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You Can End Your Headaches!

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Many headache sufferers spend years visiting specialists and being treated with drugs, or pain therapy, having no complete resolution, often just living on the edge, and waiting for reoccurrence. At our clinic we have good results with headaches of all kinds because we are working with the causes and not the symptoms. Headaches in our understanding of holistic healing are caused by functional or structural imbalances.

The structural causes of headaches typically are caused by a triad relationship between the neck, tempromandibular joint (TMJ), and cranial bones. If one of those structures is stressed, compressed or misaligned, a pattern of tightness can manifest in the head, neck, and shoulders. The resultant symptoms are chronic headaches, migraines, eye pain, jaw pain, stress headaches, and facial pain. Any one of the three–neck, jaw, or cranial bones–can affect the others, causing compression and tightening. This can be called the Headache Triad (triangle) Complex.

Neuromuscular Therapy is used to release tight neck and shoulder muscles such as the sternocleidomastoid, scalenes, suboccipitals, levator scapula, trapezius, and the external and intraoral TMJ (jaw) muscles. In this last group, the muscles are massaged with gloved hands inside the mouth. This is enormously helpful to most headache and migraine sufferers. Another Neuromuscular technique is used to mobilize and stabilize the atlas-axis complex to make sure the soft tissue restrictions to normal movement of the upper cervical are corrected.

Craniosacral Therapy or Cranial Osteopathy is a method of gently releasing and balancing the cranial bones, cranial sutures, and the cranial connective tissues. The muscular and connective tissue attachments of the cranial bones to the neck and shoulders are important contributors to tension and chronic spasms that cause headaches.

Counterstrain/Orthobionomy, while a strange name for a technique, is a gentle way of repositioning the upper cervical vertebra by releasing the muscles and soft tissues that move and bind them together. If the neck is side bent and rotated, it can create trigger points in the associated muscles that refer pain into the head. “Pain in the head” can also be headaches.

Functionally, headaches can also be caused by poor digestion, what is called “stagnation,” or sluggish digestion. This category of headaches are those caused by inadequate response to stress, poor digestion, unhealthy diet, and side effects of disease. The liver can also be stressed in its role as a digestive organ and filter. This situation causes referred pain into the right shoulder, neck, head, and eye socket.

Supplements, particularly herbs, are often effective in reducing stagnation, and giving pain relief. Typical herbs and formulas we recommend are Feverfew tincture, bitters, neutralizing cordial, and Chinese formulas like Ligusticum and Green Tea, Escape Restraint Pills, Minor Bupleurum, and the Free and Easy Wanderer.

Most of these formulas improve sluggish digestion, and liver function, and have the additional properties of creating a free flow of “chi” through the acupuncture meridians of the head. Our version of Ligusticum and Green Tea is called Cranial Comfort, and is particularly effective for unblocking “head chi.” Another version by Michael Tierra (Laurence’s teacher) is Feverfew Head Aid.

Finally, it is sometimes necessary to stretch or perform movement exercises (Somatics) to retrain muscular habit patterns. Clenching teeth during the day, or grinding at night are examples of a neuromuscular response to stress. Gripping a steering wheel tightly while driving or holding one’s body tensely are other examples of stress that can translate into headaches. Stretching and movement can be beneficial for both structural and functional causes of headaches.

Many people suffer from headaches, and assume headaches are permanent fixtures in their lives. We have found over time that most headaches can be treated successfully with therapy, natural healing, and herbs.

How to get rid of a headache



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