The cause of headaches are often multifactorial and determining one cause is not always the right or only answer. At ACS we work for you to determine the true causes of headaches and while chiropractic can be one of the solutions to headaches, there may be more going on in the body that is also contributing to the cause of headaches.
Let’s start with the anatomy of the upper neck and its relationship with the head. The very first vertebra of the spine is C1, otherwise known as the atlas. The C1 is the only vertebra in the shape of a ring, which allows it to move in many directions. It can be misaligned by moving laterally (side to side), rotating, moving anterior to posterior and superior to inferior. It is the only vertebra that has four different motions. This can also cause issues because often it needs to be corrected with a very specific directional correction. The second vertebra, C2, is otherwise known as the axis. The C2 vertebra is also different from the rest of the vertebra because one part extends upward into the open ring of the C1 vertebra. This area is important because about 50% of the rotation of your head and neck occurs at this articulation. In addition, the atlas and the base of the skull, which is called the occiput, provides 50% of your neck’s flexion and extension. These three bones: occiput, C1 and C2, are often involved when someone has a headache. If your headaches are determined to be caused from subluxations of the upper cervical spine, then chiropractic adjustments can definitely help. From our experience, adding physical therapy and trigger point injections into your treatment plan helps with headache symptoms dramatically.
Other causes of headaches can be more internally derived. For females, hormones throughout their cycle can affect headaches. Keeping a headache journal can help determine if that happens around the menstrual cycle and is cyclic in nature. Continuing to examine what causes headaches, food allergies may also be a factor. Gluten and dairy have been found to be contributing factors if allergy is unknown or unaddressed. Lastly, inquiring about the last eye exam or if a patient has jaw problems can both be an additional cause of headaches. There are other complexities that contribute to headaches, but these are the most dominant.
Chiropractic care is often beneficial in the treatment of headaches and its symptoms. However, as a provider, who has treated headaches on many patients, the cause is often not singular; therefore it requires a multifaceted approach involving many treatment methods – chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, modalities and injections.. These approaches to alleviating your headaches are all available at our clinic in Racine, WI. If you have any questions about what we offer or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call or click the schedule an appointment listed at the bottom of this blog!
Dr. Susan Reinke, DC