Few of the millions who get occasional headaches have it as bad as the migraine sufferer. Far from being a minor annoyance these headaches can ruin lives.
The migraine is a special type of headache —a vascular
headache (as opposed to the more common tension headache). A
migraine includes a collection of symptoms (a syndrome) that
appear before the headache pain itself hits. Examples are: spots,
lines or colored lights before the eyes, redness, swelling, tearing,
muscle contraction, hallucinations, irritability, depression,
numbness, constipation or diarrhea, and sometimes even a
feeling of well-being!
As the warning symptoms leave the headache itself hits. It
may range in severity from minor discomfort to immobilizing
agony and may last from minutes to days. A few of the most common expressions of it are:
Your Amazing Incredible Neck
Inside your neck are your neck bones (cervical
vertebrae), spinal and cranial nerves, spinal cord, blood
vessels, glands (including the thyroid and parathyroids), voice
box (larynx), esophagus, trachea, brain stem, and many muscles,
ligaments and other structures. With all that, it’s still
able to gracefully balance your head and turn, tilt and bend
without damaging its vital occupants.
That’s amazing because if your neck’s functions are
interrupted for even a few seconds you’d lose consciousness
and begin to die.
The Cervical Spine
Cervix is the Latin word for neck, meaning a
constricted area (the uterus and urinary bladders have a neck or
cervix too). Your seven small neck bones are called cervical
vertebrae, numbered C-1 to C-7.
Inside your cervical vertebrae lies your spinal cord, a
continuation of the brain down your neck and back. Protection of
the spinal cord is extremely important because an injury to it
can result in instant paralysis or death.
Your vertebrae are connected to each other by discs, ligaments
and tendons that help give the neck its shape (the cerviccurve).
Between the vertebrae are openings where nerves, blood vessels,
lymphatic vessels, fat and connective tissues are found.
With all of the neck’s complexity it should come as no
surprise that neck problems are common. They may develop suddenly
from a trauma such as a whiplash or fall, or slowly as a result
of spinal imbalance, vertebral subluxations, emotional stress or
bad posture. Damaged or irritated neck nerves can cause more than
neck pain. Pain in the face, shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and
fingers as well as reduced neck motion may also occur. Other neck
problems include headaches, vision difficulties, dizziness,
ringing in the ears, decreased attention span, learning and
memory impairments, nasal problems, tongue and throat
The most serious neck problems—such as fracture,
dislocation or severe tissue damage—can be fatal if not
given emergency medical care. Most other neck problems, however,
although not life-threatening, can impair your health if not corrected.
Pain in the neck can be caused by irritation, inflammation,
injury or infection. Pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, hand or
head most frequently results from irritation of cervical nerve
roots in the region of the intervertebral foramen, encroachment
of the vascular supply as it courses through the vertebral canal,
or invasion of the cord in the spinal canal.
The Role Of The Chiropractor
When the spinal bones are off center, the small openings
through which the nerves travel may become narrower causing
irritation to the cervical nerve roots10 and may also cause
pressure upon the spinal cord. Chiropractic spinal care counters
the effect of stress and unnatural wear and tear by relieving
your neck of the vertebral subluxation complex and restoring
proper movement to the spinal column.
Chiropractic & Neck Injury
Since most medical doctors and physical therapists are not
trained to locate and correct vertebral subluxations, an accident
victim will leave the emergency room with as many subluxations as
they had when they entered. Without chiropractic spinal care, a
neck injury might continue to cause silent damage for decades
before the problem is recognized; by that time it may be too late
for a complete recovery.
Get A Spinal Checkup
Everyone with a spine needs to have it checked periodically by
a chiropractor. Just as a periodic dental checkup is necessary to
keep your teeth healthy, so a chiropractic spinal checkup is
necessary to ensure a nervous system that is free from vertebral
subluxations permitting you to experience greater healing and
The migraine is different from tension headaches because
tension headaches usually involve the whole head, start suddenly
and only include nausea and vomiting if it becomes very severe.
Also, migraines affect more women than men, and usually begin
after puberty. The cause of migraines is not known.
- The pain most likely occurs on only one side of the head.
- Nausea and vomiting are usually associated with it.
- The throbbing eventually evolves into a dull steady pain.
Because other members of the family may also have headache
prublems, some researchers believe migraines may have a hereditary component. But there are many things you inherit from your
parents that have no genetic component which may be related to
headache formation: how you deal with stress, anger and tension
and how you hold your body (posture). Genes usually give us
tendencies, not the condition itself. No migraine gene is known.
The Cluster Headache
Cluster headache attacks seem to mostly affect men between 20 and
40. They come on abruptly, with intense throbbing pain arising high
in one nostril and spreading behind the eye on that side of the face.
The attacks tend to occur from once to several times daily in clusters
lasting weeks or even months. Without apparent reason the cluster
subsides as quickly as it began.
The Chiropractic Approach
Millions of headache sufferers are turning to the natural, drugless,
chiropractic approach to health. Chiropractors are the only healing
professionals who are trained to analyze and correct the vertebral
subluxation complex, a spinal distortion that damages the nerves.
It is a very common, often painless condition—that weakens the
body, causes fatigue, lowers vitality and sets the stage for sickness
Chiropractic is a method of removing spinal damage so your
body may work better and heal itself. Chiropractors don’t treat
headaches and yet millions of headache sufferers have benefited
from the safe, natural, drugless, chiropractic approach to health
care. By correcting your vertebral subluxation complex, your body,
with its magnificent natural healing ability, is better able to address
your overall needs.
The Chiropractic Checkup
Using his/her hands, X-ray and other instruments to analyze
your spine, the chiropractor will determine if you have any vertebral
subluxations in your body. Then, using special techniques, your
chiropractor will perform a chiropractic spinal adjustment to correct
the vertebral subluxation complex, removing the nerve pressure and
Please keep in mind that the purpose of the chiropractic spinal
adjustment is not to cure your headache but to remove the nerve
and spinal stress caused by the vertebral subluxation complex. This
permits your body to restore itself to a greater level of health and
wholeness —to better heal itself.
The Spine/Headache Relationship
It was once believed that the structures of the neck were not related to headaches, however that is no longer the case. Now
there is a special term for those headaches that originate in
the neck: the cervicogmic headache. As Dr. Howard Vernon
(D.C.) concluded in reviewing the literature on the spine!
headache relationship, The body of literature supporting a
[spinal] origin of headache...is substantial.
It appears that there are many pain-sensitive structures in
the neck the joints, discs and even ligaments that may be related to problems that whiplash and accident victims often report: headache, dizziness and other problems. In fact, a study
of 6,000 people who suffered from recurring headaches for two
to 25 years showed that spine injury was the most important
factor in the cause of the headache and should be suspected in
every nonspecfic case of headache
Can Chiropractic Help You?
Chiropractors have, for over a century, observed that after
chiropractic spinal care, children and adult migraine sufferers
report improvement or alleviation of their condition.