HEADS-UP Decatur : Understanding your Headaches

One of the most common complaints of the individuals that present into a chiropractor’s office is, without a doubt, headaches.

Though the causative nature of headaches may vary, from toxicity (food, alcohol, medication) to numerous stressors (postural, emotional, etc.), there are TWO consistent factors seen in ALL headaches.

#1 Headaches SUCK! Literally. Whether sporadic or chronic, a headache will rob you of fully experiencing your environment. It can “suck” the life out of our relationships and interactions. It can “suck” your drive and energy, diminishing your performance at work or at the gym. Wherever and however your headaches are affecting you, I think we all can agree, they just plain suck!

#2 Your headaches are a sign of dis-ease! But before you start freaking out, let me assure you that my spelling of “dis-ease” was not a typo. “Dis” is the root word meaning “an absence or lack” of something. “Ease”, at its root, means “balance, harmony, coordination”. So effectively, this means that your headaches are a sign of imbalance somewhere in your body. Possibly there is a muscular imbalance brought on by postural stress. Perhaps you’re experiencing vascular (blood supply) imbalance from toxicity. Or maybe, joint dysfunction is causing inflammation and leading to neurologic (nerve supply) imbalance. Whatever the cause of your headaches and however they are causing imbalance in your life, you want them GONE, and so do I.

The connection between the brain and the spinal cord is unique. Did you know that your spinal cord is made of the EXACT SAME tissue as your brain? Essentially, your spinal cord is a long EXTENSION of your brain. The base or bottom of the bony skull that houses that beautiful brain of yours is called the OCCIPUT and the first vertebrae of your bony spine is called ATLAS. Like your brain and cord, the connection between OCCIPUT and ATLAS is unique. Both segments are designed with large holes to allow the bulkiest portion of your spinal cord to pass through. However, unlike other bony segments in the spine, this uppermost joint space glides in ALL directions on what we call “condyles”. This allows you to rotate, bend, flex and extend your head in every direction imaginable. Such a large percentage of your total head movement occurs at this joint because of its unique design. However, dysfunction at this joint can lead to segmental misalignment. And even the slightest misalignment (we’re talking millimeters) can offset the open holes that our cord passes through, placing undue stress on your spinal connection to your brain.

Corrective adjustments aim to restore motion and segmental integrity to spinal joints where dysfunction occurs. Because of the uniqueness of the occiput-atlas joint and the direct relationship with the brain and cord, it is essential that this region be analyzed and corrected when necessary…especially in our headache patients.

Don’t let a headache suck any more of your life away. Discover if corrective chiropractic care can help you regain total body harmony and begin to rid you of those pesky headaches today.

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