Millions of people have headaches regularly. An estimated 50 million people in the United States have long-lasting, recurring headaches. Overall, 15-20% of men and 25-30% of women suffer from headaches. There are a number of causes of headaches. They include neck strain from Forward Head Posture, low blood sugar, dehydration, high blood pressure, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, drug reactions, stress, and fatigue. The majority of headaches are tension headaches (also called cervicogenic). Research shows that 90% of these headaches are caused by subluxations in the cervical spine (misalignments of the vertebrae).
Migraines are triggered by the same factors. They can also be caused by a sensitivity to certain foods or chemicals, such as MSG, nitrites, cleaning products, insecticides, red wine, cheese, or chocolate. The major cause of headaches and migraines is subluxation of the Atlas (C1) and/or the Axis (C2) in the upper neck, just below the skull. The subluxation irritates a neural structure called the Superior Cervical Sympathetic Ganglion, which controls smooth muscles and glands in the head. When this ganglion is irritated, it leads to vasoconstriction of the blood vessels of the head causing hypoxia (decreased blood flow). Hypoxia causes the body to overcompensate with a flood of chemicals to increase blood flow, causing a headache. Irritation of this ganglion can also cause the pupils to dilate, creating the light sensitivity many people experience with a headache.
Worldwide, more than 13,000 tons of aspirin are consumed each year, mostly for headaches. Not only does this not address the cause of the problem, but it can actually cause headaches to worsen. Many people experience rebound headaches from taking painkillers regularly. The medicine taken today may cause a headache tomorrow.
The key to preventing a headache or migraine is to understand the cause. A team of researchers at Syracuse University established that neck problems (subluxations) are the cause of most headaches. A Canadian anesthesiologist, Peter Rothbart, M.D. came to the same conclusions. He said, “Chiropractors were right. Many headaches are caused by damaged structures in the neck- and scientific evidence proves it.… Some brilliant people have put their hearts, souls, and minds into this headache problem and haven’t come up with anything. All we’ve been able to put together is a scientific explanation for how neck structure causes headaches – not all headaches, but a significant number of them. It’s true that chiropractors have been saying this for years.”