Headaches affect many people throughout their lives. It is an extremely common condition and we see it often at Empower Chiropractic. Headaches can have many causes but we will cover some of the most common. The first and foremost cause to a headache stems from the neck actually. It's called a cervicogenic headache, meaning, coming from the cervical spine. This can occur because the head is held upright by the muscles in the neck who's main job is to make sure our heads stay upright on top of our shoulders. Many people get this type of headache because of our posture. People who sit at a desk, read a lot, or are looking down at their cell phones are extremely prone to this type of headache because of the prolonged strain on the muscles in the neck to continue holding the head up. Let's take a look at what this looks like!
This image shows the posture of a person who is typically looking down at their phone texting. This is important to note because the muscles in the back of the neck specifically are under a lot of strain and tension in the first picture which causes them to work harder and tighten up. This leads to tension in the back of the head which can wrap around to the front of the head as well causing a tension headache. This is ultimately due to a lack of muscle tone balance in the neck between the muscles in the front and the muscles in the back to properly hold the head up in a neutral position. When we hold these postures for long periods of time over months we can develop another problem known as upper crossed syndrome, where the muscle imbalance leads to more chronic issues.
This picture highlights upper crossed syndrome and how the muscles of the neck are either too tight in certain areas and weaker in other areas of the neck. This chronic postural pattern can lead to debilitating headaches in many people. We treat this with Chiropractic adjustments to the specific spots in the neck that have restricted movement, as well as education and corrective exercises to help balance the muscles in the neck and reset our posture.
Another common cause of headaches are migraine headaches which people also often present with at our office in Shawnee, Kansas. Migraines can have multiple different causes for different people, but again these can stem from the neck, or be an issue with the flow of blood through the smaller arteries throughout the head. A migraine feels like a pulsating or pounding pain behind one eye typically or one side of the head that is debilitating. People have had profound effects from migraines such as loss of vision, nausea, dizziness, inability to speak clearly, seeing floaters in their vision, and an intolerance to light or sounds. Migraine headaches can last anywhere from an hour to days on end. Sometimes, the joints in the neck can become restricted and cause irritation to the nerves that circle back up to the head and cause this type of headache, at which Chiropractic adjustments can help to relieve these symptoms. Other times, it is due to constriction of the small arteries in the head. For some, taking magnesium supplements can help to alleviate these types of migraines because magnesium is a natural vasodilator meaning it opens up the arteries for more blood to pass through. Often times still, people with these headaches also need adjustments and exercises to help relieve stress to the nervous system and their musculoskeletal system which will help in the longevity of not having recurring migraines.
At Empower Chiropractic we treat each individual who suffers from headaches with focused treatments for their individual needs. As you can see, there are many different causes to headaches, and not everyone will benefit from the same treatment type. We have various methods to treat headaches and can help you find lasting relief to these debilitating conditions.