My Head Hurts!
There are approximately 45 million Americans complaining of headaches each year. That works out to about one in every six people or 16.54% of the population. More than eight million Americans visit their doctor for complaints of headaches each year!
The Anatomy of the Head
In order to fully understand headaches we have to start with the anatomy of the head and neck. Your brain sits in your skull and over 70 trillion nerve fibers run from your brain through a small hole in your skull called the foreman magnum. Once through the foremen magnum they join together to form your brain-stem. Every nerve in your entire body whether they travel to your head or your feet must first travel this route. Your brain-stem is housed by the top two bones in your neck. The first bone is called the “atlas” the second is called the “axis”. All of these bones are held together by dozens of small ligaments. These attachments allow for you to move your head. It is a very small area of your spine but the important thing to remember is that every nerve in your body must pass through these structures.
What Causes the Throbbing?
Just like in the illustration above the top bones in the neck can become misaligned. This can be from big traumas such as car accidents or sports injuries, or it can be from day to day repetitive stresses such as sitting behind a computer all day or playing video games. When we have a misalignment present you can get compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the upper neck area. When that compression takes places much of the time you will start to feel tension in the neck or a feeling that you cannot move your neck through full ranges of motion. We often ignore these first warning signs by our bodies or we take a Tylenol. Often times a headache is the next warning sign. Headaches often have a reoccurring pattern because the compression is taking place on the same blood vessels or nerves. The cause of the headache is this compression but for the majority of individuals the treatment does not address it.
How do We Make it Go Away?
Through digital x-rays and infrared thermography we can locate the misalignment and the structures being compressed. With this data/information we can give a very specific adjustment to gently re-align the bones in the top of the neck. In our office this is done without the need of twisting, cracking or popping. Once the misalignment is corrected the compression from the nerves and blood vessels is released, allowing the normal flow of the blood vessels and nerves to be restored. For the first time the CAUSE of the headaches has now been addressed. With time and repetition we can train the top of the spine to once again hold a strong properly aligned position. It is important to note that the Chiropractic is the same for headaches as it would be for a child with ADHD or an adult with chronic fatigue. The goal is to locate the pressure or compression in the spine and nervous system.
When that is removed normal function and health are restored!