Orcas Island Chiropractor Dr. Jared Kohler successfully treats chronic headaches.  Many people are surpised to discover that mechanical problems in the neck are the cause of their headaches.  Unfortunately, this area is often overlooked in the standard medical evaluation and most people rely on medications to control their symptoms; never getting to the root of the problem.   To be frank, you don’t have headaches due to a deficiency of medication, there is an underlying cause and it can be corrected. Research shows that up to 70% of individuals with frequent intermittent headache report accompanying neck pain. This suggests a potential neck, or cervical spine contribution to the headache.(1,2)

In the pictures, you can see the very intimate relationship the cranio-cervical joints (atlas/axis) have with the delicate nerves that send and receive signals from the head and neck.  Cranio-cervical joint dysfunction can irritate the nerve pathways directly causing neck pain & headaches. Research also shows that the presence of cranio-cervical joint dysfunction (atlas/axis) most clearly identified which headaches were generating from the cervical spine/neck (3).   There are a few simple tests that I perform to detect if cranio-cervical  joint dysfunction is the cause of your headaches. My treatment approach, which combines gentle cranio-cervical adjustments with targeted cranio-cervical muscle therapy and specific self-care exercises, is successful at resolving headaches for many of my patients.  I address the cause of the problem, not the symptoms,  to help you end the pain and live life to its fullest! — Dr. K

1. Blau J, MacGregor E. Migraine and the neck. Headache. 1994;34:88–90.[PubMed]
2. Henry P, Dartigues J, Puymirat C, Peytour P, Lucas J. The association cervicalgia-headaches: An epidemiologic study. Cephalalgia. 1987;7(Suppl 6):189–190
3. Zito G, Jull G, Story I. Clinical tests of musculoskeletal dysfunction in the diagnosis of cervicogenic headache. Man Ther. 2006;11:118–12