Headache and migraine

Headache can be attributed to serious conditions, if you have a severe or new type of headache, have recently had a head trauma or accident, headache with vomiting, fever or associated with any neurological symptoms best to consult your doctor immediately.

Neck dysfunction plays a role to a greater or lesser extent in three of the most common headaches; tension-type headache, migraine, and cervicogenic headache. Jaw dysfunction also commonly causes headache.

Tension-type headache is described as a non-throbbing tight band around the head either felt across the forehead or at the base of the scull. Light or sound sensitivity is often experienced but no nausea or vomiting. Trigger points in neck muscles directly contribute, the generation of which is commonly the result of neck dysfunction, posture, forward head carriage and prolonged phone and computer use.

Migraine is a debilitating headache which is commonly genetic and caused by neurological instability, which is a breakdown in the capacity of the nervous system to filter and converge information. Aura and a range of neurological symptoms can be experienced such as numbness, pins and needles, slurred speech, nausea and light and sound sensitivity.  Migraine is commonly described as a cup that fills with triggers, when the cup is filled, the migraine is initiated. Known triggers include stress, neck dysfunction, ovarian hormones, irregular sleep, glare and florescent lights, oranges, cheese, cured meats, wine and sugar lows. There are two ways to address the cause of migraine, treatment to increase the neurological stability of the brain (raise the volume of the cup) and eliminate the triggers for that individual. Commonly neck dysfunction is a major factor in triggering migraine.

Cervicogenic headache is caused by the aggravation of upper neck joints and is generally one sided. It can cause a variety of symptoms similar to migraine such as nausea, dizziness, tinnitus and confusion. Commonly caused by a traumatic event or a prolonged aggravating activity, the primary cause of cervicogenic headache is neck dysfunction.

The jaw is intimately wired into the neck and head structures. Jaw dysfunction and grinding can wind up tension in the neck and head causing headache and other symptoms such as dizziness, hearing loss, tinnitus and neck pain.

Important in the treatment of all these types of headache is improving neck function/movement, posture and movement patterns. Other interventions specific to each condition may be improving muscle and fascia length and tension, improving jaw function, supplementation, improving neurological stability via eye exercises, brain based activation exercises and managing sleeping habits and computer use ergonomics.