What is the number one underlying cause of headaches? While researchers tend to disagree, at Hope Chiropractic Center, we are convinced that the neurological dysfunction that leads to headaches usually starts in the neck. That’s why the main focus of our practice is to alleviate upper cervical misalignments that can result in headaches. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how the neck is related to headaches and how you can find natural relief.
How the Neck Is Related to Headaches
When the upper cervical spine is out of alignment, it can have several major effects on the central nervous system (CNS). Here are a few ways that misalignments can lead to headaches:
- Brainstem pressure – Since the C1 (atlas) vertebra surrounds the brainstem right at the critical juncture where it meets the spinal cord, even the slightest misalignment can have far-reaching effects in the CNS. A fraction of a millimeter can be the difference between the atlas protecting the brainstem or putting pressure on it and causing inhibited brainstem function.
- Blood flow restriction – The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the head by means of the vertebral foramen. These are loops of bone that provide safe passage for the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. However, a misalignment in the neck can restrict this proper blood flow. If key parts of the brain have even a slightly reduced oxygen level, this can cause chronic issues with headaches.
- Intracranial pressure – Another effect of a misaligned upper cervical spine is a reduction in the proper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid. If this drainage is not occurring properly, it can begin to pool in the head. The result is increased intracranial pressure, leading to symptoms such as headaches, brain fog, and more.
Clearly, there is a connection between neck misalignments and headache conditions. Let’s take migraines as an example.
Research Involving Neck Pain and Migraines
The primary symptoms of a migraine are headaches, sensory sensitivity, and nausea. However, there is one thing that is often left out. According to researchers, neck pain is more common than nausea among migraineurs. This is a shocking statistic considering the fact that neck pain never even gets listed as a migraine symptom and nausea is considered one of the tell-tale signs.
As a result, many case studies have been performed involving cervical misalignments and how correcting these can affect headache conditions and migraines. For example, one upper cervical chiropractor performed 37 case studies on migraineurs. She found that 26 of the patients had no more migraines following the correction of an atlas misalignment. The other 11 patients all saw a reduction in the frequency of their migraines. Some patients who were experiencing migraines on a daily basis were down to just one or two migraines per month after as little as one month of care. The patients ranged from ages 9 to 67, showing that this form of care is for everyone.
The question that is now raised is how people of all ages are ending up with an upper cervical misalignment. For many, it has to do with unresolved head trauma.
Headaches Resulting from Head Trauma
Whether it is a car accident, a sports injury, a slip and fall, or an assault, many people experience head trauma during their life. Any time a person’s head is whipped around quickly or struck with force, an atlas misalignment may occur. This makes it vital to see an upper cervical chiropractor as a follow-up to this sort of injury. Laying in bed and resting until you feel better is only part of the battle, especially if you end up with long-term headache issues. Clearly, the underlying damage has not healed on its own, and intervention is required.
If your headaches are accompanied by brain fog, difficulty sleeping, vertigo, and mood changes, an upper cervical misalignment can be behind all of these symptoms. Therefore, it is important to get to the source, rather than treating symptoms such as taking pain relievers for the headache, melatonin to help you sleep, and an antidepressant for the mood swings (just be sure never to stop taking a prescription medication without speaking with a doctor first). Upper cervical chiropractic may be the natural solution you have been searching for.
Upper Cervically Chiropractic Care in Southlake, Texas
At Hope Chiropractic Center, we have developed a state-of-the-art process for detecting and correcting upper cervical misalignments. First, we use computerized infrared thermography to evaluate a person’s neurophysiological balance in real-time. Then we use digital radiography to get a three-dimensional view of your upper cervical spine. Misalignments can be pinpointed down to fractions of a degree. Then, a custom adjustment can be prepared to get your neck back into proper alignment.
If you are suffering from headaches or migraines, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, we encourage you to contact us today by calling 972-638-0994. You can schedule a complimentary consultation to determine if this is the best course of action for you. Then you can proceed with confidence and get the natural relief you have been searching for.
Hope Chiropractic Center in Southlake, Texas is a place where the whole family can get relief from headaches and other side effects of upper cervical misalignments, so don’t delay in scheduling your appointment. For additional convenience, you can also request an appointment right here on our website.