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Headaches are the third most common reason people seek chiropractic care. This is because the top three segments in your spine (C1-C3) are the nerve supply to muscles, joints and connective tissue in your neck as well as branches supplying the vertex of the skull and occiput (at the base of your head). There are many trigger points in these muscles supplied by C1-3, which can refer into your head from the temporal region, in a heat band distribution, to the vertex of your head and right around to the base.

How do these areas become so tight?

There are a number of things which can cause a headache and they include:

  • Over use of your muscles
  • Muscle injury (such as whiplash)
  • Stress
  • Poor posture (particularly common in those who sit at a desk most of the day)
  • Anxiety
  • Food triggers
  • Dehydration
  • Grinding your teeth

How is a headache treated by the Chiropractor?

Dr Paije uses a variety of techniques which include soft tissue therapy to the tight muscles in the upper cervical region of your neck, mobilisation of the joints and a specific chiropractic adjustment to an area in your neck which may be irritated. This adjustment can be a gentle low-force non-manipulative adjustment if you prefer. She can also give you advice on possible triggering factors for you and help you improve your work station, give postural advice and exercises to help combat this common problem.

Two randomized controlled trials dating back to 1995 showed both chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue treatment were effective in reducing cervicogenic headaches (headaches originating in the neck) in both severity and frequency. Another study in 2001 found that the chiropractic adjustment lead to an almost immediate improvement in symptoms for those suffering from a headache originating in the neck.

What things can you do to help the situation?

  • Take a break – if you sit for long periods of time throughout the day, take a break every 30 minutes
  • Exercise
  • If you are prone to stress you may be grinding or clenching your teeth and you may need to have your jaw looked at
  • Drink 2L of water every day
  • Have your spine checked by a Chiropractor