For some, headaches are a part of monthly, weekly or daily life.
Headaches are often hard to describe and can often be debilitating which can significantly impact what your trying to achieve in day to day living.
There are many different reasons why we get headaches and the location of the pain or pressure varies from the forehead, eyes, temporals, back of the skull and top of the head.
As a multimodality holistic clinic, we are able to help with most headaches that stem from muscle referral or joint dysfunction.
Headaches may be classified as
- Tension– Presents as a dull, constant pain felt on both sides of the head with soreness to the neck and shoulders with a possible feeling of pressure behind the eyes.
- Cluster– Severe pain centred around one eye. May include drooping eyelid, watering eye and nasal congestion. Most frequently affects males. May be episodic or chronic.
- Sinus– Inflammation of the sinuses may decrease the ability for the mucus to drain, increasing pressure within the sinuses.
- Hypertension– Elevated blood pressure resulting in excess vascular pressure and possible brain swelling with the main pain at the back of the skull.
- Post-traumatic – A headache developing within seven days of the injury or after regaining consciousness. Resembles migraine either moderate to severe in intensity with pulsating pain.
- TMJ – either a tightening of the temporal, masseter or lateral pterygoid muscles or dysfunction within the joint itself. Soreness chewing, clicking of both or one side of the jaw, teeth, temporal or ear pain can be associated.
- Migraine – A one sided throbbing pain over the top and side of your head with pain through the face and eye. Normally presents a heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. Nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances common that can last 4-72 hours
- Cervicogenic. – Cervicogenic headaches are headaches which result from spinal problems in the neck, such as disc degeneration or prolapse, or facet joint arthritis.
Correcting your posture to limit headaches
Posture has a great deal to do with maintaining a well functioning skeletal system, desk workers are prone to the forward rounded shoulders, head forward posture and hunched thoracic spine.
Regarding poor posture and the very common head forward posture, weakness occurs within the deep cervical flexors longus colli and capitus located anteriorly of the neck along with tension of the more superficial cervical flexors sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles.
Musculoskeletal issues are a common cause of headaches and can be due to tension build up of the muscle fibres within the muscle itself, known as ‘trigger points’ which give off a referral pattern which stem from incorrect functioning muscles.
To enhance your body’s function, a good start would be to train proper scapular retraction activation and deep cervical flexors activation and strengthening to a level of good function and proper anatomical posture which there is simple exercises we are able to offer to help correct this dysfunction.
Regarding the skeletal system, nerve entrapment between joints particularly within the vertebra can cause several dysfunctions and pain which is where our chiropractic manipulation can greatly assist in proper motor function.
Vertebral artery and suboccipital nerve entrapments can lead to occipital neuralgia which is characterized by chronic pain in the lower neck.
This chronic issue can be helped by the release of neural entrapment caused by sub-occipital and occipital muscles.
Occipital neuralgia can cause intense pain that feels like a sharp, jabbing, electric shock in the back of the head and neck.
What to expect when being treated
A consultation will consist of assessing what the main factors are associated with the client’s headaches, where the main pain is and what contributing factors may be causing the issues.
Range of motion and functional testing will be part of the assessment to indicate any muscular disfunction, restrictions or neural entrapments that may be occurring.
A range of techniques can be used to benefit the musculoskeletal disfunctions using deep tissue massage, trigger pointing, Myofascial release, ART and dry needling which will be briefly explained below.
- Deep Tissue and Trigger Pointing – to desensitise/ deactivate trigger points, creating proper length, Range of Motion and reducing skeletal stiffness. This is great for releasing the upper fibres of the trapezius and sub-occipital muscles that may be referring through temporal and frontal lobe.
- Myofascial Release – which is the release of unresponsive and bunched connective tissue using a fascial drag technique. Great release for large and small muscles such as sternocleidomastoid and erector spina.
- Active Release Technique “ART” – which is the use of applying a stationary drag pressure to an individual muscle and following its specific activation with either passive or active motion.
- Dry Needling – for deactivating trigger points, calming muscles and strengthening the neuromuscular connection.