Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Neck and Headache Connection- August 2014

The Neck and Headache Connection
 August 2014

Hi Everybody Dr. Norris here.
This month's newsletter includes some facts about the connection between your neck and headaches.

Patients with headaches also commonly complain of neck pain.  This relationship is the rule, not the exception and therefore, treatment for headaches must include evaluation and treatment of the neck to achieve optimum results.  "Cervicogenic headaches” are headaches caused by a problem in the neck.  This has been an accepted term because of the intimate connection between the neck and head for many years.  There are many anatomical reasons why neck problems result in headaches.

Some of these include:
  • The first 3 nerves exiting the spine in the upper neck go directly into the head.  They penetrate the muscles at the top of the neck near the attachments to the skull and therefore, any excess pressure on these nerves by the muscles or spinal joints will result in irritation                       and subsequent pain.
  • The origin of the 5th cranial nerve called is located in the upper cervical region. It innervates sensation to the back of the head up to the top. Therefore, problems located in the upper neck will often result in pain radiating up from the base of the skull/upper neck over the top of the skull to the eyes and /or face.
  • The 11th cranial nerve that innervates the upper shoulders and muscles in the front of the neck arises from the spinal cord level in the neck. Injury anywhere in the neck can result in spasm and pain in these large muscle groups.
  • Pressure or irritation to nerves in the neck can affect facial muscle strength/movements, taste, tongue and throat movements, and stomach complaints such as nausea.

There are many causes of headaches including tumors, trauma/concussion and disease.  But the most common cause is stress and spasm of the neck and upper back from spinal misalignments.  Therefore, an examination of the neck, upper back, and cranial nerves must be performed. Tender points located between the shoulder blades, along the upper shoulders, on the sides of the neck and particularly, at the base of the skull are commonly found.  Tenderness on the sides of the head, in the temples, over the eyes, and near the jaw joint is also common. Chiropractic adjustments applied to the fixated or misaligned vertebrae in the spine often brings very satisfying relief to the headache sufferer.  Exercises that promote movement in the neck, as well as strengthening exercises are also helpful in reducing this type of headache pain.
So if you or someone you care about is suffering,
have them call me for a consultation.
That's what I love to do, help people get out of pain.

“Because nobody has time for pain!”
Dr. Michael Norris

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"Water is our most important nutrient."

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Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases or, medical problems. It is not intended to replace your doctor's recommendations.
The information is provided for educational purposes only. Response to care and nutritional benefits may vary from one person to another.