Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and Migraines are complicated.  In fact, every few years you see new types of headaches diagnosed and other types of headaches amalgamated (2 conditions thought to be different now considered the same).  There are literally dozens of subtypes of headaches.

While this may seem overwhelming, you only need to know 1 thing understand how to fix your headaches.

1. The Trigeminal (T) Nerve.  You don’t need to remember this name to understand the following

Trigeminal Nerve Headache Referral

Whether you have a migraine type headache or a cervicogenic headache (one from neck pain and tension), both show involvement of the T Nerve.

Most nerves in our body work like this;  they start in the (1) brain, travel along (2) the spine, end at (3) the part of you body it needs to communicate with (a muscle in your leg).  Your T Nerve does not work like this.  It is cranial nerve which means it goes from the brain directly to the structure that it controls.  A good example of a cranial nerve  is your optic nerve, which goes straight from the brain to the eye.  It would make no sense for this nerve to come out of the brain, travel down the spine, come back up the spine and back to your eye.   This distinction will make sense in just a moment!

So why is the Trigeminal Nerve so important???

Your T nerve is responsible for the superficial feeling in your face and head.  It also innervates your jaw and gums.  Therefore most headaches are experienced through sensation in the T Nerve.

Here is where it gets interesting.  For your T nerve to get to the jaw, even though it is a cranial nerve, it needs to take a detour down through the top of your neck.  It actually shares fibers with the upper neck nerves.

Trigeminal Nerve Headache Referral

This means that your Trigeminal Nerve actually appears at the very base of your skull, where people with headaches often feel tight.  When our neck posture deteriorates, this nerve gets compressed.  The pain is then referred to your head.  This is why it can be so painful, but there is nothing actually there.

Upper Cervical Extension

Poor Shoulder Posture

BAD POSTURE COMPRESSES THE TOP OF YOUR NECK, WHICH CAN CAUSE NECK PAIN AND HEADACHES VIA THE T NERVE PATHWAY

We use deep tissue massage therapy to release the tension through your whole neck, allowing your head to sit back on your shoulder.  It is vitally important to address the muscles at the front of the neck, which pull you into poor posture. .  This removes the compression at the top of your spine, getting rid of your headaches for good.

A comprehensive approach for chronic headaches will go further than this, looking at the position of the pelvis and how this is interacting with your neck alignment.

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