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Headaches - Muscle Tension "Migraine"

(The following is excerpted from an article published by Dr. Young for The Journal of the American Naprapathic Association)

90% of all headaches are muscle tension caused, making this by far the most common type of headache. Approximately 3% of the population has chronic tension-type headaches. The most common correlate to explain the relentless muscle tension along the upper back, shoulders, and neck is IMBALANCE. What kind of imbalance?- imbalance of the vertebral column and imbalance in the normal symmetric muscle tension. Just as in all physical systems, when balance is restored function normalizes and pain just disappears, even chronic and persistent pain.

It must be remembered that the restoration of balance necessary to correct structural headaches is three dimensional. This should be kept in mind lest we should oversimplify the steps needed to fix the headache symptoms. Thus, simple trapezius muscle techniques as in physical therapy or with trigger point injections (steroids, neurotoxins) will generally be ineffective in the long run and will frustrate the patient. This is because these treatments only produce a temporary improvement in only one vector of the imbalance, in this case, the "side-to-side" vector, also known as the coronal plane. In fact, most structural muscle tension headaches are due to imbalance in the other two planes, the front-to-back vector (sagittal plane) and the teeter-tauter vector (transverse plane).

The practitioner must eliminate the imbalances of all three vectors if he is to be successful in eliminating those chronic, recurring headaches. If he misses the front-to-back correction the head will remain in protraction in relation to the spine and no relief of the strained neck muscles will occur. If he misses the teeter-tauter, or tipped vertebra, predominantly the C1 segment, or atlas, traction on either the occipital nerves or the vertebral artery will remain causing the continued headache and possible related symptoms including light-headedness, dizziness, or visual disturbances.

Since the problem is predominantly one of muscle imbalance the patient must be made a co-therapist in his recovery. He should be given the most current muscle tension migraine exercises designed to strengthen him as a symmetric and stable system. This gives him control of the headaches and thus, immediately improves his outlook. The therapist and patient will work together toward this goal.

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