WHAT DOES THE LATEST RESEARCH ON NECK PAIN, HEADACHES, AND WHIPLASH REVEAL?
"Neck pain is the most common musculoskeletal pathology second only to low back pain. It is the fourth largest contributor to global disability with its prevalence ranging between 30 to 71% of the general population. Two thirds of adults are affected by neck pain at some time in their lives. Most people with neck pain do not experience a complete resolution of symptoms. Most guidelines related to mechanical neck pain are of poor quality.... Despite an increase in the evidence base, treatment recommendations have not changed significantly over time in their recommendations for interventions used to manage neck pain." From last month's issue of Biomed Central Musculoskeletal Disorders (Comparison of Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Prognosis and Management of Non-Specific Neck Pain: A Systematic Review)
"Opioids appear to be over-prescribed." From last October's issue of Emergency Medicine Australasia (Use of and Attitudes to the Role of Medication for Acute Whiplash Injury: A Preliminary Survey of Emergency Department Doctors)
"The truth is that, among all diseases, headache is one of the hardest to diagnose and treat. It is, in fact a functional central nervous system disorder and no specific markers or organic alterations occur, except when headache is a symptom of another illness. Moreover, after trying several medical, paramedical, or all-but-medical approaches, most patients continue to suffer from their headache and, being often dissatisfied with the responses obtained, they try self-treatments and thus become pain-killer abusers.... This is even more true if we consider that while headaches can, indeed, be described, their description is hardly objective, and they therefore fall within the domain of subjectivity. The subjectivism of this pathology never fails to strike me. Patients describe their symptoms, but physicians can never verify them directly." CHERRY PICKED words from Dr. Gennaro Bussone a 'headache neurologist,' from this month's issue of Neurological Sciences (Clinical Issues of Headaches: A Personal View)
"Medication-overuse headache (MOH) is a common neurologic disorder with enormous disability and suffering and plays a significant role in the transformation from episodic to chronic headache disorders. Multiple terms have been used to describe MOH such as analgesic rebound headache, drug-induced headache or a medication-misuse headache. Patients with established primary headache disorders like migraine or tension-type headaches excessively overuse medication for their acute headache and inadvertently increase the frequency and intensity of their headache. In this manner, a vicious cycle of further drug consumption and increased headache frequency develops transforming the treatment for their headache to the actual cause of their disease (MOH)." From this month's issue of STAT Pearls (Medication-overuse Headache (MOH)
When looking at the quotes above, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Medical guidelines are, well, medical guidelines --- trust them at your own peril (HERE). There still are not standard medical tests that do a good job of actually "visualizing" what may be causing people's headaches, unless of course they are being caused by gross pathology such as a brain tumor or aneurysm. The most brutal assessment from the quotes above, however, is how common chronic headaches really are in the general population; affecting somewhere between one and two thirds of everyone.
With costs for managing CHRONIC PAIN (including headaches) continuing to soar on a parallel path with the 'we-just-can't-seem-to-get-a-handle-on-it' OPIOID CRISIS, what else can be done? To help answer that, today we are going to take a look at some of the latest research concerning CHRONIC HEADACHES, CHRONIC NECK PAIN, and WHIPLASH --- all of which are intimately related to the cervical spine.
In a study showing the power of PROPRIOCEPTION, this month's issue of Musculoskeletal Science & Practice (Gait Speed and Gait Asymmetry in Individuals with Chronic Idiopathic Neck Pain) revealed that, "Individuals with chronic idiopathic neck pain had slower gait speed in all walking conditions compared to controls. In preferred walking and walking at maximum speed conditions, gait was found to be asymmetric in individuals with chronic idiopathic neck pain." In other words, the neck cannot be separated from the rest of the body musculoskeletally. It's all one organism, connected by the nervous system (HERE) and fascia (HERE).
As you might guess, there are increasing numbers of studies linking headaches to both stress (SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE) and Gut dysfunction. While a dysfunctional gut can take on many characteristics, they can essentially be broken down into two; THE LEAKY GUT and THE DYSBIOTIC GUT. Listen to next month's issue of Behavioral Pharmacology (Stress and the Gut Microbiota-Brain Axis). "Stress is a nonspecific response of the body to any demand imposed upon it, disrupting the body homoeostasis and manifested with symptoms such as anxiety, depression or even headache." It's why I've said repeatedly that if you want to restore HOMEOSTASIS, it all starts with GUT HEALTH, which usually takes us back to DIETARY FACTORS and ANTIBIOTIC USE / ABUSE (remember, however, that all drugs have gut-destroying antibiotic-like properties --- HERE).
