How long someone has had episodes of head pain does not correspond well with their prognosis for improvement. We find that people with chronic head pain for many years can just as well improve as quickly as someone who has experienced head pain for only a few weeks. Furthermore, our emphasis on self-treatment can help to maintain this dramatic change.
This is the most common type of described headache. Previously the medical community attributed this type of headache to neck and head muscle over activity. New research shows that this muscle tension may be driven by subtle joint position faults in the upper three neck joints and a sensitisation of the nervous system. By addressing these small joint movements, much of the muscle tension subsides.
Exercise Induced Headaches
It is well established in medicine that head pain can be produced by centres in the brain and the spinal cord being over sensitive to changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Manual treatment of the upper three neck joints has been shown to reduce this excessive sensitivity and thereby reduce the headache response.
Relatively new research is beginning to show that in migraine sufferers, the brainstem area is oversensitive (or sensitised) to relatively normal messages coming through it. So, rather than normal sensory input to the brainstem being harmless, this same input triggers a migraine experience.
There are many different kinds of migraine experiences that are thought to all be triggered by a sensitised brainstem (for example, menstrual migraine which is thought to be triggered by hormone changes).
It is well established in medicine that the use of “Triptan” drugs (drugs such as Imigran, Noratriptan, Maxalt etc) are effective in treating migraine. These drugs work by desensitising the brainstem, however only temporarily.
Pain felt in the forehead and facial areas around the eyes, temples and cheekbones can often be referred from the upper neck joints. We can assess these joints to determine their involvement. Often, what are thought to be sinus headaches respond to upper neck joint treatment.