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Chiropractors have maintained since early in its existence that a properly applied adjustment to the cervical spine can alleviate the symptoms of a headache. For many years the medical profession maintained that headaches are caused by a constellation of reasons within the brain and since the brain is not capable of producing pain, chiropractic adjustments could not affect the symptoms of a headache. While the medical community is correct about the brain not being capable of producing pain, the outer covering of the brain, or dura mater, is capable of being pain productive. In 1998, a University of Maryland dental researcher settled this debate. While searching for muscles that move the jaw, Gary Hack made a crucial discovery in the understanding of headaches and the mechanism behind the tension headache. Dr. Hack found what he termed a "tissue bridge" between the rectus capitus minor muscle located at the base of the skull and the dura mater at the lowest portion of the brain. He postulated that this connection proved the connection between headaches and muscle tension. In short, muscles can tighten virtually anywhere in the body and through the body's fascia (tissue that connects muscles) system can cause a headache. Shoulder muscles tense, pull on neck muscles, which cause the rectus capitus to tighten, which in turn tugs on the tissue bridge, then stretches the dura mater and presto! A headache results.
Chiropractic addresses this mechanism with gentle adjustments to the bones of the neck and upper back. The goal is to cause the muscles to assume a normal position and state, easing tension, and thus bypassing the mechanism that causes the headache. It is estimated that 70% of people in the United States will suffer from headaches and that 90% of those are related to this muscle tension/dura mater mechanism. Traditional medicine treats headaches with chemical solutions such as pain killers or medicines that affect blood vessel constriction/dilation. While effective in symptom control is some cases, one can see that long term solution is unlikely given the mechanical nature of the complex. Chiropractors offer a mechanical solution to a mechanical problem.
If you are suffering from headaches, consult with a chiropractor to determine if you may be suffering from this complex. The doctor is an expert in spinal biomechanics and will be able to tell you the causative nature of your headache, whether they be organic in nature, due to eye strain, result of allergy, or any factor that comprises the 10% of headaches that are not attributable to this tension model. There can be an answer to your headaches, and Chiropractic can provide it!