A symptom is always a signal that something is wrong in the body. Headaches, migraines, and other head pain syndromes almost always point to craniocervical dysfunction
(chiropractically termed upper cervical misalignment or care). The craniocervical area is right at the top of your spine where your neck connects to your skull. Dysfunction in that area consists of injured ligaments, muscles, even dura mater, etc. These structures, when healthy, keep the atlas bone at the top of the spine able to move freely without sliding into positions and structures that it normally wouldn’t or shouldn’t. When the stabilizing ligaments in the craniocervical junction are injured, they can become painful themselves since they all have pain receptors. Aside from localized pain in the injured tissues, their injury decreases the tensile strength of the ligaments and thereby allows the atlas bone to move into positions that can be inflammatory. In some cases, rotational misalignment of the occipito-atlanto-axial joint has been observed to negatively affect blood flow and or cerebrospinal fluid flow to and from the head. These altered flow dynamics directly relate to symptoms of headache. Tethering of the spinal cord and nerve tissues has also been observed in these cases and correlates with pain symptoms associated with headaches. Symptoms that can be caused by craniocervical dysfunction include, but are not limited to: head, neck and back pain, trapezius pain, migraines, numbness, tingling, diffuse musculoskeletal pain, brain fog, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
These cases normally present with more complicating factors than can mechanically be corrected with a basic traditional chiropractic manipulation. By precisely and carefully working with 8 different factors of misalignment, we can make a gentle correction within the normal range of the joint (no twist or popping) with Atlas Orthogonal procedures to reduce misalignment of the atlas bone. By doing so, we are able to decrease dysfunction in the craniocervical junction and thereby reduce the inflammatory symptoms that result from that dysfunction. In most cases, correcting these misalignments does in fact correct the cause of symptoms. Correction can significantly decrease or eliminate headaches in most forms from daily life. Put simply, we can help most headache/migraine patients by getting to the root cause of their headache! We can help! See below for just a few of our headache patients who have responded well to correction.