Thursday, March 1, 2012

Health and Wellness

The Cause and Treatment of Headaches
By Dr. Jason Markijohn

Headaches are a pain! They are usually caused by joint restrictions in your cervical spine or short; stiff and painful muscles at the base of your skull, neck and or shoulders; nerve irritation in the cervical spine; or an impedance of blood flow to the brain.

Joint restrictions in your upper cervical spine can cause irritation in your facet joints, which in turn cause irritation to the meningeal nerve roots that connect to your spinal cord. When the nerve roots get irritated with inflammation the nerve sends a signal of pain letting you know something is wrong.

When the muscles at the base of your skull become short and stiff, they can actually compress the nerves that pass through, and next to, these muscles. When these nerves become compressed or irritated, the result is a headache. Muscles that connect from your neck and shoulders can also cause headaches, via putting stress on the joints in your upper cervical spine.

However, headaches can also be caused by certain rare diseases and high blood pressure. This is why it is extremely important to have the cause of headache properly and professional diagnosed. 

Tension Headaches
 When a person bends their head forward to read or type, the neck begins to straighten and the weight of the head must be countered by the pull of the muscles at the back of the neck. If the person does this all day, because they work at a computer for example, then the muscles never get a break. Knots, tightness or spasms of the muscles will increase and cause a neck ache. Because the muscles pull at the base of the head, the person may feel a tightness or pain around the head. These are the symptoms of what is called a tension type headache.

Treating Headaches
At Cherry Creek Spine & Sport Clinic we conduct a thorough history and examination to properly diagnose your specific type of headache and determine the exact cause. We evaluate the structural alignment of your bones. Muscles in your neck and shoulder region are evaluated to determine if they are causing pressure on your nerves. From there we will inform you exactly what is wrong and how we will fix it. If we have structural problems we will use gentle chiropractic adjustments to restore your normal function. If we find that your headache is caused by short, stiff and painful muscles, we will use Active Release Technique to fix these muscles. Typically, most headaches can be resolved by combining Chiropractic adjustments and Active Release Technique.

Dr. Jason Markijohn, DC at Cherry Creek Spine & Sport Clinic has extensive knowledge of the common spinal problems that cause headaches in addition to the more rare diseases which occasionally cause the same symptoms.

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