Chiropractic, Neck Pain and Headaches

Neck pain and headaches are some of the most common conditions that are treated in the Chiropractic office. Recurrent cervical headaches are known to be related to several factors. First is postural. A forward head carriage which is accentuated by looking down and forward in such activities as office or school work is a major stress on the muscles and joints of the neck. Additionally, slouching shoulders are an aggrevating factor in neck pain and headaches. Trigger points in the muscles of the upper neck are also a major factor in recurring cervical headaches. Joint dysfunction or lack of motion in the joints of the neck are also a big factor in referral of pain into the head and face. Chiropractic care and myofascial release are known to be effective treatment for joint dysfunction of the neck as well as trigger points in the muscles of the upper neck.
Dr. Tom Etter is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. His practice serves Olathe, Lenexa and Overland Park. The focus is Chiropractic treatment of back pain, neck pain, sports injuries and running injuries.

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Headaches, Chiropractic and the neck

Some types of headaches are caused by the neck. These are often referred to as cervico-genic headaches. This type of headache is often responsive to Chiropractic treatment. Headaches that originated from the neck are also known as common migraines (or migraines without an auro). Several of the key features of cervico-genic headaches were stiffness of the joints of the neck, tender points or trigger points in the muscles of the back on the head/neck, and forward head position or rounded shoulders. Chiropractic care is effective in improving the range of motion of the neck and freeing stuck joints. Myofascial release techniques are a Chiropractic technique that is able to address the trigger points in the muscles of the neck. Trigger points in the muscles are often cited as an important factor in perpetuating headaches of all types.
Posture and forward head carriage is also an important factor in headaches. The forward head position is very stressfull on the muscles and joints of the neck. Proper office or work setup in helpful for correcting the condition as well as exercises such as the neck extension exercise, rowing motions and stretching the pectorals.

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Trigger points in the neck, headaches and Chiropractic

Neck pain and headaches are a common condition that causes people to seek Chiropractic care. Neck pain can often be referred to the back of the head and the area above the eyes. This type of headache is called a tension headache. One of the most common features of tension headaches is trigger points or tight and tender areas of the muscles of the neck. The most effective Chiropractic technique to treat trigger points in the neck is myofascial release. Acupuncture is also effective in treating painful muscles of the neck. Acupuncture combined with electronic stimulation of the trigger point can often break up the trigger point. Chiropractic adjustments can relieve pain in the joints of the neck which are also associated with pain referred into the head and face.

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Chiropractic and Headaches

Chiropractic care is often very effective in relieving headaches. In one study of 31 people suffering from “cervical migraine” headaches the effectiveness of Chiropractic care was demonstrated. The treatment in the study was Chiropractic manipulation of the neck and the study lasted 7 days. The findings were that 75% of subjects had complete relief from their headaches. Range of motion also increased significantly. Reports of dizziness also showed improvement.
Another study of Chiropractic and headaches involved a clinical trial of an antidepressant vs Chiropractic manipulation. The results post treatment showed the group treated with Chiropractic methods had significantly less headache activity at 6 weeks post treatment.

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Lower back pain and Chiropractic

Lower back pain is the most common condition that causes people to seek Chiropractic care. Lower back pain is a condition that often causes referred pain into the leg and back. The deeper the source of the pain in the body (such as the lumbar spine) the more likely the pain is felt as a deep ache that is hard to trace. Referral of back pain into the legs is common and is often of a dull achy nature. Usually pain referred from the lower back does not travel beyond the knee. This type of pain differs from the type of pain caused by disc herniation which can travel below the knee. Usually pain from disc conditions is known to produce an electric shock like sensation when triggered. Disc problems often irritate the nerve root and cause pain down the leg. Disc herniations may also cause pain in the back that does not go down the leg.
Pain that radiates down the leg is most often called sciatica.
Problems with the sacro-iliac joints may cause pain to radiate down the leg as well. Usually this type of back pain does not travel below the knee. Sacro-iliac back pain is frequently described as an achy type pain is a type of referred pain. Chiropractic adjustments are the preferred treatment of sacro-iliac joint problems.
Problems with the joints of the lower back may also radiate pain down the leg but usually above the knee.

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