At K2 Health Center, your trusted Chiropractors in Encinitas, Dr. John Kupper and Dr. Steven Keener, see tension headaches as the most common form of neck pain headaches. These types of headaches are often caused by muscular tension in the back of the neck and/or scalp, often triggered by physical, chemical, and emotional stress.
The muscle contraction leads to a slight decrease in blood flow to the surrounding areas and an irritation of pain fibers in the skin, muscles, and blood vessel walls. If out-of-control muscle contraction (spasm) can be corrected then this progression of events can be reversed.
Muscles that control the motion of the head and neck contract in response to the activity of nerves which originate from the brainstem.
Greater stimulation means more contraction. Less stimulation means less contraction. It is amazing to see that muscles DO NOT act on their own. Think of a muscle fiber a “dumb rubber band”, meaning it will only contract when there is a sufficient enough neurological stimulus to do so. That muscle will also stay either partially or fully contracted until the stimulus is lessened.There are different nerves on the right and left side of your body. This means that the right side muscles controlling the head and neck can be much tighter because of the right side nerves over functioning, or vice versa.
The brainstem rests, anatomically, within the spinal canal created by the skull, atlas (C1) and often also the axis (C2). Poor alignment and function of these bones causes direct mechanical stress on the brainstem and all the nerves it contains. Just think how a garden hose responds when you start kinking and twisting it! This a simple explanation of a complex neurological issue. Luckily, it can be diagnosed and fixed relatively easily without the use of addictive medications and/or risky surgeries.
The Possible Underlying Cause of Your Headaches
One very common cause of headaches is frequently overlooked. It is an upper cervical misalignment. Headaches don’t just happen, in fact, nothing just happens in nature or in your body. There is a law called CAUSE & EFFECT. Every effect has a cause and every cause has an effect. I think you get the point. Studies show that over 90% of headaches originate in some way form the neck. This is why many headaches start in the neck or have neck pain as a symptom. It can also explain why headache conditions often begin in the wake of head or neck trauma. Here are just a few ways that slight misalignment of the atlas (C1) can lead to various headache types.
- Brainstem function – The atlas surrounds and protects the lower part of the brainstem. However, even a very slight misalignment can disrupt proper brainstem function. We see this scenario daily in the clinic. Not only are our patients suffering headaches and migraines, but they typically are displaying other symptoms that correlate with brainstem dysfunction (ie digestive disorders)
- Blood flow – The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the brain. A misaligned atlas can alter this blood flow, resulting in certain parts of the brain receiving less oxygen. This lack of oxygen, even in the smallest degree, will trigger the heart to beat faster and harder to get blood to the brain. Could this be a possible missing link for blood pressure regulation? Of course, altered blood flow in/out of the skull will lead to headaches and migraines.
- Intracranial pressure – When the upper cervical spine is misaligned, cerebrospinal fluid may fail to drain properly. If this occurs, the pooling can lead to increased intracranial pressure and headaches, along with other symptoms.
If you are suffering from an atlas misalignment, what is the safe and effective way to correct the problem? We would like to introduce you to a chiropractic subspecialty that most people have never heard of.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Headaches
Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in detecting and correcting the slightest of atlas misalignments. Precision imaging techniques are used to find misalignments that are just fractions of a millimeter. Then, a precise adjustment is calculated for each patient. Adjustments are always gentle (none of the popping or cracking you may associate with chiropractic) and are very safe.
If you suffer from headaches, this may be the way to correct the issue without medication. To learn if upper cervical care is right for you, contact Chiropractors in Encinitas and do not waste another minute. You may join the many patients who are experiencing the benefits of correcting a long-standing misalignment that you never knew you had. For some patients, it has even meant the end of chronic headaches.
We always offer a complimentary consultation at K2 Health Center, so we can sit down look at what is going on with the patient’s case and do a thorough examination.
K2 Health Center | 760-456-9470