Headaches 101: Tension Headaches

well this is Josh Van Buskirk over at

the Joshua Van Buskirk DC PC

chiropractic clinic and this is the

first of what hopefully will be many

video series when I talk about some

different health talk topics and

specifically conditions that relate to

our office and what we treat and the

first one I've been thinking about this

for a while a couple weeks while this my

tools were coming in the mail this tab

that I can draw on here was coming in

the mail I wanted to think about and

talk about tension headaches the reason

being is number one they're so common

the stats right now it's like 10 to 30%

of people have tension headaches and of

those 10 to 30 percent 3 percent have

chronic headaches meaning that they have

these tension headaches that don't go

away they're constant and it's nasty

stuff to to deal with because it's going

to affect what are called

in the medical community activities of

daily living it affects your work can

fix your hobbies you know how do you

interact with your family and so it can

be pretty nasty mean stuff and the

second reason I want to talk about this

is because I really do believe that

these ki-- can be serious that their

forecasts of things to come more serious

conditions to come it starts off with

just a little headache and then ends up

with with some serious conditions and

number 3 I want to talk about these

because in my office I've had I would

say my specialty is the neck and

headaches like we can take care of these

in just a second you know just a couple

visits we can take care of them and get

great results so I like headaches for

that reason is that they're easy and

they make me look good and so let's talk

about the cause of this tension headache

the tension headache number one is

caused by bad posture

every case is different but every case I

see has some similar presentation when

it comes to tension headaches like this

and I don't know if you can tell the

difference between these two people this

person here over in the right they have

what would be normal or good posture you

know the earhole lines up with the AC

joint and if we

looked further down the line we'd see

that lined up with his hips and his

ankle this a person like this if I saw

this person on the street and I came up

and asked them I guarantee that they

would have a whole bunch of problems

with headaches maybe they would but

probably they want it but this is what I

see all the time in the medical

community and in the physical therapy

world this presentation with the head

coming forward is called forward head

posture it's also called what I like to

refer to as upper cross syndrome and

this causes the these horrible headaches

that you get why why is it cause these

horrible headache so let's zoom in on

what's happening on the x-ray level if

you can see right here what I've done

and I've tried to drawn out I try to

zoom in on what would be happening on

the structures of the neck the

structures of the spine here is that

first presentation the spine should have

a nice curve like this this being the


this being the back that curve it does a

lot of things it distributes load it

acts like a spring we are basically

designed to have a curve like this in

our necks and what I've done right here

this is the disc basically when all this

is functioning like it should be we

don't have a lot of problems we do but

if we go over here to the right this is

that forward head posture and we see a

curve the curve has gone away we see

instead of it being like this

we see a lack of curve what's called a

decreased cervical lordosis or a failing

of the cervical curve it's got a bunch

of different names but what it means is

that there's no more that spring action

and if we zoom in a lot of different

things happen and they happen over a

long period of time if I was to draw the

muscles get into from color here

of the suboccipital triangle they would

be super tense and tight because the

weight of that head is coming straight

down and when the structures of the

regular the regular spinal structures

aren't able to carry that load the

muscles especially the sub occipital

muscles have to carry that load and it's

heavy it's a bugger but what I really

don't like is what I've zoomed in right

here this is a disc in the cervical

spine usually they're supposed to be

shaped like this they have a little bit

of a wedge shape that gives them that

that curve that we see over here what

happens when the head goes forward

load is placed on the front part of the

disc for a long period of time and the

disc slowly transforms from something

like this to something like this and

what eventually happens is we get what's

called a disc bulge or disc herniation

and these are bad bad bad bad bad bad

the reason being is if you can see this

right here I attempted to draw another

structure that is interacting in the

function of the neck that is a nerve and

when that disc bulges what's the first

thing that it it goes up against it you

guessed it goes up against the nerves

and cause a whole bunch of problems it

causes that tingling in the arms when

it's really bad it can cause you know