Speaking of dietary factors; when I have patients with chronic headaches, one of the things I usually suggest trying first --- especially for the person who has seemingly tried 'everything' --- is an ELIMINATION DIET. This lets us see whether or not certain foods might be driving the underlying inflammation / immune system responses, which are frequent drivers of headaches. I've spoken in the past about a brain-destroying "PARKINSON'S-LIKE" phenomenon that ravages the lower brain (cerebellum) called CEREBELLAR ATAXIA. A study from this month's issue of the Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache (Headache in Patients with Celiac Disease and Its Response to the Gluten-Free Diet) not only revealed that 6 of 10 CELIACS had abnormal cerebellar MRI's, but that 42% had chronic headaches related to consuming GLUTEN. The only way to avoid the "white matter lesions" of the brain that these authors talked about? The GLUTEN-FREE diet of course. Just be aware that Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is multiple times more common and can be equally as severe as Celiac Disease, although it's not nearly as easy to test for using standard lab / blood tests.
Another study, this one from the same issue of the same journal (Headache in Patients with Celiac Disease and Its Response to the Gluten-Free Diet) looked at over 1,500 Celiacs with chronic headaches, describing them as mostly female (94%) with an average age of nearly 40.....
"Tension-type headache was the most prevalent headache type (52%), followed by migraine (48%). Of the included participants, 24% reported headache as the main symptom that resulted in the diagnosis of CD. Following initiation of a gluten-free diet, headache frequency and intensity improved significantly more in participants with migraine than tension-type headache. Compliance to the diet was higher among subjects with severe manifestations, and compliant individuals showed a 48% improvement in headache frequency. An association between food transgressions and headache was better recognized by migraineurs."
What this tells me is that not only are headaches a common sequalae of Celiac Disease, but that with Celiacs struggling with tension-type headaches there are more likely to be secondary factors at play --- probably mechanical factors like SUBLUXATION or ADHESED FASCIA. While these can and do play a frequent role in MIGRAINE HEADACHES, they are far more common in the tension headache sufferer. Another study --- this one from the current issue of Pain and Therapy (The Relationship Between Musculoskeletal Pain and Picky Eating: The Role of Negative Self-Labeling) showed that of the more than 4,600 adults looked at, "The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in every region was seen as consistently higher in subjects who self-identified as picky eaters than those who were non-picky eaters." The number one painful association of picky eating was ---- neck pain.
The latest copy of the journal Pain Medicine (Ingrowth of Nociceptive Receptors into Diseased Cervical Intervertebral Disc Is Associated with Discogenic Neck Pain) described a model almost identical to what you see on my CHRONIC PAIN PAGE, although their model was used to describe deteriorating spinal discs in the neck. There is a buildup or ingrowth of inflammation-sensitive fibers into degenerating discs and soft tissues that can make them absurdly pain-sensitive (FAMED NEUROLOGIST, CHAN GUNN, described this phenomenon as causing a neuro-chemical reactivity that could potentially make these tissues over 1,000 times more pain-sensitive than normal). BTW, this testing was done via biopsy instead of MRI. What about MRI findings for these sorts of patients?
I've previously shown you how futile MRI can be in many --- maybe even the majority --- of lumbar disc cases. This is because study after study has shown that somewhere between half to three quarters of the adult population is walking around with MRI-visible disc herniations in their low backs, but have no idea because they do not hurt (HERE --- and the same thing is true of SHOULDERS AS WELL). Now we see that it's also true of necks. A study from January's issue of the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Cervical Spine Findings on MRI in People with Neck Pain Compared with Pain-Free Controls: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis) looked at the findings of over 4,000 subjects from 32 studies, coming to these conclusions. Other than the fact that the cross-sectional area of a specific muscle --- rectus capitus posterior --- was smaller in people with chronic pain, "The remaining meta-analysis comparisons showed no group differences in MRI findings. Definitive conclusions cannot be drawn on the presence of MRI findings in individuals with whiplash-associated disorders or non-specific neck pain compared with pain-free controls."
When it comes to chronic whiplash-related neck pain, what are the chief factors that indicate that a poor outcome might be on the horizon? Next month's issue of the Clinical Journal of Pain (Precollision Medical Diagnoses Predict Chronic Neck Pain Following Acute Whiplash Trauma) answered that question after comparing 700 WHIPLASH PATIENTS to 3,600 controls. While I expected to see patients with a list of either AUTOIMMUNE or INFLAMMATORY diseases, what we saw instead was...
As far as treatment of neck pain and headache, whether caused by whiplash or not, numerous studies showed exercise and stretching programs to generally be at least somewhat effective, but not as much so as you would think. The same thing was true of massage, with a study from eight authors found in this month's issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Massage for Pain: An Evidence Map). After looking at 49 systemic reviews on the subject, the authors determined that "High quality reviews concluded that there was low strength of evidence of potential benefits of massage for labor, shoulder, neck, low back, cancer, arthritis, postoperative, delayed onset muscle soreness, and musculoskeletal pain." Does this tell us that massage doesn't work? Because the vast majority of those utilizing massage pay out-of-pocket for these services --- something they would not continue if it didn't work --- I would argue that there is something inherently wrong with the study; something I've been hollering about in my EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE COLUMN for a decade. BTW, the exact same thing has been said of both chiropractic and physical therapy, which I'll show you momentarily.
