Headaches are a frequent complaint we hear, especially with the rigours of our fast-paced and often stressful life. Two of the most common types of headaches are tension and cervicogenic headaches.
Tension headaches originate from tight muscles in the neck and shoulders. These muscles are aggravated by poor posture, hours spent working at a desk or computer, or a poor nights sleep with the wrong pillow. Occasionally trauma such as whiplash from a car accident can trigger spasm in these muscles too. When these muscles are tight or spastic they can refer pain up the neck into the back of the head, or in a tight band around the head and into the eyes.
Cervicogenic headaches originate from the joints of the spine. When these joints become inflamed or lose their mobility they can became painful and may also refer pain to the head. These joint dysfunctions can occur on their own, as a result of trauma or injury, or in conjunction with muscle tension.
While both of these sorts of headaches are incredibly common, especially with our typical lifestyles and our use of technology like smart phones, tablets and lap tops, the good news is that they are quite simple to treat. And better yet, with just a bit of stretch, exercise, and changing of habits, we can keep them away!
Chiropractic care utilitises spinal manipulation to mobilise and release dysfunctional joints, which helps to improve cervicogenic headaches. Other techniques that we use, like dry needling, massage, ischaemic compression, and stretching, can help release muscle spasm and resolve tension headaches. When we combine these techniques with postural improvement, education, exercise and better ergonomics, then we address both the symptoms and causes and we can effectively treat the headache.
While occasional headaches can be a normal part of life, they shouldn't be more common than once or twice month.