decreased bowel and bladder function it

can even cause it can cause loss of

sensation in the legs it's bad bad bad

bad stuff and so how can we prevent that

how can we prevent that how do I treat

how do I treat headaches in my office

and get rid of this number one thing

we're going to do is we're going to

change your muscles and we're going to

do that via the chiropractic adjustment

and we're going to do that via facial


you know how above I said at the very

top of the neck all those muscles get

tight you get knots in those areas what

are called trigger points well when we

when we give a proper chiropractic

adjustment what's sometimes called a

manipulation it releases the tension

that's on those spindle cells it breaks

up facial adhesions it increases

movement in joints that have been tight

and tense for a long time and as a

result when we see this happening we see

a decrease in the tension and therefore

a decrease in the tension headache it's

usually almost immediate people feel

better than they felt in a long time but

that's only half the battle

if we just started right there we want

to be doing a full service to you if

once we get you moving the way and we

release all the tension that's there we

have to make sure that it doesn't happen

again and this happens through exercises

we have to teach the body remember how

it used to be like this or its heads

gone forward and you have the head right

here you had that slouch forward posture

we have to teach that head to come back

we have to teach the muscles right here

to turn on and bring that head back over

the shoulders so how do you know if you

have problems how do you know if you're

at risk for a disc bulge well number one

if you're having tension headaches

that's that's that's a sign that

something's wrong that those muscles

aren't functioning the way they should

number two do a self check here's how

you can self check yourself right now go

have someone take a picture of you this

is going to be your head your rib cage I

know this isn't to scale and then we're

going to head your feet down to the side

I know I'm taking this picture sort of

from the side there's your arms if

someone looks at you exactly from the

side 1 2 3 4 structures should line up

right in a row number 1 your ear hole

should line up with your shoulder and

your shoulders should line up with the

top of your iliac crest which is that

that pelvic bone right there just feel

for the very top of it which should line

up with the bump of your ankle on the

outside called your lateral malleolus

taken from the side from a side profile

all these three should line up correctly

if they do you have the most efficient

correct posture known to man if you

don't you are being inefficient with

your spinal structures with your

muscular structures with your joint

structures and it's going to lead to

it's going to cause some of the

headaches that you have and further down

in the road if you don't take a kick get

it taken care of you're going to have

those those disc bulges last thing last

thing I'm going to tell you go to my


ww-wha then Buskirk dot-com I want you

to go under the videos section and I'm

going to also upload a video of some

exercises you can do to strengthen the

neck so that it doesn't go forward you

know like like we were talking about but

but strengthens it so that you stand

upright and have that upright neck

posture recently I'll just end with this

there was a study done and it was

published just in January no so this

very month it was published this very

month and the let me make sure I get

this right in the 8th in the annals of

international medicine and it was called

spinal manipulation medication or home

exercise with advice for acute and

subacute neck pain what they did is they

took they basically line lined up spinal

manipulation home exercises and they

compared it to drugs for for neck pain

and I think in tension headaches are you

can be classified in the in that and

that broader category of neck pain and

they saw which would do better and neck

manipulation where the or what could be

called the chiropractic adjustment did

better than drugs it did better it did

actually home X

sizes did just as well and sometimes a

little bit better than the chiropractic

adjustment so if you could just imagine

coupling the adjustment plus exercises

what results you would get the drugs

didn't do that good at all and the main

reason being is drugs are great when you

need them

but drugs just mask the pain you know

they just cover it up

they don't actually take care of what's

causing the pain so when when most

likely exercises and the chiropractic

adjustment would take care of that so so

do yourself a favor if you have neck

pain if you have tension headaches go

see your chiropractor give my office a

call and write that down here give our

office a call at six zero nine eight one

one five and see if if we can take care

of it for you don't become one of the

three percent one of the three percent

chronic neck pain people because it's

just it's just a horrible life to live

in it's totally totally probably

preventable if you do come and see us

but that is all until next video we are