Newcastle chiropractor: are your headaches caused by neck pain?
Nearly all of us will experience a headache at some point in our lifetime. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 15 percent of the population are taking medication for headaches. Headaches can be very frustrating and impose a significant burden on quality of life.
In my experience many headache suffers haven’t explored the possibility of their symptoms being caused by problems with their neck joints. Research has shown that about 20 percent of headaches are cervicogenic, or neck-related. This type of headache will likely be responsive to improved neck movement.
Traumatic events like whiplash from a car accident or repetitive, prolonged activities create microtrauma and damage to the neck joints. This damage will lead to inflammation and irritation of the surrounding nerve structures. Sitting for long periods, slouching, poor posture, working at a computer, using a hand-held device, sleeping on your tummy are all activities which may affect the correct function of your upper neck joints.
What is frustrating for people to understand is that they haven’t “done anything” to injure these joints. Most people are of the belief that a major traumatic injury is required to damage these joints, unfortunately this is not the case. The tissues around the spine have a natural elastic stretch called creep. The tissues are at their maximum length after 20 minutes in the one position, beyond this you are tearing tissue and creating damage. When you consider your day, it’s likely you can identify plenty of opportunities for your joints to be affected. Do you get out of bed in the morning, sit at the table for breakfast, sit for your commute to work, then sit at your desk for a large portion of the day and then wind up on the couch to watch your favourite tv program?
As a chiropractor our focus is on the correct function of the spine and nervous system. The health of your spine will have a large impact on the quality of life experienced by the individual. Improving spine alignment and joint function will help lighten the load on your nervous system which supports the body’s ability to heal itself naturally. If you suffer from headaches and want to ask any specific questions, we are happy to share our knowledge and expertise, just drop us a line.