Speaking of the combination of adjustments and therapy, a study from last month's Journal of Physical Therapy Science (The Effect of Massage Technique plus Thoracic Manipulation versus Thoracic Manipulation on Pain and Neural Tension in Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial) showed that even though "The exact pathology of mechanical neck pain has not yet been fully elucidated but it has been suggested that it relates to various pain-sensitive structures, including the muscles, ligaments, zygapophyseal joints, uncovertebral joints, intervertebral discs, and neural tissue, a significant reduction in resting neck pain was seen in the thoracic manipulation plus massage group, compared to that achieved using thoracic manipulation alone. The use of thoracic manipulation and massage is recommended to reduce resting neck pain and increase pain-free neural tissue extensibility." While it's certainly not massage, I could say the same thing about the TISSUE REMODELING we do in-house.
A French study from this month's issue of Frontiers in Psychiatry (Bright Light as a Personalized Precision Treatment of Mood Disorders) cemented some non-mainstream facts that I wrote about in my recent articles, OBESITY, LIGHT, LEPTIN RESISTANCE, AND THE BRILLIANT MADNESS OF JACK KRUSE and THE IMPORTANCE OF SUNSHINE BEYOND VITAMIN D. After mentioning headaches as a potential "transient, mild and rare" side effect, the authors revealed of bright light therapy.....
"Bright light therapy (BLT) has physiological effects by resynchronizing the biological clock (circadian system), enhancing alertness, increasing sleep pressure (homeostatasis), and acting on serotonin and other pathways. A growing body of evidence has been generated over the last decade about BLT evolving as an effective depression treatment not only to be used in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but also in non-seasonal depression, with efficiency comparable to fluoxetine [Prozac], and possibly more robust in patients with bipolar disorders (BD). The antidepressant action of BLT is fast (within 1-week) and safe, with the need in BD to protect against manic switch with mood stabilizers."
I brought this up because the latest issue of Current Treatment Options in Neurology (Antidepressants for Preventive Treatment of Migraine) talked about using, just as the title stated, antidepressants, as a "preventative" for MIGRAINE HEADACHES. The authors prefaced this by revealing that (whisper whisper), "SSRIs including fluoxetine [Prozac] are not effective for most patients..." If not using ultra-common SSRI's, what are they using? SNRI's like amitriptyline / nortriptyline (Elavil / Pamelor and Aventyl) --- drugs with common nasty side effects). The authors prefaced their giddiness by letting readers know that "The side effect burden of antidepressants can be substantial. Patients should be particularly counseled about the possibility of a withdrawal effect from SNRIs." Remember that we've seen just how ineffective these drugs really are for solving depression (HERE) as well as their SEXUAL SIDE-EFFECTS. You need to be aware of this (HERE) because "Antidepressants are commonly used as migraine preventives."
But what happens when the medications, as is often the case, don't work? Worse yet, what if your medications were actually causing the very problem you were using them to solve (a common problem with depression --- HERE)? Although side-effects to all drugs are orders of magnitude greater than typically reported (HERE), when it comes to headaches, this particular phenomenon is so common that it has its own special name ---- medication overuse headaches or simply "rebound". How common are rebound headaches? Just days ago, Neurological Science (Epidemiology and Management of Medication-Overuse Headache in the General Population) answered that question by revealing that "Medication-overuse headache is a worldwide challenge as it affects 1-2% of the general population." What do these numbers tell us? 160 million people worldwide --- a number equivalent to about half the US population --- are dealing with rebound headaches. It also means that in my little town of 3,000 people, there are probably 60 people stuck in this vicious cycle.
A title of a study from this month's issue of Nature Reviews Neurology (Complete Withdrawal More Feasible and Effective than Restriction in Medication-Overuse Headache) said it all via it's title --- describing very same thing I promote for breaking sugar addictions (COLD TURKEY). A study from this month's issue of Frontiers in Neurology (Negative Short-Term Outcome of Detoxification Therapy in Chronic Migraine With Medication Overuse Headache: Role for Early Life Traumatic Experiences and Recent Stressful Events) tried to predict which people would succeed with a headache medicine "DETOX PROGRAM" and which would fail.
"Among the most popular and disabling neurological disorders, migraine is at the top of the list. In most sufferers, attacks recur episodically, even if in a small—but significant—portion of migraineurs the disease evolves into a chronic pattern, that is, chronic migraine (CM). Transition from episodic to CM often occurs in association with a progressive increase in the intake of acute medications, so that the large majority of patients with CM also fulfill criteria for Medication Overuse Headache (MOH). Data suggest that early life traumas and stressful events have a negative impact on the outcome of the detoxification program in subjects overusing acute medication for headache. The history of emotional childhood traumas is associated to the failure to cease overuse, whereas recent very serious life events are associated to the persistence of headache chronicity."
