If you have a headache, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten people suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. Most Headaches are what we call cervicogenic in nature, meaning that they are coming from the joints and muscles in both the shoulders and neck and are referring pain up to the head.
Muscles and the individual muscle fibers that make up a muscle are surrounded by something called connective tissue. This connective tissue allows for a smooth motion to occur between muscles and the muscle fibers when a person moves. This is why when we reach for something, our arm makes a smooth motion to the object we are reaching for and the motion isn’t jarred and rigid.
Through an injury, improper posture, using our muscles wrong etc, these layers of connective tissue start to bind to one another and develop into what we call an “adhesion”. When enough of these layers are bound together they form a “knot” in the muscle. When a knot starts to refer pain to other areas it is now referred to as what we call a “trigger point”.
Trigger points can form in any muscle in the body but are very common in the shoulders and neck. This is due to the sedentary lifestyle/workplace that many people are in today. When someone is in one position for a long period of time, especially sitting, their shoulders will start to round forward and their chin will begin to jut out a little bit. This is the perfect environment for trigger points to develop.
Trigger points from different muscles in the shoulders and neck refer pain to different areas of the head. For example, if you have a headache that feels like it is located above the eye and around the back of the ear/neck, you may have a trigger point in your upper trapezius muscle. Pain located behind the eye may be from a trigger point in your sub-occipital muscle (which is the muscle responsible for the chin jutting out).
Even though headaches can be extremely painful and debilitating, the treatment is relatively simple. If it’s a trigger point that is causing your headache, getting rid of the trigger point will get rid of the headache. At Back to Health Chiropractic & Acupuncture we are certified in many different muscle techniques and acupuncture treatments that are aimed at ridding the body of these trigger points.
Not all Headaches are caused by trigger points and may need an alternate mode of testing and treatment to help. Dr. Erik will first determine the cause of the headache and if it requires further action by another physician, will make the appropriate referral to get you the care that you need and deserve.
A.R.T., Graston Technique, Chiropractic and Acupuncture are all extremely effective in treating trigger points that are causing headaches.
Calling our office is the first step in moving towards a headache free lifestyle!