Headaches are difficult to diagnose. There are plenty of potential causes of headaches and a thorough history and examination must be performed to increase the odds of an accurate diagnosis. Even with the background information and evaluation often times we are still relying on probability rather than certainty-headaches are among the toughest conditions to accurately diagnose. The more inaccurate the diagnosis, the less likely the treatment method(s) selected will be effective.

If you have tried the traditional approaches why do you keep experiencing headaches?

The common approach to relieving headaches is to take medication. Anti-inflammatories may be used in hopes that reducing inflammation will reduce symptoms. Muscle relaxers are sometimes used hoping that reducing muscle tension will lessen the pain. Sometimes narcotic pain relievers will be prescribed in an attempt to disguise symptoms. And sometimes a “shotgun approach” of all 3 will be prescribed-likely because the physician has no clue what the pain generator is.

The primary reason that medications may not provide resolution is that they do not address any underlying problems with the tissues in the neck (muscles, nerves, joints, ligaments, fascia), posture, work space, stress or environmental triggers (sugar, msg, caffeine, allergens, etc) that may be involved. If these underlying issues are not addressed you will be caught in a pain-medication-pain cycle. The end result is often temporary relief and dependence on medication. Then you are at risk of the potential side effects associated with those medications.

Unfortunately, adhesion formation, scar tissue, trigger points, muscle tightness, nerve entrapment and abnormal joint function aren’t even considered in most cases. Research has shown that up to 78% of headaches are cervicogenic. The term cervicogenic simply refers to the cervical spine (neck).

How are cervicogenic headaches treated?

Following a thorough history and examination we are often able to identify the pain generator. Once the pain generator has been identified the appropriate headache treatment method(s) may be selected. An overwhelming majority of cases we see respond very well to Active Release Techniques (ART). ART is a movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Most headache cases are a result of sustained tension to the neck musculature (poor posture). Poor posture can cause your body to produce dense scar tissue in the neck muscles. This scar tissue can bind tissues, limit movement, decrease circulation and cause trigger point formation. Any or all of these may be the root cause of your headache.

To determine if your headaches may be cervicogenic in nature, please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation by clicking below.