Last month's issue of Frontiers in Neurology (Features of Primary Chronic Headache in Children and Adolescents) stated, "Chronic migraine (CM), chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) and new daily persistent headache (NDPH) are classified as CPH. Chronic primary headaches (CPH) are a disabling disorder for children, adolescents, and adults, with a reported prevalence of 2% in adults and .78% in adolescents, while the prevalence rises up to 1.75% when including medication overuse headaches." Another study, this one from the February copy of Cephalgia (The Prevalence of Headache in German Pupils...) provided more detail of just how common and severe headaches are in the pediatric (under 18) population. So; what about treating children with headaches similar to adults with headaches as far as manual therapy is concerned?
This month's issue of BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine asked the same question of manual therapy for children that they did pertaining children and massage we looked at earlier. After looking at 50 studies on using manual treatment to affect a wide variety of problems, including back pain, neck pain, and headaches, the authors concluded that "Moderate-positive overall assessment was found for 3 conditions: low back pain, pulled elbow, and premature infants. Unfavorable outcomes were found for 2 conditions: scoliosis and torticollis. All other condition's overall assessments were either inconclusive favorable or unclear. Adverse events were uncommonly reported." In other words, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The super cool thing, however, is the extremely low side effect profile --- an especially big deal after what we've read about the freaky side effect profiles of some of the most commonly used headache and neck pain medications.
"Classical Conditioning" was a phrase coined by Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, back in the late 1800's. In his famous dog experiments he associated feeding time for his dogs with ringing a bell, discovering that even in the absence of food, tinkling his bell would cause the hounds to salivate profusely. Simply Psychology said this of the phenomenon as a form of treatment. "For classical conditioning to be effective, the conditioned stimulus should occur before the unconditioned stimulus, rather than after it, or during the same time. Thus, the conditioned stimulus acts as a type of signal or cue for the unconditioned stimulus." Why is "before" such a big deal when compared to "during or after" --- especially when it comes to headaches? This month's issue of Current Headache Reports (Pavlov’s Pain: The Effect of Classical Conditioning on Pain Perception and its Clinical Implications) explains....
"It has been known for decades that classical conditioning influences pain perception. We first review studies regarding how classical conditioning alters pain perception with an emphasis on two phenomena where conditioning increases pain sensitivity (i.e., conditioned hyperalgesia) or decreases it (i.e., conditioned hypoalgesia). Specifically, we critically examine empirical studies about conditioned hyperalgesia and conditioned hypoalgesia, explore reasons why conditioning leads to these two seemingly opposite phenomena, and discuss the neural mechanisms behind them. We then highlight how conditioning contributes to the development and maintenance of chronic pain, and present neuroscientific evidence for maladaptive aversive conditioning in chronic pain patients. Moreover, we propose a framework for understanding how to exploit conditioning to optimize pain treatment, including minimizing conditioned hyperalgesia, maximizing conditioned hypoalgesia, and eliminating excessive fear and overgeneralization in chronic pain."
I was not going to pay $40 to look at the whole study, but suffice it to say that "conditioning" may be driving your headaches and pain as opposed to being used as a tool against. What are some of the things that we know can adversely condition people's pain levels beyond stress and inflammatory diets? Our national addiction to media (social media, porn, cell phones, computers, TV, etc, etc) has been in the news lately and is proving to be a HUGE PROBLEM in this arena, most particularly for children. It's why I talk on my site so much about getting your mind right. After all, one of King Solomon's proverbs (23:7) tells us that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
To see our complete (nothing is ever really "complete") ANTI-INFLAMMATION / RESOLUTION PROTOCOL for getting out of pain and starting the process of taking your life back, just click the link. While not everything there will pertain to everyone, there are some great tidbits to be gleaned and digested. And if you appreciate our site, be sure and spread the wealth by liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK as it's still a nice way to reach the people you love and value most!
AMERICAN HEADACHE SOCIETY NOW RECOMMENDING COMPLIMENTARY TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC HEADACHES
Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment. Forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity. Would you be surprised that your neck and shoulders hurt if you had a 20-pound watermelon hanging around your neck? Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California
There are several things that happen when the SCM (as well as the PLATYSMA that covers it) has ADHESIONS OF THE FASCIA. One of the first is that it goes in to hyper-contraction or spasm. As you can gather from looking at the pictures above, this will draw the head downward (HEAD FORWARD POSTURE) or at the very least, prevent it from going backwards or side-to-side as much as it should. Not only is the FORWARD HEAD POSTURE associated with many bad outcomes (pain, ARTHRITIS, OSTEOPOROSIS, and even TYPE II DIABETES), so is the restricted motion that is almost always associated with it. It is critical to understand that DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS has a known cause --- loss of normal joint motion.
Joints that do not move properly wear out prematurely, and as joints wear out, they move worse. As you can see, it is a vicious cycle that actually feeds itself. Listen to what Allen Woodruff said about Whiplash in an article he wrote for last year's April 15 edition of Dynamic Chiropractic (The Illusive Root of Whiplash Associated Disorder).
