Headache Treatment Orange CA
Headache pain is often a symptom of neck dysfunction. The two most common types of headaches are “Tension headaches” caused by tight muscles of the neck and head and “Cervicogenic headaches” which are caused by a mechanical problem in the neck such as misaligned vertebrae, arthritis, disc disease, etc. In fact these two headache types represent approximately 80% of all headaches.
Since most headaches are caused by some sort of problem in the neck, it stands to reason that addressing these neck problems would be the most efficient way to relieve headaches.
The average person spends all day with their heads in a forward position as they look at cell phones and tablets, computers, etc. By placing our head and neck in this position routinely, we are actually training our muscles to hold us in this position so that even after we put our phone down, our head is still forward of the normal gravitational line. We call this Forward Head Posture (FHP). If you look at someone from the side, you should see that the ear hole lies directly above the center of the shoulder. Any deviation forward of this gravitational line is considered FHP. With each inch of FHP the stress on your body increases by the weight of head. The average head weighs 10 lbs, so 2 inches of FHP increases load by 2o lbs. This can definitely cause headaches.
Along with the head being in a constant forward tilt, the shoulders are often rounded forward and to compensate the head rotates backwards, we call this posture “Upper Cross syndrome.”
All of this poor posture and muscle tension puts constant stress and tension of the spinal bones in our neck and upper back causing them to lock up and lose normal motion. We call this spinal subluxation. Once spinal bones become subluxated, they send nerve messages to the brain which in turn tightens muscles up in a protective mode which aggravates things further.
Proper headache treatment involves fixing muscle tension, posture and spinal motion.
We begin by doing a postural analysis to see what problems exist from the outside. X-rays are then taken to reveal the underlying alignment of the spinal bones. An examination is performed to find the tight muscles, find weak muscles and the vertebrae that are stuck or subluxated. With this information, a plan can then be made to fix the underlying causes of your headaches.
At first in office treatment is needed fairly frequently to unlock the spinal bones by gentle chiropractic adjustments. Tight muscles are stretched using a technique known as Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) a method that can lengthen tight short muscles very quickly and painlessly. Postural exercises are performed under the doctor’s supervision. Home exercises are given to be performed daily. Home care is very important. The patients who respond the best and fastest are the ones who do their exercises daily. As your posture improves and your headaches become less intense and less frequent, the transition is made to less office treatment and more home care until your headaches are gone and your posture has recovered to normal.
The time it takes to correct muscle tension is quick, about 1-4 weeks. Regaining posture and making changes to the spinal alignment on x-ray takes longer, about 2- 6 months depending on how bad your neck is. Care after the first month reduces in frequency as you learn to do the home care exercises.
Headaches are often the result of neck muscle tension, poor posture and neck misalignment. With proper chiropractic headache treatment and diligent home care, you can relieve your headaches and return to a headache free life.
Headache Treatment in Orange County, CA
Dr Barry Marks Chiropractor is the author of “5 Common Causes Headaches… 3 Steps to Relief” a book that details how to diagnose your headaches and a proven 3 step plan to eliminate your headaches once and for all.