Are your Headaches a Pain in Your Neck?

Are your Headaches a Pain in Your Neck?

Are your Headaches a Pain in Your Neck? A man walks into his bedroom holding two aspirin and a glass of water. His wife asks, “What’s that for?” The man replies, “It’s for your headache!” “I don’t have a headache,” says the wife. The man replies “Gotcha!” The World Health Organization estimates that 47% of people in the US experience at least one headache throughout the year.1 I would guess that the actual number of people who experience headaches yearly is much higher than that. Headaches are an issue that I have seen with increasing frequency in my practice. They have become so common that many times people don’t consider them a condition, and they never tell me about them until I specifically ask if they have headaches. I must emphasize that no matter how common headaches are, they are still a matter that deserves our attention. First, it’s important that we begin to understand what really causes headaches. Most importantly, what can be done to help those suffering from frequent headaches without them having to run for a bottle of pills every time? The brain itself is insensitive to pain. Therefore, headache pain usually occurs in the tissues covering the brain, the attaching structures at the base of the brain, or the muscles and blood vessels around the scalp, face and neck. The International Headache Society lists 129 different types of headaches, but the general categories are tension, cluster, and migraine. The associated pain is described as sharp, stabbing, dull, throbbing, and vice-like. Different types of physical, chemical, and emotional stress – including fatigue, worry, noise, fluorescent lights,...