"Unanswered questions surround whiplash, especially when no bones are broken. There is lack of evidence correlating speed, impact, size of vehicle, and severity of injury to chronic pain that shows up much later. A patient having fresh tissue injuries directly from whiplash unfortunately is a candidate for developing into a chronic sufferer, which can devastate their life. Most whiplash injuries begin with mild symptoms, but still pose an 18 percent chance of developing into chronic problems down the road, as much as two years following the initial injury."
"When the SCM is strained or shortened the muscle itself rarely hurts, no matter how stiff or tight it may be. Problems are referred elsewhere, to head and neck, ears, eyes, nose and throat. The astonishing laundry-list of pain and dysfunction includes severe dizziness and other neurological symptoms. These may be mistakenly diagnosed as migraine, sinus headache, atypical facial neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, arthritis of the sternoclavicular joint, ataxia, multiple sclerosis (MS), brain lesions, tumors, and other frightening conditions. As always, these possibilities should be eliminated through differential diagnosis. However, because of its intimate relationship with the brain stem and several nerves including the vagus nerve, the SCM can produce many neurological disturbances all on its own. One is a condition known as “postural dizziness” — just walking around feeling dizzy and disoriented — perhaps with a frontal headache commonly interpreted as “sinus” pain."
"quite common, especially in the cervical musculature, and most often found in patients 31 years to 50 years of age, with a greater incidence in women than men. Several studies have reported that up to 85% of back pain and 54.6% of neck pain and headaches are caused by myofascial pain."
Some of the things I use in my clinic include SCAR TISSUE REMODELING, CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS, COLD LASER THERAPY, restoration of the normal cervical curve and stretching the SCM with the DAKOTA TRACTION DEVICE, STRETCHES, and strengthening exercises (the last three all done at home), among others. Just remember that whether or not you have pain today; if your neck does not move as well as it should, you will end up with pain at some point in the future (HERE). Prevent DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS, Chronic Pain, and other problems by dealing with the dysfunction in your neck today.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN AND HEADACHES
HOW MANY AMERICANS STRUGGLE WITH THIS COMMON PROBLEM?
While there are a wide array of potential reasons for this (GLUTEN SENSITIVITY, FAILURE TO MANAGE BLOOD SUGAR, etc, etc), one of the more common is ADHESION OF THE FASCIA coupled with SUBLUXATION. If you are one of those people who can barely turn their head, or who gets relief from Chiropractic Adjustment, but it never seems to last; watch the video below. If you feel like it, you can watch some more videos (HERE). Cooper (below) was at the end of her rope. She had been through all sorts of tests, including BRAIN SCANS. The medical community's solution? DRUGS! Fortunately; for most of you there is a better and far less expensive way to deal with this problem. And the really cool thing is that doing it this way actually addresses underlying causes as opposed to simply covering symptoms.
TEENAGERS WITH HEADACHES?
MAKE EM PART OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC!
GIVE THEM DRUGS!
"Opioids were go-to drugs for teen headache even though evidence-based guidelines do not recommend them for first-line treatment." From a recent MedPage Today article by John Fauber and Kristina Fiore, called, Teens Likely to Get Opioid Rx for Headaches.
The latest issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health stated that, "Of 8,373 adolescents with headache, 46% (3,859 patients) received an opioid prescription. Nearly half (48%) received one opioid prescription during follow-up; and 29% received 3 opioid prescriptions." According to the study, about a quarter of those receiving narcotics were diagnosed with MIGRAINE HEADACHES. This means that 75% of the youth seeking out medical care for their headaches do not have Migraines, yet are being largely treated with hardcore and addictive drugs. And we wonder why we have a DRUG PROBLEM here in America?
According to the article, they recommend things like Tylenol / Ibuproffen or other OTC PAIN RELIEVERS (liver, kidney, and heart destroyers), NSAIDS, or (gulp) a nasal spray called Sumatriptan. Sumatriptan (aka Imatrex) is a drug given for people with Migraines. The side effects of this drug --- especially over time --- can be brutal. Let's stop for a moment, attempt to regain our composure, and use some good old-fashioned common sense.
- DIET: Because such large numbers of our nation's adolescents eat such cruddy diets, this is probably the best place to start. The very first thing to do is cut SUGAR / SODAS / JUNK FOOD, and get the blood sugar under control by going LOW CARB. Yeah; I get it --- it's tough to get your kid to eat like this ---- particularly if they have been eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) for most of their life. Just keep reminding yourself that you are the parent in this relationship. Oh; if you Google HEADACHES / GLUTEN, you might realize that your child may very well need to go GLUTEN FREE. Depending on the source of the headache, there are some great WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS to help people dealing with headaches as well.
- CHIROPRACTIC CARE: Chiropractors have been successfully helping large numbers of people (kids and adults) with headaches for well over 100 years. This can be in the form of ADJUSTMENTS or SCAR TISSUE THERAPY (I cannot begin to tell you how many kids I have found with Chronic Scar Tissue over the years). Depending on the state of the spine, RESTORATION OF THE PROPER CURVE could be a big deal as well. This is much easier to accomplish in children than adults.
