Headaches: Do not settle for them!


Tension Headaches

I am amazed at how long people often put up with headaches and its related symptoms, including migraines, visual disturbances, and balance interference. Headaches may also decrease our productivity and pleasantness! I once treated a guy who suffered (put up with) constant low-level migraines for 30 plus years. After just one treatment session he came back a new man, and was mostly cured of his complaints after just several sessions!

Some headaches originate from affected upper cervical (neck) spinal sources. If palpating specific spots in your upper neck reproduces your headache and then relieves again reasonably quickly once ceased, your symptoms are likely cervicogenic; meaning they originate from your neck. Because the top three vertebrae in your neck share the same nerve pathways as your face and scalp, sometimes headaches can be caused by the cervical spine (the neck). In technical terms -the neuroanatomical basis for cervicogenic headache is convergence in the trigeminocervical nucleus¹.

Trauma. New and old may contribute to this. From an involved motor vehicle accident to a seemingly innocuous sporting incident. Thorough assessment and accurate diagnosis are essential.

Tension headaches are usually caused by poor posture that lead to overloaded muscles in the neck and shoulders. Because the nerves criss cross between the neck and the back of the skull, these muscles can refer pain to the head themselves; however, they also pull on the connective tissue (fascia), which is the tissue that makes up the majority of the scalp.

Tension headaches are classically a “21st-century problem” that can occur after many hours seated in the same position. Tension headaches may be preceded by stiffness in the neck and between the shoulder blades which is hard to self relieve. Many factors including ergonomic set-up, work organisational analysis, stress, and muscle imbalances all need to be assessed and addressed to provide effective long-term relief. We may also need to scrutinise your pillow and the way that you spend the other one-third of your day. Sleeping!

A word of encouragement: We can help. Don’t settle for the pain or discomfort when relief could be just around the corner . At Spine & Sports Centre we are happy to check out your ailments and work together towards your best health. Don’t prolong your suffering – your headache may be easier to treat than you think.

1. Bogduk N.J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1992 Jan;15(1):67-70.