There are many types of headaches, but research has shown that Women suffer from headaches originating from the neck 4x more than Men. I am writing this blog post because I have seen this so often in my practice: Females, anywhere from early 20s to around menopause and slightly after, that suffer from headaches more than 3 times per month. Yes, many women report headaches patterned after their cycle, which can definitely be a factor, but often times that is not the only reason why the headaches are coming. The term cervicogenic headaches, meaning headaches that originate from the neck, are often found to be part of the issue. If your headache feels like it gives you pressure around or behind the eyes, in the forehead, or top of the scalp and base of the skull, it may be a cervicogenic headache.
This occurs when some combination of the following happens, the muscles in the upper neck called the suboccipital triangle become tight and irritated, which can compress on the suboccipital nerve which gives distribution to the pattern mentioned above. This can also cause the facet joints of the neck to become stiff and restricted, which only exacerbates these symptoms. The muscles in the top of the shoulders called the trapezius muscles, also attach all the way to the base of the neck. Often times these muscles are found to be very tight and sensitve as well, with a trigger point, or a band of very tight muscle causing referral of pain into the neck and headaches.
I have had many women as patients that have suffered from these headaches for quite some time, and many have even gone to other doctors/ or neurologists who only offer medication. But have you thought about chiropractic? As a chiropractor, my focus is to relax the muscles that can cause these headaches, and to make sure that the neck is moving properly. I use a combination of Active Release Technique, which is a specialized form of deep tissue massage to isolate the small muscles in the neck that cause this headache pattern, and often times will use gentle chiropractic adjustments to help ensure that the neck moves better.
Don't suffer from these headaches! If you are looking for a solution that does not require you to take Ibuprofen/ Migraine medication, then look to the safe and effective treatment that chiropractic has to offer. I will start with a thorough examination to determine if these headaches are caused by the neck, and if it does seem to be a chiropractic issue, we can discuss treatment and alternatives as well. My promise to you is that my primary goal is to help you feel better, if it is a chiropractic issue, great! If it does not seem to be a contributing factor we can discuss other possibilities and what treatment might be right for you. Don't hesitate to call and ask to speak with me, I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. Hope to help you soon!
Trevor Williams, D.C.
Staker Chirorpactic Center.