Headaches from Trauma
Neck injuries are the most common cause of post-traumatic headaches. In a study of patients following rear-end motor accidents, 62 percent of people reported feeling neck pain within six to seventy-two hours, and of those, 82 percent also reported headache symptoms. Twelve weeks after the accident, 73 percent still had headaches (Packard 2002). Even accidents that may seem minor at the time may cause significant damage; in fact, there is little correlation between the damage to the vehicles or the speeds involved in the accident and the amount of injuries to soft tissue and the cervical spine. Slip and fall injuries can cause damage similar to whiplash. Whiplash injuries can lead to TMJ dysfunction, affecting the muscles in the face and causing headaches due to referred pain.
These types of injuries can cause long-term damage and ongoing problems. Because injured tissues are repaired with dense connective scar tissue, they lack the strength and elasticity of the original, normal tissue. The damaged area is easily reinjured due to weakness and limited range of motion, and the muscle is also more easily fatigued. Damage to muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, and other tissues in the neck, including the sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles, can lead to central sensitization and thus to chronic headaches (Packard 2002).
Though symptoms from whiplash injuries generally improve over a period of weeks or months, up to 40 percent of people have symptoms that last for more than six months and a small percent become disabled (Packard 2002). Often symptoms disappear after a short time, then recur later...
Great News: Treating Trigger Points Can Help!
Indy Myopain and other studies have shown that people who have headaches are almost twice as likely as healthy control subjects to have postural abnormalities, including head-forward posture, and to have trigger points in the back of the neck, particularly the suboccipital muscles. Interestingly, people with migraines were shown to have the same prevalence of postural abnormalities and number and location of trigger points as people with tension headaches, even when they tend to have one-sided migraines (Marcus et al. 1999).
People who suffer from both migraines and tension-type headaches are far more likely to have a greater number of active trigger points (Marcus et al. 1999). The greater the number of active trigger points, the more frequent and severe the headaches. With one-sided headaches, a greater number of active trigger points are located on the same side as the headache. Trigger points will be more tender during a headache and will probably be more tender just prior to and immediately after the headache.
This means that the probability of trigger points being part or all of the problem in the majority of headaches is likely to be high, and there are estimates that the majority of headaches are due at least in part to trigger points (Simons, Travell, and Simons 1999). So the great news is that you can probably relieve much or all of your headache pain with a combination of trigger point self-treatments [Chapters 10-18] and identifying and eliminating all the perpetuating factors [Part II] to the extent possible.
Treating Headaches with Trigger Point Therapy
If you have headaches, you are likely to have trigger points in your neck, back, leg, arm and head muscles that, when pressed, will refer pain to the areas where you normally feel your headaches... In all likelihood, trigger points in more than one muscle of the neck and head are causing overlapping referral patterns, so it is important to locate all of the trigger points involved.
Indy Myopain Relief Center believes it is important to treat trigger points when you don’t have a headache, thus preventing their re-occurrence. We really want to see you when you have a headaches so that we can find the cause and eliminate it in the first visit.