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Understanding Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headaches

Are you suffering from chronic nonprogressive daily headaches? Or are you the parent of a child or teenager suffering nonprogressive daily headaches? How are they affecting the quality of your life? Your work? Your school? Your social life? Your relationships?

How frustrating has it been looking for answers but not finding them? How many doctors and specialists have you seen? Each with a different diagnosis? And how much time and money have you spent without any relief? 

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You can always take more and stronger mediation … but if the medication isn’t really working anyway, wouldn’t you prefer to find the cause of your headaches in the first place? Even if you think you’ve already tried everything, there may be a natural approach that probably has not tried that could be the key to finally experiencing relief from your chronic nonprogressive daily headaches?

Let me explain the role of your upper neck in chronic nonprogressive daily headaches, and how a unique form of healthcare - different from massage, different from physiotherapy and different from general chiropractic - may be able to help you.

 

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Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headache Symptoms

Chronic nonprogressive daily headaches are the official medical diagnoses but is really more of a term that only defines the nature of the problem. The official diagnosis is made by default when a sufferer experiences tension-style headaches (as opposed to migraines which involve a degree of nausea and other neurological disturbances) for 15+ days in a given month. 

The strange thing about nonprogressive daily headaches is that it is usually children, adolescents, or young adults who experience them. That said, the entire nature of “diagnosing for a named condition” is subject to a myriad of flaws and offers little value (in my opinion) in getting to the root of the problem in order to find an effective treatment solution.

According to the medical world, the cause of nonprogressive daily headaches is “unknown.” The common treatment strategies are therefore limited to medication simply to manage the symptoms.

It is often said that children will “grow out of them.” However, that is not always the case … and is even less consolation for the parents and kids who have to deal with the constant pain in the first place.

It may be that the key to truly understanding the cause and solution for nonprogressive daily headaches lies in what causes general tension headaches in the first place.

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Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headache Causes

It’s estimated that 80% of all headaches are cervicogenic. This means that the headache actually originates from some type of mechanical problem involving your neck or cervical spine.

All you have to do is open a basic anatomy textbook to trace the specific nerve that is involved with your headaches.

    Irritation of the C1 nerve can produce headaches like sinus pressure behind your eyes

    Irritation of the C2 nerve can produce headaches that travel up the back of your head, or like a headband (the so-called “tension headache” as in NPDH)

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    Irritation of the C3 nerve can produce headaches that are right at the base of your skull (aka occipital neuralgia)

    Irritation of the C4 nerve can produce headaches that radiate up the side of your neck and into your jaw.

There are also two additional nerves that may be especially important with chronic nonprogressive daily headaches. Irritation of the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve #5) can produce pain in the eyes, jaw, face, and temples.

It is often affected by misalignments of the C2 vertebra (aka axis) or the jaw (temporomandibular joint, or TMJ). And finally, the vagus nerve (cranial nerve #10) can produce migraine pain inside the skull and can be strongly affected by misalignments of C1 (aka atlas).

Many researchers believe that the cause of infantile colic is actually due to migraine pain! This hypothesis is based on the strong association that a large percent of colicky children go on to suffer migraines or headaches later in life! The only difference is that as an infant, you can’t say, “Mum, Dad … my head hurts!”

 

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Personal Observations in the Neck and Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headaches

As a matter of personal observation, I will attest that I see significant abnormalities looking at the cervical x-rays of people diagnosed with chronic nonprogressive daily headaches.

Two of the more common features that jump out in my mind are 1) reversal of the normal lordosis curve in the neck (where the neck becomes too straight) and/or 2) early signs of osteoarthritis in the facet joints of the neck even in young adults < 30 years old. Both these conditions suggest that the nerve receptors in the neck are under undue stress, which may account for the pain and other symptoms these people experience.

The kicker is that these curve changes are seldom reported on x-ray reports. And arthritis is attributed to being “just arthritis.” I even once had a GP tell his patient that because they had arthritis in their neck, “it was the cause of their pain and that they couldn’t do anything about it.” 

True, you can’t undo arthritis once the rust has set in … but if you can assist to improve the movement and alignment through those joints in the neck, even with lots of arthritis, it may still be possible to provide relief from the constant pain of headaches.

And the reason I know that is because I also see plenty of people who have tons of arthritis in their necks but who suffer no headaches at all! In other words, there must be something else going on!

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Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headaches in Children

Even if you have never broken or dislocated the bones in your neck, if you have ever suffered an injury that has caused them to misalign - even by a few millimeters - in such a way that your body can’t pull the vertebra back into normal alignment on its own, it can stay locked out of place.

Then, like the unpaid compound interest of 1% that adds up over months, years, or even decades, the small problem creates big problems with the structure and motion of your neck.

These types of injuries are not limited to adults either! Consider the many potential injuries that affect children: falling down learning to walk, tripping headfirst learning to run, and so forth. Even birthing injury - especially in the cases of prolonged labor, caesarian, breech presentation, or forceps delivery - there is a major strain that can affect a child’s neck from the moment they are born!

