Nearly everyone will have at least one headache in their life. There are many potential causes of the occasional or random headache, but frequent headaches are a symptom of something more serious. And despite millions of people going to their medical doctor complaining of frequent headaches every year, many doctors and health care professionals tend to view headaches as a minor or trivial problem.
Anyone who suffers from frequent headaches knows the pain can be disabling at times and the problem takes a heavy toll on your personal relationships, your work, your finances, and your social life. There are several recognized types of headaches (tension headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, rebound headaches, hypertension headaches, etc) and most the common treatment is pain relieving medication.
The latest research has revealed that the most common underlying cause of frequent headaches is a problem in the upper neck that causes muscle and nerve irritation. Upper cervical chiropractic care has a track record of success with frequent headaches because they focus on the root cause. After their care, many patients are able to reduce, or eliminate, their need for medication and go for for months without any symptoms.
It is estimated that 13% of adults suffer from migraines and about 2-3% of them have chronic migraines (15 or more days a month with symptoms). Some of the common symptoms of a migraine, like throbbing and pressure, led early medical researchers to think migraines were a vascular (blood flow) problem which is why most of the migraine medications are directed at blood vessel constriction and blocking pain signals. At best that approach can only manage the symptoms of a migraine, but offers little hope for preventing future migraines.
More recent research is showing that migraines are actually related to a complex neurovascular problem originating in from the brainstem (back of the head where the neck and head join) which is why many migraine sufferers also get changes in their vision (auras, light sensitivity) equilibrium (balance problems, vertigo), hearing (sound sensitivity), trouble talking, numbness/tingling (usually on one half of the head or body), and nausea.
There is a unique relationship between the top two bones of the neck (C1 and C2) and the brainstem which is why upper cervical specific chiropractic care has a track record of success with migraines. By focusing on the underlying neurovascular problem that causes migraines many patients are able remain migraine free for months without the use of medication.
Having neck pain at some point throughout life is common. For most people the neck pain is minor and goes away after a few days. However, some people experience chronic neck pain that does not respond well to traditional treatments and can be extremely uncomfortable or even debilitating. In some cases the chronic neck pain is also associated with frequent headaches, limited range of motion, and tingling sensations in one or both arms or hands.
Neck pain and stiffness is a type of problem that does generally not fit well into the traditional medical system unless there is an easily identified source of the pain like a fractured or dislocated bone. The pain relieving and muscle relaxing medications often prescribed for general neck pain can certainly provide temporary relief from the discomfort, but do little for long-term improvement. Chronic neck pain is a serious problem, can be a difficult problem to treat, and can impact one’s relationships, work and family obligations, and finances.