What causes headache casefile

Origins of a sub-occipital headache.

What causes headache casefile when it's clearly not from the arthritis in the neck?

This patient takes you on a little tour of the causes of back of head headache, in this instance supposedly from arthritis of the neck.

Mrs P, a 73 year old woman, consulted me four months ago complaining of cervical neck and suboccipital pain, an ache in her right shoulder and tingling in her arm.

It all started after a terrible fall down a Dutch staircase when she cracked her head at the bottom against the plinth. She was diagnosed at the time with concussion and, otherwise just a few bruises.

Over the year she had various medical treatments with less than satisfactory results, perhaps because they attributed her headaches to arthritis. However, read on.

Three years ago she consulted her doctor again. "What's giving me such headaches and neck pain, Doctor?" X-rays were ordered. I'm not sure, but her doctor was probably shocked when s/he saw the rontgenfotos. I certainly was.

Back of head headache

Arthritis of the neck.

What causes headache casefile

What causes headache casefile takes you on a little tour of the causes of back of skull pain; in this case supposedly arthritis of the neck.

Mrs P's doctor told her that she had bad arthritis of the neck; that was the cause of her neck pain and headache. And she would have to learn to live with the pain. Anti inflammatory drugs and analgesics would help.  So she took his word for it. Twenty-five years of stiff neck and headache.

Did you know that over 200,000 Americans die every year from the side effects of medication. Luckily Mrs P was as strong as an ox, and the drugs hadn't had a major iatrogenic illness effect on her. Not yet.

Chiropractic help

Incidental findings are those that are true, but have no bearing on the condition being considered. For example, a patient may have high blood pressure, or poor eyesight, but it has no bearing on their headaches.

The reality of the situation I had to report honestly. She already knew from the examination that the skin in C5 dermatome was hypersensitive. Worse, there was motor weakness in the deltoid and biceps muscles in her right arm.

So I told her, Mrs P there is really much to be done. Your headaches are coming from the second vertebra at the top of your neck, and there is very little arthritis up there. The lower neck pain and weakness in your arm will be far more difficult.

Chiropractic help had much to offer to this what causes headache casefile but there were no promises of instant relief. With a long standing condition you have to be patient whilst your doctor tries different combinations of adjustments in order to correct the problem; and accept that it probably won't get completely better. Miracles we do at once but the impossible takes a little longer and may be unachievable.


There was one further complication, an important one. Mrs P had high blood pressure, controlled by medication: 150/70. That didn't bother me, but, a big BUT, in 2003 she had several TIAs and then a stroke. She was certainly in the high risk group for upper cervical manipulation. Read more about stroke chiropractic.

So we started conservatively with mobilisation of the lower part which had so much arthritis of the neck, use of an activator instrument for her C2 fixation, and adjustment of the AcromioClavicular joint fixation in her right shoulder.

Bingo! After only 4 treatments she said she had 40% less pain and could sleep normally. Eventually, after discussing the risks I have been very gently adjusting her upper cervical spine, whilst mobilising the lower arthritic neck.

I had to pinch myself yesterday. There's absolutely no hope of get properly better so she has joined that group who come in "onder controle'. Chiropractic Maintenance Care is controversial but coming in for her six weekly treatment she declared she has no headaches and minimal neck pain. It's stiff without a doubt, but she's sleeping normally for the first time in years.

Unfortunately she slipped on the ice last week, and her inversion sprain of the ankle is a beauty. There Chiropractic excels in too. Read more about Chiropractic Ankle Sprain treatment.

What made the difference?


The treatment, yes of course, but just as important a careful, thorough physical examination that revealed that her real pain, the suboccipital headaches, was not coming from the arthritic lower neck.

Her lower neck is a mess too, but in comparison to her upper neck troubles ... she's one very happy lady. Now to fix her ankle!

Pinched nerve in neck

Pinched nerve in neck is often posture related. Never underestimate the effect of long hours in front of the computer and and our bad habits on the spine. They can be devastating. Right now I've moved back to my native South Africa, and my set-up at the computer can only be described as terrible. We'll change it within a week, already I can feel the effect in my neck, arm and shoulders.

A PINCHED NERVE IN NECK should be a major consideration in every what causes headache casefile.

Woman holding a telephone wedged between her ear and shoulder.




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Is your retirement full of fun things? It should be! Retire and expire of boredom? Retirement sentiments ...

Today I've been editing Book III, The Return from the trilogy A Family Affair, weeded the green beans and put fresh new wax into my beehives, in preparation for the honey flow that's just begun. Life is full... hope you did something more than watch TV!

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.