That Headache May Not be Caused by Tension or Stress

OUCH! Ever have a really intense, what you believe to be, stress or tension headache? Well chances are it may not be caused by tension or stress.  Previously these headaches were thought to just be migraines and any talk of other causes were not spoken of. Recent research has proven that there is an underlying cause and these headaches in fact are not the same as migraines and have their own cause.

The common onset of the occurrence of these headaches is around the age of 33 and typical migraine medicine does not work to stop them. These headaches not only cause pain to the sides and posterior (back) of the head but cause many other painful symptoms including reduction in the range of motion of the neck and pressure on the sensitive portion of the side of the head (occipital region). Not only will one suffering from these headaches have pain on the side of their head but also in either their arm or shoulder on the same side of the body as the head pain.  These pains and aches typically tend to occur when the neck is in an award or unnatural position, such as when one is turning their neck to look behind them when backing up a car.

Researchers started looking for a cause to these common headaches and found a correlation between the neck position and the number of headache incidences. This finding makes perfect sense being that “nerves, originating in the cervical spine, furnish the nerves to the posterior scalp.” With this finding researchers were able to prove that this achy headache being experienced at random times and lasting for un-uniform periods of time was different than the typical migraine. Researches are now able to claim that these headaches are caused by the “convergence of vertical and trigeminal dorsal root afferents in the upper cervical cord,” basically by turning your neck the wrong way or having bad posture you are causing your own headache.

With the information we learned from these studies we can come to the conclusion that turning your neck the wrong way is going to cause you to have a headache. The simplest way to solve this problem?! Fix your posture and you can prevent or delay the onset of these headaches. Of course if you turn your head the wrong way and instantly cause a headache then having your neck in the wrong position for an extended period of time will absolutely cause you to have a headache and what may feel like tension or pain down your arms. Not only will you prevent yourself from having a headache that may take a whole day to go away, you will stop yourself from having chronic headaches, neck, shoulder and arm pain. These can become terrible problems and interrupt many activities of daily living especially when medication does not work to cure it.

How and when can you prevent your neck from being in the wrong position? Slouching and texting are just two of the most common ways we position our heads the wrong way. Trying to keep your shoulders back will help position your neck in the right alignment. Instead of texting with your head down looking towards the ground and phone hear your belly button, try raising your arms so that your phone is directly in front of your face to stop your head from tilting therefore stopping the neck from flexing. Simply by making these two lifestyle adjustments you can save yourself lots of pain and spare yourself the incurable headache.

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