When You Should See A Doctor About a Headache

Most of us at one time or another has experienced a headache. Whether you may realize it or not, many headaches are caused by strained muscles in the neck and spine. This is called a cervicogenic headache or a CGH. The good news is that this category of headache can be easily treated by a chiropractor.

While the exact science behind a CGH is still not fully understood, two explanations have been backed by researchers. The first explanation is that the sensory nerves in the upper cervical region of the spine are irritated. This region is where communication between the fifth cranial nerve or the trigeminal nerve and its nucleus take place. When these nerves are irritated, it can result in pain that radiates to the front of the head.

The second explanation focuses on the irritation of the greater occipital nerve. This affects the connective tissue that connects the spinal cord covering called the dura as well as the muscles at the base of the skull.

Regardless of which explanation is correct, chiropractors are still able to treat CGH by combining differ spinal manipulation techniques. Other soft-tissue therapies have also been effective in treating headaches caused by irritation around the spine and its surrounding nerves. Such therapies include myofascial release, active release techniques of tight muscles, manual cervical traction, as well as posture correction.

While most headaches are caused by tight muscles and misaligned spines, other headaches can prove to be extremely dangerous. How can you tell the difference? If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately. Warning signs include very intense and sudden headaches, significant vision or audio problems, or neurological symptoms. Those could include difficulty balancing, dizziness, weakness, paralysis, difficulty speaking, confusion, nausea or vomiting. Unless you’ve confirmed otherwise with a doctor a headache combined with these symptoms is extremely dangerous. Often these symptoms follow some sort of head trauma and can even wake the patient up in the middle of the night.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. Otherwise, most headaches can be treated by doctors of chiropractic care who have been trained to treat and evaluate such headaches. Chiropractic care is usually the first recommendation for headaches because it is not only safe but also efficient in bringing relief to headaches. 

Josh Evans