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Headaches

Headaches, like any pain, can quickly have a negative impact on your lifestyle. We spend much of our time chasing the symptoms of a headache because they make us feel so miserable. Headaches can have many causes, from vision, stress, ergonomics, posture, muscle imbalance, etc.

General Anatomy

Bones
Provides structural support for the body and serves as an anchor points for ligaments and tendons.

Ligaments
Ligaments are non-elastic tissues which connect one bone to another bone giving our body structure its stability. When frequently or severely injured, ligaments become "stretched out" causing the joint to become loose or more unstable. Ligaments have a poor blood supply so have a tendency to heal more slowly than other tissues. Injuries to ligaments are called "sprains".

Tendons
Tendons are elastic tissues that connect a muscle to a bone.

Muscles
Muscles are elastic tissues. Muscles and tendons work together to create the body's motion. Injuries to muscles and tendons are called "strains".

Cartilage
Cartilage is the spongy material that lines the ends of the bones. It works as the body's "shock absorber", helping to cushion the impact placed upon the bones during activity as well as directly protecting the ends of the bones. This is called articular cartilage.

Bursa
Bursa are fluid filled sacs that lie between tissues or tissues and bones preventing friction.

Bones

When considering headaches, it is very important to consider the structure of the back and neck. If we have poor back and neck alignment or poor muscular balance then the head is directly affected. There are 3 primary sections of the back and between them all there are 24 vertebrae. When aligned properly they distribute stress evenly, but if there is poor alignment then the amount of stress at the head and neck can increasing our chances of headaches.

If we have poor posture (slouched or forward head), the amount of stress at our head increases; this is a very common occurrence for most of us work in a forward bent posture and over time this will take it's toll on our bodies.

Spinal Diagram Bones of the Head The Dangers of Forward Head Posture Posture Diagram

Nerves

There are networks of nerves (and blood vessels) that run up the skull underneath the scalp that when compressed can cause headaches.

Brachial Plexus
The "Brachial Plexus" is a major branch of nerves that exits the neck and travels down the shoulder and arm to the hand. These nerves can become irritated at any level causing pain/numbness/tingling, etc. Even though these originate at the neck, symptoms can sometimes appear in the arm and hand. The nerves of the brachial plexus can become compressed by slouching and forward head postures.

Major Nerves of the Head Brachial Plexus Nerves of the Shoulder and Arm

Muscles

Tight muscles can lead cause compression of the underlying blood vessels and nerves creating headaches.

Tilted View of the Neck Muscles Posture Diagram Tightened Muscles of the Neck Types of Headaches Back View of the Neck Muscles