Category: Neck Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 4, 2017
Since our body is a complex system of nerves, muscles and soft tissues, sometimes an issue in one area of our body is actually caused by a problem in another area. These issues are obviously difficult to treat, because patients and doctors usually focus on the area of pain instead of the root cause.
Your spine is the most common source of injury that results in pain in another part of your body. For example, a pinched nerve in your spine can lead to leg weakness or shooting pain in your arm, while spinal subluxations can lead to frequent headaches. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the second problem we just mentioned. Below, we explain why your headaches may be caused by an issue in your spine.
Tension Headaches and Your Spine
Tension headaches are of the most common types of headaches the average person will suffer, and statistics say these are the types of headaches 75 percent of headache sufferers deal with on a regular basis. Tension headaches are described as a dull ache around one or both of your eyes, and they build gradually and can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of days. They can develop for a number of different reasons, but oftentimes your neck or back is the culprit.
The reason for this is because tension headaches are typically caused by subluxations in the upper back and neck. Subluxation is defined as an area of joint fixation in the spine, and it results in the loss of normal range of motion. When our top cervical vertebrae lose their normal range of motion, a small muscle known as the rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPM) muscle starts to spasm. This muscle has a tendon that runs between the upper neck and the base of the skull that attaches to a small pain-sensitive tissue called the dura mater, which covers the brain. The dura mater is extremely pain sensitive, so when the RCPM muscle spasms, the tendon tugs at the dura mater, causing a headache.
Preventing Tension Headaches
Preventing tension headaches involves keeping a healthy range of motion in your joints in the spine. The best way to do this is by staying active and getting regular exercise. Individuals who live a more sedentary life or who work desk jobs are more likely to develop tension headaches because their posture contributes to a decreased range of motion. If you work in an office setting, make sure you are practicing proper posture techniques and getting regular exercise outside of the office.
If you’re experiencing tension headaches and exercise and posture care doesn’t seem to be solving the problem, talk with a spinal specialist about your options. Sometimes the problem is caused by a different issue, and you spine care expert can help reveal the underlying cause and find a solution for you. Talk to Dr. Sinicropi for more information.