Did you know there are 150 diagnostic categories for headaches?
And within those 150 categories there are many sub-categories and variations so in total there are HUNDREDS of different types of headaches and migraines. So please take our word for it that generally headaches are much more complex than most people think.
That being said I am going to discuss only one category of headache today – the cervicogenic headache. In simple terms this is a headache that is caused by some sort of problem coming from the neck. Cervicogenic headaches are among the most common types of headache. In my experience it is THE most common.
Frequently a cervicogenic headache will have the following characteristics:
- Dull achey pain at the back of the head, just where the skull meets the top of your neck – this can occur on both sides or sometimes only one
- Pain can refer around the eyes, feeling “sinusy”
- Dull achey pain at the top of your head
- Headache worsened by a long day at work or computer
- Headache develops weeks or even months after a traffic accident
- Neck pain and stiffness usually accompany the headache
- Tender areas in the neck and upper shoulders
- You may hear grinding, clicking or popping sounds when turning your head
This list is certainly not exhaustive – as I said there are many variations! The thing about cervicogenic headaches is that in the majority of cases they are caused by lifestyle choices and postural changes, which basically means there is alot that you can do to help ease the symptoms.
Firstly you need to address your upper body posture. Most headache and neck pain victims have what we call an “upper cross syndrome” posture which looks like this:
Simply put this causes an increased pressure on the muscles joints and nerves located in the upper part of the neck which can send pain signals to the head and face. (For a much more scientific description please read the first paragraph of the abstract on this page here.) So even just the simple act of improving your upper body posture may relieve some of the headache symptoms. Here is a quick guide to creating a better upper body posture:
- Straighten up!
- Pull your shoulders back, and “tuck” your shoulder blades down
- Move your chin backwards slightly, almost as if to imitate having a double chin
- When you feel your body creeping back into the crouched forward posture – straighten up again! Or if sitting get up and move around for at least 30secs.
Headache sufferers may also find some temporary relief from performing an upper trapezius stretch, which you can learn how to do here.
There is evidence to suggest that upper cervical and upper thoracic adjustments (adjustments/manipulation at the top of the neck and back) can effectively reduce headache symptoms (see published research HERE)
Some people may find that simple postural adjustments will be enough to alleviate headache symptoms, but the majority of people will need some extra help. Chiropractors are experts in assessing if you have any nerve irritation that might contribute to your headaches. Our chiropractors have years of experience helping patients to manage headaches and migraines, and if you visit our website banchorychiropractic.co.uk you can read about Felicity’s first hand experience with headaches being alleviated with the help of chiropractic care.
To make an appointment please call 01330 824040 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org