- PROPER AMOUNTS OF SLEEP AND EXERCISE: As our society becomes more "plugged in", we tend to get less sleep and exercise. This can be a significant factor in headaches as well.
- FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY: If serious headaches persist, I would suggest consulting with a CARRICK-TRAINED Functional Neurologist. The problem could be in the brain.
HEADACHE OR SKULL PAIN...
IS THERE REALLY A DIFFERENCE?
I have a pain on my skull or scalp, which is slightly worse if pressure is applied. It is the same sensation that I used to get as a child when I had my hair pulled back into a pony tail, but I haven't worn my hair like that for about 15 years now. It's a patch on the top right of my skull/scalp. Does anyone have any idea what this is? - Franniesh from Wellshpere
FASCIA is the thin, cellophane-like membrane that surrounds all muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones (it goes by different names depending on the tissue it surrounds). Part of what makes Fascia so unique is that it is not only the most abundant CONNECTIVE TISSUE in the body, it is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body as well. Just like other soft tissues, Fascia has the potential to be injured and form MICROSCOPIC SCAR TISSUE. Add to this the fact that Fascia is so thin that it cannot be properly imaged with even the most technologically advanced imaging techniques (CT / MRI), and you can see the potential of being swept away by CHRONIC PAIN'S PERFECT STORM.
CUT-AWAY IMAGES OF THE HAIRLINE ON TOP OF THE SKULL
The arrows in the images are pointing to the Galea Aponeurotica, which is also known as the Epicranial Aponeurosis (the thin layer of Fascia that surrounds the skull). This is extremely pain-sensitive tissue and can become "TETHERED" when injured.
While in his early teen years, he developed "Skull Pain" a few months after a fairly serious injury to his face (a broken zygomatic arch) and subsequent surgery. Over the course of 5 years, Joe had been to all sorts of doctors (many psychiatrists and neurologists), a plethora of tests, and taken a large array of drugs --- many being "psych" drugs and meds from THE BIG FIVE. He even ended up working on a farm for 6 months as part of a program developed to help people thought to be dealing with Psycho-Somatic illnesses (i.e. --- problems that the experts believe are all in their head). Finally, another neurologist ran a SPECT SCAN and told the family that Joe had no signs of mental illness or organic disease process in his brain --- something he had been trying to convince them of for years.
I told Joe that while ONE TREATMENT would probably not be enough to completely solve his problem, he would know whether or not our approach would help him. He had Fascial Adhesions all over his head, neck, and face that were so bad, you could hear them 'CREAKING' as he moved. I broke the adhesions (different than craniosacral techniques), and the difference was immediate and significant (I will warn you that he looked like he had been at least a couple rounds with Mike Tyson --- HERE). I received this email a few days later.
Dr. Schierling, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help with this. For all the things I've tried over the past 5 years, this is the only thing that has helped -- so it gives me a hope that I did not have before. I do feel different after the work you did. I can't say it is 100% gone, but the fact that it is improved is all I've been looking for. Thank you again and I will let you know how things go.
"Dear Dr. Schierling, I wanted to thank you for helping my son 'Joe'. In the past few years Joe had seen numerous doctors, had several brain scans and was given all types of medications. We spent thousands and thousands of dollars, all this to try to find some relief, yet nothing seemed to help him. He planned his trip without me knowing, and called me after he returned to tell me all about it. He spoke so highly of you. He said you were the only doctor that really understood him. He found relief with your treatment. Thank you for giving him hope and for being so kind. I hope he will be able to visit you again soon. With warm regards, Joe's Mom."
I can't remember if I saw Joe one more time or two, but regardless, as I was working early as is my habit (I'm usually writing / studying by 4:00 am, before starting with patients at 8:30); as the sun started coming up I noticed a car in the parking lot, with someone asleep behind the wheel.
FIXING PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC HEADACHES
Over 45 million Americans (about one in six) suffer chronic headaches each year. The cost of these headaches in absenteeism and medical expenses is estimated as high as $50 billion per year. -Discovery Health (Why Do We Get Headaches?). This next quote comes from The Migraine Research Foundation's Migraine Fact Sheet. Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine (about 18% of American women). Migraine ranks in the top 20 of the world's most disabling medical illnesses, with about 14 million Americans having chronic daily headache. More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.
Sandy had an incredible restriction of motion in her neck --- something that I find almost universally in non-metabolic headaches (headaches related to GLUTEN, BLOOD SUGAR, MSG / ASPARTAME, ESTROGEN DOMINANCE) and a whole host of others). When I walked into the treatment room Friday and asked Sandy how she had done with the treatment I had given her three weeks earlier (her first), she told me that she was 99% improved. I told her that our Visual Analog Scale could only do increments of 10 (90% or 100%). Either way you slice it, this is some serious improvement! To read more about CHRONIC NECK PAIN and / or CHRONIC HEADACHES, simply click the links. You will find numerous VIDEO TESTIMONIALS as well.
