Migraines and headaches are among some of the most common issues we see with upper cervical chiropractic care and they also tend to be some of the easier issues for us to help correct. We find that chronic migraines and headaches tend to be an issue not only with the biomechanics of the upper cervical spine, but also a neurological disconnect between the brain and the body. By simply realigning the upper cervical spine, we not only correct the biomechanics, but also take pressure off the nervous system and allow it to re-calibrate and restore the inner workings of the human body.
When muscles in the back of your neck and/or scalp tighten or stiffen due to emotions, stress (link to stress condition), depression (link to depression condition), whiplash (link to whiplash condition), injuries or fatigue (link to fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome condition), this can trigger one of the most common types of headaches known as tension headaches. Did you know that neck pain (link to neck pain condition) and headaches can go hand in hand? In fact, about 75% of migraine sufferers experience neck pain during or before an attack. “Data indicate[s] that neck pain is a very common feature of migraine attacks and is likely to be either a trigger or a part of the migraine attack.” (1)
Dr. Seymour Diamond, Executive Director (National Headache Foundation) revealed through new imaging techniques, what they believe to be the main cause of migraine headaches: brain stem malfunction. According to Dr. Diamond, “when brain stem, located close to the top of the neck malfunctions, it leads to swelling of blood vessels around the brain, setting up intense chain reaction that results in acute migraine headache.”
Upper cervical chiropractors focus on the top two vertebrae (bones) in the neck. These two bones are known as C1 and C2 or the atlas and the axis respectively. One of their several functions is to help protect the brain stem which is located in this region (craniocervical junction). When a misalignment of the upper cervical vertebra takes place, tension, pressure or irritation can be applied to the brain stem and decrease its ability to function optimally. An improperly functioning brain stem plays a critical role in the onset of migraines but other important mechanisms in this region also play a vital role. The vertebral arteries pass through this area carrying oxygen rich blood to the brain, when this free-flowing blood is inhibited, the brain may receive less oxygen. Intracranial pressure (a rise in pressure around your brain) can lead to headaches and other serious conditions. When a misalignment is present in the upper cervical spine, this can inhibit cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from draining which will lead to pooling up of fluid and increase intracranial pressure. A precise correction of these misalignments from an upper cervical chiropractor is helping many experience less frequent and severe headaches and in a cost-effective way.
Your headaches aren’t something that you are doomed to live with for the rest of your life, they are just simply a way of your body telling you that it needs a little help in the process of self-correcting and self-healing. Contact us today to find out more and to see if upper cervical chiropractic is right for you.
1. Pradhan, S. Choudhury, S. Clinical characterization of neck pain in migraine. Neurology India Vol 66, No. 2 2018 p. 377-384