At our chiropractic office here in Naperville one of the most common complaints our neck pain patients have is headaches. There can be a variety of reasons an individual suffers from headaches: tension, vascular, neurological, or the most common type we see at Victory Rehab which can be directly related to neck pain or mechanical issues in the joints and/or muscles surrounding the neck. We call these cervicogenic headaches, and they are a common condition that a chiropractor often treats with great success.
The following is a paragraph from The Journal Of The American Osteopathic Association Click here to see the full article:
Neck pain and muscle tension are common symptoms of a migraine attack.1,7-9 In a study of 50 patients with migraine, 64% reported neck pain or stiffness associated with their migraine attack, with 31% experiencing neck symptoms during the prodrome; 93%, during the headache phase; and 31%, during the recovery phase.1 In the study by Blau and MacGregor,1 7 patients reported that pain was referred into the ipsilateral shoulder and 1 patient reported that pain extended from the neck into the low back region.
As demonstrated above the prevalence of Americans with neck pain corresponding with migraine symptoms is alarmingly high. Now let us discuss treatment.
Usually when dealing with a mechanical problem it requires a mechanical solution. As chiropractors (after we evaluate and examine someone with a chief complaint of headaches) if we determine the headaches are cervicogenic in nature we can then begin treatment. For most individuals cervicogenic headache treatment is two fold; soft tissue treatment of the hypertonic or “tight & stiff” muscles and chiropractic adjustments of the restricted joints. Since muscle involvement plays such a large role in these types of headaches it is of the upmost importance to address these muscles. There are many specific soft tissue techniques that a chiropractor may utilize to help ease muscle pain. At our office we specialize in two soft tissue techniques, ART & Graston.
The second component is dealing with the structural issues that are underlying with cervicogenic and migraine headaches. More specifically the joints of the neck. As chiropractors this is what we specialize in. If joints within the neck are not functioning or moving properly they then can inhibit the surrounding muscular function. Many patients when first coming to the office have a preconceived notion that a chiropractic adjustment is taking a bone that is out of place and putting it back in place. This isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, I ask them to imagine a door that hasn’t been used in 10 years and now the hinges on that door are rusted shut. How would you get the hinges on that door to move better? Most say, “oil the hinges then move the door back in forth”. In this door analogy all we are simply doing is taking joints, in this case door hinges, and moving them in the plane they were designed to move in. This resembles a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractors find restrictions within joints and using a light, gentle, and specific impulse thrust they get those joints to move and function better in the plane they were designed to move in.
If you are someone who experiences Migraine headaches one time a week or more, you may be suffering from cervicogenic migraine headaches. CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment with one of our headache specialists.