CHRONIC HEADACHES / CHRONIC NECK PAIN
TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
"When asked about four common types of pain, respondents of a National Institute of Health Statistics survey indicated that low back pain was the most common (27%), followed by severe headache or migraine pain (15%), neck pain (15%) and facial ache or pain (4%)." The website of the American Academy of Pain Medicine quoting from the National Centers for Health Statistics (CDC) report called, Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans 2006, Special Feature: Pain.
If you don't already know what Fascia is, just click on the previous link, and understand that Fascia is being touted as a potential suspect as far as the UNIVERSAL CAUSE of all disease is concerned (HERE). Probably the most devastating feature of Adhesions in the Fascia is the fact that this tissue is not only the single most pain-sensitive in the body, it cannot be seen with even the most technologically advanced imaging techniques available today. This leads to accusations of malingering or drug seeking -- and no matter how you slice it, this always ends in a bad way for you, the patient. For more information (as well as Video Testimonials on the subject), click on the top two links on this page.
WHIPLASH AND CAR WRECKS
COMMON, BUT NOT THE ONLY WAY
When the head is 'whipped' violently back and forth, not only is there the propensity for injury to the FASCIA, there is significant chance of ending up with MTBI (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury). The problem with MTBI is that it opens the gates to all sorts of other health-related problems because it actually helps create AUTOIMMUNE REACTIONS within the body. This leads to the wild array of "bizarre and seemingly unrelated symptoms" that famous whiplash researchers Gargan & Bannister discussed in the conclusions of some of their ongoing studies. This means that not only might you be dealing with LOCAL FASCIAL ADHESIONS, but SYSTEMIC FASCIAL ADHESIONS (or SYSTEMIC TENDINOSIS or some other SYSTEMIC PAIN SYNDROME) as well.
If you are interested in delving deeper into this issue and figuring out a starting point for getting your life back, HERE are several posts which are related.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN
TWO PROBLEMS THAT FIT TOGETHER LIKE A HAND IN A GLOVE
These accidents tend to hold the body in place with a seat belt, while allowing the neck to slam violently back and forth. Although the layman's term for this is "Whiplash", in the scientific literature, you will see them referred to as "Acceleration / Deceleration injuries, WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorders), or a whole host of others. Because these injuries tend to injure the FASCIA, they can escape standard medical tests for years --- or even decades.
What is interesting about Tracy's case is that I saw her not long after her original accident in 1996. Unfortunately, I was not yet using the same methods I am now using in the office and was unable to help her. About 8-10 years ago, out of sheer desperation, she came back in to see if there was something that could be done for her chronic neck pain and headaches. I told her that I thought I could help her, and the rest is history --- until recent MVA brought her back in for a lesser version of the same problem. Over the years, we've also fixed TENNIS ELBOW and DeQUERVAIN'S for Tracy as well. For more Video Testimonials of real patients, simply CLICK HERE.
Tracy runs a horse therapy center and her husband is an area pastor as well as being a physician who has been in practice longer in Mountain View than any other (Ozark Medical Center / McVicker Family Health Care). Thanks Tracy! I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!
CHRONIC PAIN AND OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH FHP
FORWARD HEAD POSTURE
EXAMPLES OF LOSS OF CERVICAL LORDOSIS OR REVERSE CURVE (KYPHOSIS)
EXAMPLES OF A LORDOTIC CERVICAL CURVE
On the other hand, if you do not have the proper amount of curve (or you have a reverse cervical curve), force is not only not dissipated, it is redistributed in a manner that both causes and accelerates the degenerative processes which are at work on all of us due to the effects of gravity. Instead of acting like a spring, your neck can end up pounding your discs like a hammer pounds a nail. As you might imagine, the resulting mechanical dysfunction causes a host of problems which can actually be seen on X-ray. The first of these is something called "Sclerosis" (a build-up of calcium). When this gets more severe, there will be bone spurs that form. Right along with these is DISC DEGENERATION. The bottom line is that anything that keeps your spine from moving like it should move (including having the proper curvature and GOOD POSTURE) will cause or accelerate Spinal Decay.
