Headaches and Chiropractic Care: Cervical Spinal Nerve One

If you suffer from headache pain, you may want to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor. Chiropractors are well-trained healthcare specialists who use hands-on diagnostic and treatment methods to treat spinal nerve problems such as headaches.   Spinal mobilization helps reduce headache pain because pinched nerves exiting the spine cause muscle tension and affect neck posture. Doctors of chiropractic adjust the vertebral column to improve spinal bone movement and position, and to reduce pressure on nerves. Chiropractors safely and effectively treat thousands of people every day with headache pain and other types of disorders caused by irritation of the spine and connected nerves and muscles. They do this by first evaluating which nerves need attention and which vertebrae need assistance.

The first cervical nerve affects headache pain because branches of this vital nerve travel to many muscles associated with the head, neck, and shoulders, affecting the dural tissue attached to the brain. Misalignment of the neck and ensuing muscle tension contribute to headache pain in the back of the head, the sides, even the front of the head. Cervical spinal nerve number one is a part of the vital nerves called peripheral nerves that affect neck pain and motion. These nerves are: the hypoglossal nerve, ventral and posterior rami of the cervical spinal nerves, suboccipital nerve and, ansa cervicalis nerve.

Muscles affecting the neck receive nerve transmission input from cervical spinal nerve one. The rectus capitus anterior and longus capitus muscles assist in neck flexion, and the rectus capitis lateralis muscle helps to stabilize the neck. Shoulder elevation performed by the levator scapulae muscle requires input from the cervical spinal nerve one. Other tissues comprised of the first cervical spinal nerve affect swallowing. These muscles include the glenohyoid, omohyoid, or thyrohyoid muscles, which affect the small cartilaginous hyoid bone. Each of these muscles, no matter how small, can impact pain in the head and neck. Chiropractic spinal mobilization to the neck, especially to the first cervical vertebra region, will improve the function of these nerves and surrounding tissues.

Chiropractors evaluate spinal integrity using gentle hands-on motion palpation and standard orthopedic diagnostic tests. The presence of pain at a spinal segment is one indication of a problem that needs attention. Other symptoms may include fixation of a vertebral segment that manifests as a lack of spinal motion with limited or painful neck range of motion. Changes may be visible on an x-ray, but imaging may not be necessary to diagnoses and treat vertebral subluxation. Nonetheless, be sure to let your chiropractor know if you have rheumatoid arthritis or have suffered an accident or injury that contributes to neck pain to assist in proper diagnosis and treatment.

In addition to the adjustment, chiropractors frequently utilize massage and other physical techniques to soothe injured areas and restore muscle function. He or she may provide rehabilitation measures and nutrition guidelines to assist the healing process further. 

Chiropractic benefits patients with headaches because it gets to the root of the problem and stimulates healing on many levels. Contact the offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, Acupuncture and Chiropractic services in Chapel Hill, NC, for more information.

Thank you to the experts at Acupractic Natural Healing Center for their input into chiropractic care and natural healing.