light-headedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking.
Fortunately, most headaches are much less severe and more benign in origin. Our office has various tools to help you combat that pain. If you or someone you know suffers from headaches, please call our office to schedule an appointment.