RESULTS OF HAVING AN IMPROPER CERVICAL CURVE
WHAT IT TAKES TO ADDRESS IMPROPER CERVICAL CURVES
The great thing is; once your chiropractor has put you through the proper tests and figured out that you can tolerate Cervical Extension Traction, you can do most of it at home with inexpensive devices such as my favorite, the DAKOTA TRACTION UNIT (thanks Dr. Tressler!). Not only does it have the ability to help the problems listed above by improving the biomechanical function of the cervical spine, it is my belief that Cervical Extension Traction (along with EXTENSION EXERCISES) are probably the single best methods of dealing with the CHRONIC TRIGGER POINTS that do not respond to SCAR TISSUE REMODELING.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN IN PEOPLE WITH
NORMAL CERVICAL RANGES OF MOTION
The first time I really started noticing this phenomenon was about a decade ago, when I treated a wiry 15 or 16 year old boy suffering with Chronic Neck Pain and daily Headaches. It's a common story that plays out in Chiropractic Offices all over the country. I would adjust him, and no matter what, he would never hold for more than a few days --- or a week at the most. Then he was back, complaining about the exact same thing. I was fooled because the range of motion in his neck was absolutely normal --- maybe even a bit more than normal --- when I measured it. Because I had done some SCAR TISSUE REMODELING on his mom, she suggested that I try this on her son. Stupid me (picture me sharply smacking my forehead with the butt of my palm)!
After his very first treatment, the range of motion in his cervical spine (neck) increased dramatically ---- even though technically, it was already as good as it could get before I started. Live and learn. Not only did a couple of Tissue Remodeling Treatments decrease the number of this kid's headaches by about 95%, his cervical range of motion increased to the point that I started calling him "The Owl". Although I rarely see this phenomenon in the over-30 crowd, the younger the patient, the more likely I am to find this situation occurring. It sort of reinforces the old idea that there is really no such thing as 'normal' or 'standard' when it comes to the human body.
CHRONIC NECK PAIN AND THE
RELATIONSHIP TO HEADACHES
"Tension-type headache, previously called muscle contraction headache, is the most common type of headache. Its name indicates the role of stress and mental or emotional conflict in triggering the pain and contracting muscles in the neck, face, scalp, and jaw." U.S. Government's National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke).
Although tightness, spasm, SUBLUXATION, TRIGGER POINTS, or SCAR TISSUE in the neck area causes what are usually known as "Tension Headaches", this name is not exactly accurate. The more appropriate diagnosis would be "Cervicogenic Headaches" (HERE). This means that your headaches were 'birthed' or generated by your neck (aka, Cervical Spine). This is not difficult to understand when you look at the picture below. Superficial nerves that arise from the neck, end up on the head. When there is physical tension in the tissues of the neck, the result is irritation of the nerve system. This irritation is a common cause of pain. If the irritation is severe enough, it can affect the blood vessels and even in some instances bring on a MIGRAINE HEADACHE.
These studies are great. However, they do not largely delve into treatment pertaining to Scar Tissue and FASCIAL ADHESIONS. Unfortunately there are far too many people who have tried all the different methods of treatment dealt with in these studies, and still struggle with Chronic Neck Pain and / or Headaches. If you have Chronic Neck Pain and have not tried Tissue Remodeling, you need to think about taking the plunge. Take a moment and watch a few of our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS (HERE and HERE are several more interspersed with articles about Chronic Neck Pain and Headaches).
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEADACHES AND NECK PAIN?
Headaches and neck pain are reported to be among the most prevalent musculoskeletal complaints in the general population. A significant body of research has reported a high prevalence of headaches and neck pain among adolescents. From a study done by the Physiotherapy Division of Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa. Published in the February 2009 issue of the medical journal Cephalgia.
Close to 65% of Americans ages 18 to 34 have experienced chronic pain or someone they care for has experienced chronic pain during the past year. Neck pain is the number three cause of chronic pain; more than a quarter of Americans report being affected from pain in this area of their body. The website of the American Osteopathic Association.
Approximately 78 percent of all headaches are classified as tension-type headache. The pain is typically generalized all over the head. There appears to be a slightly higher incidence of this type of headache among women. There are two types of tension-type headache: those that occur on an episodic basis and those that occur daily or almost daily. If chronic, this type of headache should be promptly treated to avoid developing an addiction to pain relieving drugs. The daily headache is often accompanied by depression, or other emotional problems, and sleep disturbances.
What is the difference between what I do in my clinic and what others are doing in theirs? Just watch a few of our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS on neck pain and chronic headaches to find out --- especially THESE FEW. The thing that you'll notice after watching just a few of these is that many of our patients have had their pain for years ---- or not uncommonly, EVEN DECADES --- and tried just about everything there is to try, including lots and lots of CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS, before coming here. Don't get me wrong, adjustments can be an extremely effective weapon against all sorts of headaches ---- as long as there is no SCAR TISSUE present. However, if a person has FASCIAL ADHESIONS or FIBROTIC TISSUE of any kind, all bets are off as to how effective an adjustment will be or how long it will last (HERE).
Like I tell all my patients with chronic neck pain and headaches; try one treatment and see if it makes a difference. One treatment is either going to make a huge difference for you, or it will do nothing at all. One treatment and you'll know. Who else makes this kind of claim other than the ELDER STECCO? Call Cheryl at (417) 934-6337 to make an appointment today. You've got nothing to lose but the pain! If you are one of those people who was cursed with Migraine Headaches, make sure to read THIS very short post. And for those of you whose headaches are tangled up with one or more chronic illness, be sure to read THIS POST.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration