Almost everyone has endured a headache, and has at least some kind of idea of what they are like. There is, however, a significant portion of the population (15 to 20%) for which headaches are more than just an occasional discomfort. For those of you who struggle with chronic headaches, I sympathize with you. At the very least, chronic headaches diminish quality of life. And at their worst they can be debilitating, leaving sufferers completely unable to function.
By the time chronic headache patients come to me, most have already seen numerous doctors, neurologists, and other health care practitioners (including chiros and therapists). They have also had many different tests (BRAIN SCANS, MRI, etc) in an attempt to diagnose the cause of said headaches. Typically, the patient is told something like, “Thank God Mrs. Smith, you don’t have a brain tumor“. Then the headache is given a fancy medical name, and you the patient are told that there is little that can be done aside from taking an ASSORTMENT OF DANGEROUS MEDICATIONS for the rest of your life to make it easier to live with the pain.
What is true with the rest of the body is just as true with headaches. Symptomatic care is temporary at best. Because the underlying cause of headaches are rarely addressed by the medications that your doctor has prescribed, the symptoms return over and over and over again. And then there are all the side-effects — not to mention the REBOUND HEADACHES. These are headaches which are actually caused by the medications themselves. The only real relief from headache symptoms involves discovering the cause or causes of the headaches, and is often a multifaceted approach.
Headaches and Loss of Cervical Joint Motion
Numerous studies show a distinct relationship between functional neck problems (LOSS OF NORMAL ALIGNMENT or LOSS OF NORMAL MOTION of the cervical or upper thoracic spine) and headaches. As crazy as it sounds, some people have “restricted” neck ROM even though said ranges are essentially “normal” (HERE). Each and every vertebrate of the neck must move properly in relationship to the vertebrate above it and below it. This is why Chiropractic Adjustments have proven so effective in alleviating millions of people’s headaches (INTERACTIVE NERVE CHART).
In the same way that the vertebrate must have good motion, the region’s Connective Tissues (chiefly FASCIA and LIGAMENTS) must also move freely. Although repeated chiropractic adjustments are an attempt to deal with the neck pain and / or headaches that can be caused by loss of normal joint motion (and for the most part do a pretty good job for run-of-the-mill problems), sometimes they fail miserably. I spent the first decade of practice wondering why one patient would improve so greatly with chiropractic adjustments; and why similar patients — patients with seemingly identical signs, symptoms, orthopedic and neurological exam findings, x-rays, blood profiles, nutritional histories, etc, would not.
When I meet patients from other chiropractors who have responded well to chiropractic adjustments but have trouble holding their adjustments beyond days — or even hours; I automatically start thinking SCAR TISSUE. FASCIAL ADHESIONS in and around the muscles of the neck create an environment where people cannot hold their adjustment for more than a few days — and often no more than a few hours. Marky drove up from Dallas to see us several years ago. She had suffered with chronic headaches for nearly 40 years, and the only thing that helped her was being adjusted over and over and over again (SHELINA’S VIDEO TESTIMONIAL shows a similar story). I treated her twice. She came back a couple of weeks ago for another treatment and said the has 90% fewer headaches than she has for the past four decades of her life (much less intense also). Or better yet, check out BONITA’S TESTIMONIAL. 70 years of Chronic Migraines —– all but gone after a single visit to our clinic.
Once the microscopic scarring is “BROKEN,” the process of REMODELING can begin. Function returns to the muscle tissue and fascia that surround the cervical spine, people’s Range of Motion improves dramatically, and PROPRIOCEPTIVE FUNCTION begins to return. A significant improvement in motion / function, usually translates into a significant improvement in the ability to hold adjustment for a much longer period of time. What does this usually translate into? Less headache / Chronic Pain, of course! But it also translates into less Degenerative Arthritis in your future.
Other Causes of Headaches
Be aware that sometimes Migraine Headaches have little to do with an injury to the neck or a mechanical dysfunction of the neck; and everything to do with an injury or problem with the BRAIN, GUT, or both. We can resolve many cases of Migraine Headaches quickly and easily, but if you’ve tried a couple TISSUE REMODELING TREATMENTS coupled with adjustments, and seen no change in your condition, there is a strong probability that your problem is either Brain-Based or Metabolic. Don’t despair. There is still hope for you (HERE). Take a couple of minutes to look through some of my many posts on CHRONIC HEADACHES.