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Can Chiropractic Help Headaches?

Posted in Head Pain Disorders on Dec 04, 2019

Can Chiropractic Help Headaches?

Can upper cervical chiropractic help headaches?

"I’ve tried everything for my headaches but nothing’s worked.”

Headaches are often due to physical or mechanical irritation of the nerves in your neck that go to your head and brain.

But how frustrating has it been trying to find answers?

For people who have never experienced headaches, they can’t truly understand how debilitating they can be. Headaches can range from a minor annoyance to completely incapacitating. 

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Whether headaches are a new problem for you or headaches have been a constant source of pain in your life, you want above all else to know how you can make them go away,

Many people try the medication route first to help with headaches.

Many people also try a combination of therapies including physiotherapy, acupuncture, diet, chiropractic, massage, and so forth. Many people get great headache relief. Other people not so much.

And that is where things get particularly cruel with headaches. 

Not only do you have to deal with the pain of headaches, but you also have to deal with the frustrations of not knowing what - if anything - will be able to help you.

In this particular article, I want to address the people who have tried everything that they can think of but with little or no relief.

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Because it is possible that the cause of your headaches - and also the solution - may actually be closer than you think. In brief, you might have tried the right things before, but just a little tweak is necessary to get the breakthrough for your headaches that you are looking for.

So let’s have a look at what happens with the upper part of your neck, and how a particular type of misalignment of the bones in your neck could be contributing towards your headaches.

Why does the upper neck have such an important effect on headaches?

The nerves that go to your head originate from the back of your neck: namely the C2 and C3 vertebrae:

 

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Of additional important are two other factors. The first is what is known as the meninges of the brain. The meninges are the protective layers that separate your brain and central nerve system from your bones. These layers also contain an immense array of blood vessels and nerves that detect physical and chemical irritation. 

In the upper part of the neck and also the head, the meninges are supplied by the recurrent meningeal branches of a few specific nerves including the vagus nerve, hypoglossal nerve, and also the C2 and C3 nerve. 

Whichever nerve branch is involved, they all transmit the sensory information to what is known as the spinal trigeminal nucleus. The spinal trigeminal nucleus is a large sensory processing centre in the brain and spinal cord that processes all the primary information about the brain, head and the face through these various nerve branches.

Now, you don’t need to become an expert in neurology to understand the take-away message, which is as follows:

A PHYSICAL or MECHANICAL IRRITATION TO EITHER a) ANY OF THE NERVES or b) THE CENTRAL PROCESSING PART OF THE BRAIN THAT RECEIVES THE SENSORY or PAIN INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR BRAIN, HEAD, NECK and/or FACE CAN CAUSE HEADACHES.

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And now, here is the real important part:

ALL OF THESE NERVES (PLUS THE CENTRAL PROCESSING AREA) ARE LOCATED IN THE AREA OF YOUR UPPER NECK: NAMELY the C1, C2 and C3 VERTEBRAE.

“I already tried physiotherapy, chiropractic and massage, but it didn’t help my headaches.”

Can general physiotherapy, chiropractic and massage help people with headaches? If the problem is mechanical, due to bone alignment or muscle problems in the upper neck, absolutely!

But what if things don’t help? Then what? Does it mean that these therapies don’t work and that you should give them up? Not necessarily!

It is why in medicine there are GPs and then there are different levels of specialisation. 

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It is not dissimilar in chiropractic, massage or physiotherapy.

So on this note, I want to describe for you a special division of chiropractic known as upper cervical care.

Upper cervical care focuses on the alignment of the top bones in your neck because of the profound impact that their alignment has on the function of your central nerve system. If there is a misalignment present, even small, it can have a profound negative impact on the function of your brain and body, including headaches.

However, when the top bones in your neck are aligned, your body is better able to coordinate and function to keep you alive and well to the best of your innate ability.

“So that sounds nice, but how is that different from a normal chiropractor?”

One of the major differences that upper cervical chiropractic doctors do are the use of customised, 3D x-rays that look at the exact direction and degree of alignment of the bone in your upper neck. 

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In other words, we aren’t just going by feel to push thing back into place. We take the time to measure the details of your particular case in order to provide a customised adjustment to maximise the potential for a favourable outcome.

This level of detail is especially important if you experience headaches that have not resolved with normal treatment. The reason, we find, is often due to a specific type of forward misalignment of one of the bones in your neck (and usually the C1, C2 or C3).

If you have a vertebra that has misaligned forwards in your neck, it can cause swelling of the joint receptors in your neck, which in turn cause referred pain into your head: i.e., a headache. The usual hallmark for this type of headache is one that feels worse after you’ve been working all day in front of a computer,.

The other hallmark for this is when you do get relief from normal therapies, but when the headache relief doesn’t last for more than a couple of days at a time.

This is one of the reasons that the work that an upper cervical chiropractic doctor does requires special imaging: to answer that question, “Is there a problem in your neck that is related to your headaches? And if so, what is the direction and degree or treatment that will best help to resolve the issue?”

That is what makes upper cervical chiropractic different.

Where can I find an upper cervical chiropractor in Brisbane?

Atlas Health Australia is the premier upper cervical chiropractic centre in Brisbane. Not only is it the first Blair upper cervical chiropractic clinic, but it remains the only upper cervical chiropractic practice in Brisbane (and one of only 4 such practices in Queensland).

Our principal upper cervical chiropractic doctor is Dr Jeffrey Hannah, who is an Advanced Certified Blair upper cervical instructor, international lecturer, author and leader in the field of specific upper cervical chiropractic care. 

Our practice is located in North Lakes to provide care for people in need of upper cervical care across Brisbane. Not only do we provide care for the local communities of North Lakes, Narangba, Mango Hill, Burpengary, Redcliffe, Sandgate, but many of our regular clients travel from across Brisbane for regular care: Brisbane city, Kedron, Hamilton, Tenerife, Newstead, south Brisbane, Indooroopilly, Bardon and even as far away as the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba… we also have a group of clients who also travel from as far away as Goondiwindi!

Yes, that is a long way! However, as people with headaches understand, when you have a solution that is working for you and that gives you headache relief, it is worth it!

For the vast majority of our clients, fortunately, our office is less than 60 minutes from their front door. We wish it was closer, which is the reason we train other chiropractors in this work. Alas, we still don’t have any one else in Brisbane to provide upper cervical chiropractic  … yet.

Can upper cervical chiropractic help my headaches?

The truthful answer is, “I don’t know.”

There is no such thing as a magic bullet that solves all conditions for everyone. Headaches are no different. 

We are happy to report that the vast majority of people who attend our office for management of their headaches report significant relief under care. That said, we are always looking to improve (and will continue to do so until we have 100% success for everyone that we are able to help).

So the question remains, “Can we help you with your headaches?”

To answer this question, we’d like to invite you to have a conversation with us. At Atlas Health, we offer a 15-minute complementary (FREE) consultation with our principle doctor of chiropractic (Dr Jeffrey Hannah) where you can discuss the particulars or your condition, ask any question you may have, and get a sense if care would be right for you.

To schedule a consultation with Dr Hannah to have a chat, you can click the Contact Us link on this page, or you can call us at our North Lakes Chiropractic office at 07 3188 9329.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your headaches to the best of our ability.

Atlas Health Australia - A passion and purpose for helping people restore the quality of their lives!

 

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