No one likes headaches. I don't like headaches. I'm sure there's no one in Peoria who, if given the choice, would ask for a headache. Once you've got one, it's hard to concentrate on anything else... that pounding in your head, that pressure behind your eyes... your eyelids go heavy and your productivity drops. Ugh!
If you could prevent these headaches from ever occurring, would you?
(That's a rhetorical question.)
What is a headache? It's the symptomatic expression of something gone wrong. Pinning down exactly what's the matter is quite tricky, and usually requires examination by a health professional. There are many different types of headaches, based upon the causative factors. The four main categories are migraine headaches, tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and cluster headaches. Headaches may be the sign of a serious underlying condition, as well, such as a stroke.
However, in a great many cases, the "pain" of a headache doesn't come from the head at all. It comes from tense muscles or subluxations in the neck (cervicogenic headaches). When these muscles become tight or overused, they send pain signals to your brain. Your brain alerts you to the pain, and attempts to assign those pain signals to an area of the body near the muscles (since muscles don't actually "feel" pain). Unfortunately, in many instances, the part of the skin that the brain chooses to express the feeling of pain is in a different area of the body, usually in the head. Although you feel the pain in the head, the problem is actually in the neck muscles.
This type of "referral" or "radiating" pain can be easily understood with an example of a heart attack. The classic symptom of a heart attack involves severe left arm pain. There's nothing actually wrong with the arm, because the problem is in the heart. But the brain cannot assign the pain feelings to an internal organ or muscle, so the sensation of that pain is perceived nearby, in the arm.
So, with cervicogenic headaches, the question is how to keep those neck muscles relaxed. Stay tuned.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, S.C., proudly located in Peoria, IL.