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How Headaches MAY Be Deriving From Neck Problems

Many people I treat are referred to me with headaches. Some patients even describe their headaches to me as “migraines.” It has always been important for me NOT to assume that the patient’s headache is deriving from neck problems (also known as “cervicogenic headaches”), but the reality is that a LARGE percentage of people who have headaches are experiencing them because of poor positioning and function of their head and neck. If you know you have poor posture, or if you sit for long periods throughout the day, there is a very good chance your headaches can be treated in physical therapy by treating your neck dysfunction. The arteries that supply the brain with blood run up the sides of the neck and through a small space in the back of the neck, just under the back of the skull (suboccipital space). When someone is in perfect head and neck posture, the suboccipital space is maximized. However, when someone has poor posture, the spacing can be reduced by as much as 75%. This may cause compression on the arteries and give someone the feeling of migrane headaches. It may also lead to severe stiffening of the neck joints and muscles, and further progress to problems in the mid and low back regions. Through obtaining the patient’s history, daily habits, and a good functional examination, it can be determined if the patient’s headaches are deriving from neck dysfunction. Once this is done, proper treatment can occur to open up the suboccipital space and stabilize the head and spine to prevent or limit further pains and head aches. For more information on this topic, or if you think you fit the above description, call our office to set up an evaluation. ESPECIALLY if you’ve already tried medications that just don’t seem to be helping. p.s. The REASON your medications aren’t helping is because they’re not treating the CAUSE of your headaches (in the case of cervicogenic headaches).

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