Common to most people at some stage of the day, week, month, or at some stage of their lives are headaches. Some are easily explained – we’ve all possibly at some point over-indulged in alcohol in an evening only to wake up the next day with a hangover and a pounding head. While on the subject, alcohol blocks a chemical in your kidneys from working properly that keep our total body fluids at about five litres. Ever wondered why you drink alcohol and a visit to the toilet becomes more frequent as the night goes on? The net loss of fluid in the body causes the more delicate blood vessels around our brain and skull to go into mild spasm – hence the headache.
Headaches come in various forms and the medical profession has classification for most headache symptoms – tension type, common migraines, classic migraines, cluster headaches are to name but a few. The medical model of treatment options range from giving muscle relaxants, to chemically blocking nerve signals responsible for pain.
So what about the chiropractic view on headaches – are there some treatment options that manipulation of the spine can offer for people suffering from headache symptoms? Thankfully, the answer is yes and clinical research suggests that headaches accompanied by neck symptoms are the ones most likely to respond positively to manipulation of the joints of the neck.
But why is this so?
Without going into too much unnecessary detail, the vertebrae (bones) in the upper part of the neck protect an important group of nerve cells responsible for the nerve supply to the face and parts of the skull. Inflamed joints in the upper part of the neck can irritate the nerve supply to the face and its structures.
Chiropractic manipulation of joints enhances feedback to the surrounding muscles and joints via nerve impulses. Joints become more stable, and inflammation around the joint decreases. Neck pain eases, and as an added bonus, so too does the headache.
Important to know when your headache becomes a pain in the neck.