Headaches are a recurrent malady suffered by millions of Americans, causing pain and discomfort in the head, forehead, scalp, or neck. At times they are a mild nuisance. But headaches can become severe, even disabling, with the pain leading to difficulty at work, concentration, and performance of daily activities.
Headaches have different sources, and the causative factors require some investigation. Hormones might be the culprit. Women may experience headaches during the menstrual cycle due to shifts in hormone levels. And when this is the case, there may be a need to balance the hormones, because the woman could have too much estrogen and not enough progesterone.
Headache pain can often be corrected with diet. Food allergies or sensitivities can trigger headaches. And eating too many carbohydrates or not enough protein, for example, can alter blood chemistry. And that can prompt a headache or foster problems with the hormonal system, which can again lead to headaches.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems may contribute to headaches. Sufferers with TMJ have clicking at this joint, experience facial pain, and may notice a stiff mouth upon awakening after a night’s sleep. And all of this can then lead to a headache. TMJ syndrome, which often includes headaches, requires stabilization of the TMJ joint and ligament. Also, bite problems may be present, necessitating bite equilibration.
It is not uncommon for the source of headaches to originate in the neck. Do you have neck pain before or during a headache? If you have neck pain followed by tension or migraine headache, then the source of the headache may very well be coming from your neck.
The most common neck problem producing headaches is an injury to the ligaments in the neck. How do you know if you have a ligament injury in your neck? You will hear grinding, crunching, and popping sounds when you turn your neck. And there is also a high probability that you crack your neck often. Injured ligaments generate instability in the neck, which induces muscle spasms in the neck as the muscles attempt to stabilize it. And the result is referral pain in the form of a tension headache in the forehead, back of the neck, or occiput.
Dextrose Prolotherapy is often effective to treat headaches and achieve the desired results. In more severe cases, Platelet Rich Plasma, one of the types of Regenerative Orthopedics, may be recommended. This non-surgical treatment has also been shown in studies to be effective for chronic migraines.1
Cervicocranial Syndrome, previously known as Barré-Liéou Syndrome is a condition that causes a bunch of symptoms. The symptoms may include headache, dizziness, facial pain, ear pain, vertigo, tinnitus, loss of voice, hoarseness, neck pain, and severe fatigue.
Instability of the neck or cervical spine is usually the source of these symptoms. Neck instability involves increased motion between adjacent vertebrae which causes excessive stress on the supporting ligament structures. And the nerve endings within those structures elicit pain and a variety of symptoms. In other words, neck instability causes extra movement in the neck bones. And this extra motion can cause the bones to push on the nerves and cause irritation of the nervous system, leading to headaches and a bunch of other symptoms.
Occipital neuralgia is another headache-causing condition related to neck instability. Those with this condition often experience sharp, stabbing pain in the lower part of the neck, the back of the head, and behind their eyes. The pain is typically one-sided.
The occipital nerve, which runs at the back of the head, can cause severe pain when injured. Many folks get nerve blocks for this pain. But these are not always effective at resolving the pain. Any instability of C1, C2, the first two neck vertebrae, can pinch or irritate the occipital nerve. And the extra motion along the spine can kink, press, and tighten on the nerves at the base of the skull. Neck instability symptoms include tenderness, clicking, grinding, and popping in the back of the head.
Headaches can occur after whiplash injuries. During a whiplash injury, the head flexes and extends, in a forward and backward whip that injures the neck ligaments. Whiplash injuries are a common source of neck instability.
The lack of stable neck vertebrae can lead to further injury of the soft tissue and joint structures, as well as the possibility of nerve injury and irritation of the nervous system. And that can result in headaches and other symptoms. Whiplash often results in long-term pain, which is due to a ligament injury and malalignment of the neck vertebrae.
Regenerative Orthopedics involves the injection of natural substances into the damaged ligaments. The treatment results in tightening, repair, and regeneration of the ligaments involved in TMJ and neck instability. The area becomes stabilized, thus eliminating the instability, muscle spasms, and associated neck and jaw pain, and other related symptoms.
For those who are tired of the disability and pain of severe headaches, and other conditions related to neck instability, Regenerative Orthopedics is a safe, non-surgical option that stops headache pain, decreases symptoms, and increases functionality in otherwise life-altering conditions.
1Algawwam, Hayder Ghali, and Abdullah Ahmed Mohammad. “The Effectiveness of Injection of Trigger Points with Platelet Rich Plasma as A Pain Management Method in Chronic Tension Type Headache.” (2021).