The average headache patient seeking relief tends to make complaints concerning neck pain. That’s why chiropractor care are highly recommended when it comes to headache relief. Treatment for headaches includes special focus on the neck in order to achieve optimum results.
There are many reasons why neck problems result in headaches. Listed below are some of these reasons:
• 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 the Trigeminal, innervates the sensation to the face and is located in the upper cervical region near the origin of the 2nd cervical spinal nerve, which innervates sensation to the back of the head up to the top. Therefore, problems located in the upper neck will often produce pain that radiates 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 top 5 to 7 spinal cord levels in the neck. Injury anywhere in the neck can result in spasm and pain in these large muscle groups.
When patients seek headache relief, a thorough examination of the neck, upper back, and cranial nerves is routinely performed. It is common to find alignment problems in patients experiencing consistent headaches. Chiropractic adjustments applied to the fixated or misaligned vertebra in the upper neck 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 both reducing headache pain and in preventing occurrences, especially with stress or tension headaches.