How Neck Misalignment Causes Headaches

The Connection between Neck Misalignment and Headaches

 IN THIS BLOG POST, WE ARE GOING TO EXPLORE THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN HEADACHES, MIGRAINES AND CHIROPRACTIC WITH A PARTICULAR INTEREST ON HOW CHIROPRACTIC CAN ADDRESS THE CAUSE.

Dr. pointing to upper neck misalignment location

IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE MILLIONS OF MIGRAINE SUFFERERS LIVING IN THE U.S., CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP ALLEVIATE THE PAIN, AS WELL AS OTHER ISSUES SUCH AS AURA, MUSCLE TENSION, NAUSEA, AND LIGHT SENSITIVITY. 

How Chronic Headaches Develop

THE CHIROPRACTIC APPROACH TO SPINAL ALIGNMENT -- INCLUDING JOINTS FROM NECK TO TAILBONE -- CAN HELP THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM HEADACHES. THIS INCLUDES THOSE WHO HAVE MIGRAINES WITH AND WITHOUT AURA, TENSION HEADACHES, AND CERVICOGENIC HEADACHES.


RESEARCH SHOWS US THAT HEADACHES OFTEN ARE LINKED TO A MISALIGNED ATLAS VERTEBRA. THE MISALIGNMENT PUTS TENSION ON THE SPINAL CORD, DISRUPTING THE BRAIN’S ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE BODY AND CONSEQUENTLY AFFECTING THE BODY’S NORMAL FUNCTIONS. [1-4]


MOST MIGRAINES ORIGINATE WHERE THE NECK (CERVICAL SPINE) JOINS THE SKULL. THIS IS OFTEN CALLED THE CRANIOCERVICAL JUNCTION OR UPPER CERVICAL COMPLEX. CHIROPRACTORS HAVE RECEIVED THE PROPER TRAINING TO HELP WITH HEALTH ISSUES ORIGINATING IN THIS AREA.

How Migraines Can Seriously Affect Daily Life

Migraine Statistics

MIGRAINE AFFECTS 38 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE U.S. AND 1 BILLION PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE. MIGRAINE EPISODES CAN BE AS INFREQUENT AS 1-2 TIMES MONTHLY, OR AS OFTEN AS DAILY. MORE THAN 90 PERCENT OF MIGRAINE SUFFERERS SAY THAT THEIR CONDITION DISABLES THEM, PREVENTING THEM FROM WORKING, DRIVING OR OTHER ENJOYING OTHER ACTIVITIES.

Migraine Headaches and Neck Misalignment Symptoms

THE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS IS THAT MIGRAINES ORIGINATE IN OUR NERVOUS SYSTEMS AND AS A RESULT, COME WITH OTHER ASSOCIATED SENSATIONS. THESE INCLUDE LIGHT SENSITIVITY, VISUAL DISTURBANCES, AURA, DIZZINESS, NAUSEA, VOMITING, TINGLING, AND FACIAL NUMBNESS. THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE MIGRAINE WITH AN AURA OFTEN SEE THE AURA FOR ABOUT AN HOUR, THEN EXPERIENCE A HEADACHE FOR UP TO 72 HOURS.

How Chiropractors Understand the Causes of Headaches

CHIROPRACTORS ASSESS THE MOVEMENT AND POSITIONING OF THE NECK (CERVICAL SPINE) MISALIGNMENT, WHICH IS OFTEN LINKED TO HEADACHES. SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO OR CAUSE HEADACHE IN THIS AREA OF THE SPINE INCLUDE:

Chiropractic Cause of Neck Misalignment

CHIROPRACTORS THINK OF A VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATION, OR NECK MISALIGNMENT LIKE A KINK IN A HOSE. JUST AS A KINK IN A HOSE CAUSES CHANGES IN FLUID FLOW AND PRESSURE, A MISALIGNED VERTEBRA CAN CHANGE PRESSURE ON THE SPINE, SPINAL CORD, AND SPINAL ARTERIES. VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATIONS CAN RAISE THE INTERNAL PRESSURE IN THE SKULL, ALTERING THE NORMAL FLOW OF BLOOD OR SPINAL FLUID. RISING PRESSURE CAN RESULT IN A TENSION OR SINUS HEADACHE. 

