Blood tests, urine analysis, MRIs, CT scans and other medical examinations don’t typically diagnose the root cause of migraines or headaches. These tests reveal nothing that can be seen or understood by friends and family members. Migraine sufferers often experience additional problems or misunderstandings when not feeling well.
Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms with migraines, yet it is not typically listed among the usual symptoms such as light and noise sensitivity and nausea. Several studies show that many migraine sufferers experienced neck pain before the migraine begins as well as during the migraine.
Other symptoms typically reported are dizziness and vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and pain up the back of the head or across the shoulders.
Over 30% of the sensory information needed to balance the body comes from the joints and muscles of the head and neck. The Atlas, (C1), is the first cervical vertebrae of the spine and understanding the structures and the function of the upper cervical spine will lead to a better understanding of why neck and shoulder problems can lead to migraines. The following are 3 main functions of the upper spine:
- To protect the brainstem and the spinal cord. The brainstem extends into the Atlas or C1 vertebrae and connects to the spinal cord. The upper cervical bones protect the spinal cord and brainstem against injury and damage. C1 and C2 play a critical role in the brainstem function and communication throughout the rest of the body. Even a slight misalignment of the C1 and C2 vertebras can cause significant problems.
- The top vertebra supports the head and allows for movement. The head should sit level on the top bone of the spine, which is the most moveable vertebra allowing the head movement. The average head weights 10 to 14 pounds and is balanced on C1, a delicate 2 oz. bone. When C1 is misaligned, the weight of the head is distributed improperly causing interference in the nervous system, possible pain in the neck and back, tingling and numbness, and interference in range of motion.
- Cerebral Spinal Fluid and Blood Flow. New MRIs show misalignments to the upper spine causes interference to CSF and blood flow to and from the brain and spine. The cervical vertebrae contain openings called vertebral foramen. This provides passageways for the vertebral arteries that provide the brain’s blood and oxygen supply.
To learn if your headaches or migraines could be caused by misalignment of the cervical spine, call 480-325-6977 to schedule a free consultation. The Doctors at Foresight Chiropractic, the Valley’s premier Wellness Center, are Board Certified Atlas Orthogonal upper cervical specialist. They have been providing very precise and gentle adjustments for over 18 years. There is hope, call today!