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Head

Headaches

There are many different types of headaches.  The following are two of the most common types of headaches, cervicogenic and tension:

  • Cervicogenic headaches typically occur when one or more joints, muscles, ligaments or nerves of the top 3 vertebra of the neck are dysfunctional.  During certain neck movements or sustained postures, stretching or compression force is placed on those tissues.  If the forces are beyond what the tissues can withstand, this may cause damage to these structures.  The damage can occur traumatically, due to a specific incident, or develop gradually over time.  When this occurs pain may be referred to the head causing a headache.
  • Tension headaches (or stress headaches) are described as a mild to moderate, constant, band-like pain, tightness or pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck.  Tension headaches can be caused by muscle tightness in the neck and scalp as a result of poor posture, stress, anxiety, fatigue or overexertion.  However, the cause is not always muscular in nature and may be triggered by environmental or internal stressors.

Migraines


Migraines can cause intense throbbing or pulsing on one, or both, sides of the head and are commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours or days and be so severe that you cannot engage in normal daily activities.  They can be triggered by certain activities, foods, smells, emotions, stress, fatigue, sleep changes, eye strain, light conditions, and use of certain medications.

Conservative treatment can help to reduce muscle tension in the upper back and neck, positively influence neurological function, and help to identify certain triggers that can be avoided through lifestyle changes.  In fact, chiropractic studies have shown that subjects who received chiropractic treatment experienced significant improvements in migraine frequency, duration, disability and medication use compared to the control group. Twenty-two percent of the participants reported more than 90 percent reduction of migraines. 

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction


Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, commonly called TMJ, affects the joint between the mandible and the skull.  It is characterized by pain in the jaw joint and surrounding tissues and limitation in jaw movements.

The temporomandibular joints, located on either side of the head, are used every time we chew, talk or yawn and involve the neuromuscular systems of the TMJ, head and neck.  In healthy joints, the ends of the bones are covered with smooth cartilage and are separated by small shock-absorbing discs, which allow the bones to glide easily when the lower jaw is moved.  Dysfunction can cause pain in the jaw or face, popping or clicking during chewing, limitation of jaw movement, or headaches.   TMJ can develop from wear and tear of the cartilage, arthritis, injuries, dislocations, structural problems in the joint, dental problems or infections.