If you are living with chronic neck pain, there is also a good chance that you are experiencing headaches or even migraines, as well. What is the link between neck pain and headaches? What contributes to the onset of these symptoms? Is there any way to find natural help for your neck pain? We are going to answer these questions in today’s article and help you to find the natural relief that you need!
A Clear Link Between Neck Pain and Migraines
An Italian study revealed that there is a definite link between neck pain and migraines. In fact, the study showed that most patients thought they were dealing with neck pain and having headaches as a result, whereas they were actually having neck pain along with their migraine attacks.
Of course, this does not mean that neck pain is necessarily just a symptom. It could be hinting at an underlying cause of many headaches and migraines. For example, upper cervical misalignment can create the circumstances in the central nervous system for headaches to occur. At the same time, these misalignments can be at the heart of your neck pain. Let’s take a closer look at the effects of misalignments in the top two bones of the neck.
What Contributes to Neck Pain and Headaches?
By considering the circumstances created by upper cervical misalignments, it becomes clear why such a subluxation might result in neck pain and headaches. Here are three of the primary functions of the upper cervical spine that are inhibited by a misalignment.
#1 Brainstem Function
The C1 vertebra, or atlas, surrounds and protects the brainstem as it meets the spinal cord. However, even the slightest of misalignments may put pressure on the brainstem and affect the function of this vital CNS component. This is one of the issues that may connect neck pain and various headache types.
#2 Proper Flow of Vital Fluids
The upper cervical spine plays a pivotal role in the flow of two bodily fluids. First of all, when the top bones in the neck are out of alignment, this may restrict cerebrospinal fluid drainage. As a result, the fluid can pool and increase pressure in the skull.
On the other hand, the cervical spine also facilitates blood flow to the brain through tiny bone loops called the vertebral foramen. So misalignments can also reduce the amount of blood and oxygen reaching the brain. Again, this can be a connection between neck pain and migraines or headaches.
#3 Range of Motion and Balancing of the Skull
The top two bones in the neck balance the 12 pounds of the head. Even the slightest misalignment will result in changes in the surrounding soft tissue in order to keep the skull adequately balanced. These changes can put the neck in a stressed position and lead to discomfort.
It can also reduce range of motion. In fact, the C1 and C2 vertebrae are responsible for half of the range of motion of the head, both forward and back as well as side to side. Therefore, even minuscule misalignments can cause neck pain or stiffness in varying degrees and may lead to long-term degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae.
What Causes Neck Pain and Misalignments?
Neck pain and misalignments can occur in several ways. For example, acute neck pain is often the result of an injury. Any time you hit your head, it jams your neck down and can cause a misalignment. Or, you may experience a whiplash-type injury in which the head is rapidly thrown forward and back or side to side. A few ways such an injury may occur include:
- Car accidents
- Sports injuries
- Assaults (including domestic violence)
- Slip and fall accidents
At other times, misalignment can occur due to wear and tear. For example, sleeping with the neck in an abnormal position on a regular basis or using poor posture when sitting at a desk day after day for school or work may lock the neck in a stressed position. This, in turn, may lead to misalignments and all of the effects noted above.
If you are experiencing neck pain regularly, especially if you also have headaches or migraines, how can you find the natural help that you need? We would like to introduce you to upper cervical specific chiropractic.
Natural Neck Pain Benefits from Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
Now that you understand one of the primary causes of neck pain, it makes sense to see an upper cervical chiropractor. What can you expect?
First of all, upper cervical chiropractic involves precise adjustments, so the practitioner will need to take x-rays and perform computations to personalize a correction for you. You can also expect the adjustments to be extremely gentle. There is no rough popping or twisting of the neck. Gentle pressure is used to provide a low force adjustment.
Finally, you can expect to experience some immediate benefits as well as those that improve over time as the soft tissue of the neck stabilizes. Resting the neck and using ice can help your body to adjust to the initial corrections. However, over time, the adjustments should hold better and better on their own.
If you want natural relief from neck pain that with no significant side effects, then upper cervical chiropractic may be just the thing for you. Contact a practice in your area today and schedule a consultation to learn more.