Neck Misalignment Research

HEAD AND NECK INJURY: HEAD AND NECK INJURIES CAN DISRUPT BLOOD FLOW TO AND FROM THE SPINE, ONCE AGAIN AFFECTING PRESSURE IN THE SKULL AND RESULTING IN HEADACHES. [5]

​MUSCLE TENSION: A MISALIGNED SPINE WILL OFTEN STRESS THE SMALL MUSCLES AT THE TOP JOINTS OF THE NECK AND BASE OF THE SKULL. MUSCLE TENSION LIKE THIS IS OFTEN BROUGHT ON BY EXTENDED PERIODS OF LOOKING DOWN OR SITTING. THIS MUSCLE TENSION CAN LEAD TO HEADACHES. CHIROPRACTORS CAN REDUCE MUSCLE TENSION IN THESE DELICATE JOINTS.

How Chiropractic Addresses Neck Misalignment

1. Shift Misaligned Vertebrae in the Neck

CHIROPRACTIC CARE ADDRESSES MIGRAINES BY PUTTING THE BODY INTO A POSITION OF REDUCED TENSION. IN THIS STATE, BLOOD FLOW TO THE BRAIN NORMALIZES. CHIROPRACTORS WILL ALSO ANALYZE THE BONES OF THE SKULL FOR PHYSICAL STRESS, WHICH CAN ALSO CONTRIBUTE TO HEADACHES. WE HAVE SEEN THAT PEOPLE UNDER ROUTINE CHIROPRACTIC CARE HAVE FEWER AND LESS SEVERE HEADACHES.

2. Reduce Stress on the Realigned Vertebrae in the Neck

IN CHIROPRACTIC, THIS IS WHAT WE CALL THE RESTORATION PRINCIPLE, WHICH USES SPINAL REALIGNMENT “TO REESTABLISH A PATIENT’S NORMAL BIOMECHANICAL RELATIONSHIP OF THE UPPER CERVICAL SPINE TO THE VERTICAL AXIS (GRAVITY LINE). RESTORATION IS CHARACTERIZED AS BEING ARCHITECTURALLY BALANCED, BEING CAPABLE OF UNRESTRICTED RANGE OF MOTION, AND ALLOWING A SIGNIFICANT DECREASE IN GRAVITATIONAL STRESS.” [3]

3. Allow the Body to Heal Itself with Time

WITH THE SPINE IN ITS IDEAL SHAPE, THE BODY WORKS OPTIMALLY AND THE MIND ACHIEVES A STATE OF PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL CLARITY. AS A SECONDARY EFFECT, HEADACHES ARE LESS FREQUENT AND POSE LESS OF A DISRUPTION TO DAILY LIFE. CHIROPRACTIC CARE WILL HELP YOU ADDRESS THESE MINOR HEALTH CHALLENGES WITH YOUR NECK AND SPINE, HELPING YOU MOVE BEYOND THE PAIN OF HEADACHES.

Take Action and Invest in Your Health

AT THE SHIFT, YOU CAN WORK WITH OUR CHIROPRACTORS WHO ARE TRAINED IN SPECIAL CHIROPRACTIC TECHNIQUES TO REALIGN THE MISALIGNMENT IN THE VERTEBRAE OF THE NECK THAT CAUSE HEADACHES AND CHRONIC TENSION IN THE SPINE. WITH YEARS OF EXPERIENCE HELPING PATIENTS WHO HAVE CHRONIC HEADACHES AND ACHIEVING SUCCESSFUL OUTCOMES, WE ARE CONFIDENT IN OUR ABILITY TO HELP.

References:

http://ucmonograph.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Effect-of-Atlas-Vertebrae-Realignment-in-Subjects-with-Migraine.pdf

[1] H. W. Magoun, “Caudal and cephalic influences of the brain stem reticular formation,” Physiological Reviews, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 459–474, 1950.

[2] R. Gregory, Manual of Upper Cervical Analysis, National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, Monroe, Mich, USA, 1971.

[3] M. Thomas, Ed., NUCCA Protocols and Perspectives, National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, Monroe, Mich, USA, 1st edition, 2002.

[4] J. D. Grostic, “Dentate ligament-cord distortion hypothesis,” Chiropractic Research Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 47–55, 1988.

[5] V. N. Cassar-Pullicino, E. Colhoun, M. McLelland, I. W. McCall, and W. El Masry, “Hemodynamic alterations in the paravertebral venous plexus after spinal injury,” Radiology, vol. 197, no. 3, pp. 659–663, 1995.

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