Consider the possibility of nonprogressive daily headaches in a 10-year-old. Even though the child is still young, if the headaches were sparked from a birthing injury, it means that the problem has been there for 10 years! 

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Suddenly, these headaches have a completely different perspective!

Bear in mind also just how flexible infants and children are compared to their adult counterparts. Ligaments and even bones are much more pliable when we are younger … but also more susceptible to injury. Even relatively minor things - the kind of things that we shrug off as just being a hard bump or bruise - may be enough to create the problem that will become bigger as the years go on. 

 

Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headache Diagnosis

One of the great challenges in “diagnosing” nonprogressive daily headaches (again, that’s more of a description than a genuine identification of cause) is that there is no solitary test. MRIs are often clear or pathology, and neck scan reports often come back as “normal.” 

However, as I mentioned previously, it is very common for people to actually have significant changes present on their x-rays that are not reported, which ultimately can delay finding a form of treatment that may be able to help.

So if there is a problem involving the neck, head, or jaw, what kinds of tests can you do that will help identify if that is related to your nonprogressive daily headaches? Here is where Blair upper cervical care may be able to help you.

 

Can Upper Cervical Care Help your Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headaches?

Blair upper cervical care is a unique method of chiropractic that was developed in the USA. Upper cervical care refers to specific treatment for the top vertebrae in the neck - the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) - which can a powerful impact on the nerves that supply the head, face, and jaw.

Many people see the word “chiropractor” and think to yourself that you’ve already tried it for your nonprogressive daily headaches, but that it didn’t work. However, let me emphasize please that Blair upper cervical care takes a different, customized approach to solving the problem.

If you’ve not heard of upper cervical care before, I’m not surprised. There are only a dozen or so practitioners actively using any form of upper cervical care in Australia. And at the time of writing this article, we are still the only advanced certified Blair upper cervical practice in the entire country.

Unlike general spinal manipulation commonly used in Australia, Blair upper cervical care is a precise and personalized approach that focuses on the degree of misalignment by considering things not done elsewhere in any other chiropractic or medical office. 

The procedure first involves a detailed analysis of your health condition including custom-tailored digital x-rays that allow us to see things in your neck that are not visible on standard x-rays or even MRIs.

This information is extremely important because we often find misalignments that are stuck the exact opposite way that most other practitioners including chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists do! If so, we are able to make a specific correction to your alignment using the amount of pressure that you need to feel your pulse. 

The procedure is done without any twisting or cracking. But as light, as it is, people are surprised at how powerful a Blair upper cervical adjustment is in helping to reduce the symptoms of nonprogressive daily headaches.

 

Have you Tried Upper Cervical Care to Help your Chronic Nonprogressive Daily Headaches?

Even in young children, nonprogressive daily headaches are often long-standing problems. As much as I’d love the ability to snap my fingers to help solve the pain or problems if the underlying issues have been around for a number of years - or even since birth - it often takes time to see improvements.

Second, Blair upper cervical care isn’t necessarily a direct treatment for the pain of nonprogressive daily headaches. It is a method to help align and restore the motion through the joints of the neck so that your body will have the opportunity to heal naturally with the resolution of headaches occurring as a byproduct of that improved function.

For all the challenges and frustrations dealing with chronic nonprogressive daily headaches, remember that at the core the problem is one that is affecting the nerves of your head and neck. So even if you’ve tried general chiropractic and been to headache and migraine specialists, if you have not tried a Blair upper cervical care, it might be the very thing that you actually need to help your headaches.

If you or a loved one is looking for a natural solution for nonprogressive daily headaches, please feel free to contact our practice in North Lakes at 07 3188 9329 to speak with one of our doctors. Or if you are outside of the Brisbane area, still feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to help find you a qualified doctor in your area.

 

References

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Calhoun AH, Ford S, Millen C, et al. The prevalence of neck pain in migraine. Headache. 2010 Sep;50(8): 1273-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2009.01608.x. Epub 2010 Jan 18. 

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Enix DE, Scali F, Pontell ME. The cervical myodural bridge, a review of literature and clinical implications. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2014 Jun;58(2):184-92. 

Gaul C, Meßlinger K, Holle-Lee D, Neeb L. . . Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2017 Mar;142(6):402-408. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-111694. Epub 2017 Mar 22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28329901

Lewis DW. Headaches in children and adolescents. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Feb 15;65(4):625-32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11871680

Millstine D, Chen CY, Bauer B. Complementary and integrative medicine in the management of headache. BMJ. 2017 May 16;357:j1805. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j1805. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28512119

Rothner AD, Linder SL, Wasiewski WW, O'Neill KM. Chronic nonprogressive headaches in children and adolescents. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Mar;8(1):34-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11332864 

Viana M, Sances G, Terrazzino S, et al. When cervical pain is actually migraine: an observational study in 207 patients. Cephalalgia. First Published December 7, 2016: https://doi.org/10.1177/0333102416683917.

Yan J, Melemedjian OK, Price TJ, Dussor G. Sensitization of dural afferents underlies migraine-related behavior following meningeal application of interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Mol Pain. 2012 Jan 24;8:6. doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-8-6. 

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