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Delayed onset of Headaches, Migraines and Vertigo

Can TODAYS symptoms be related to OLD injuries? 

What causes headaches, migraines and vertigo? Could it be something from the past? Years or even decades ago? Let’s take a look… 

When someone experiences a NEW problem (such as headaches, migraines or vertigo), we may evaluate all recent events to determine the onset of such symptoms. This is called a “recency bias.”

Symptoms that are triggered in the present, are actually the cause of some past event going back months, years or even decades. We can use the example of a car accident when you were 20 years old. If you are now 30-40 years old and starting to experience more or worsening symptoms, you may not connect the dots to your past… How can an injury from so long ago actually be the cause of what we are going through right now?

Why does it take time for Headaches, Migraines and Vertigo to appear?

There can be various reasons why some people may experience delayed symptom onset like headaches, migraines or vertigo after a car accident. Here are some possible explanations:

  1. Slow-developing injuries: Certain types of injuries, such as whiplash or traumatic brain injury, may not show immediate symptoms after a car accident. These injuries can develop gradually over time, and it may take several years before the symptoms become noticeable.
  2. Psychological factors: Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, and some people may develop psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety after the accident. These conditions can manifest as physical symptoms like headaches, migraines, or vertigo, and may take time to develop.
  3. Lifestyle changes: After a car accident, people may change their lifestyle habits or activity levels, which can contribute to the development of headaches, migraines, or vertigo. For example, they may start sitting at a desk for longer periods of time or have less physical activity, leading to headaches triggered by muscle tension or strain.
  4. Underlying conditions: Some people may already have underlying conditions that predispose them to headaches, migraines, or vertigo, and the car accident may be the cause of these conditions becoming more noticeable.

The Cervical Spine is THE KEY for treating Headaches, Migraines and Vertigo:

In a car accident, the neck can be subjected to sudden, violent movements that can cause it to move beyond its normal range of motion. This can result in several types of injuries, including whiplash-associated disorders (WAD), which are a group of musculoskeletal and neurological symptoms that can develop after a rapid acceleration-deceleration injury.

One common mechanism of injury in WAD is the hyperextension-hyperflexion mechanism, which occurs when the head and neck are suddenly thrown backward and then forward. This can cause the ligaments and soft tissues of the neck to stretch or tear, leading to inflammation and pain.

The misalignment of the neck can also cause vertebral subluxations, which are misalignments of the spinal vertebrae. These subluxations can put pressure on the nerves in the neck, which interferes with the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Over time, if these injuries are not professionally treated, they can lead to chronic pain and other symptoms such as headaches, migraines, or vertigo. The misalignment of the neck and the pressure on the nerves can cause irritation and inflammation, which triggers these, sometimes painful, symptoms. Misalignments of the neck can affect the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to the brain, which can contribute to the development of headaches or migraines. Additionally, the vestibular system in the inner ear may be altered, leading to vertigo.

It’s not just car accidents. It happens when we are kids too!

While WAD is commonly associated with car accidents, there are other types of injuries or activities that can cause these types of injuries, especially in younger individuals. Here are some examples:

  1. Sports injuries: Contact sports, such as football or rugby, can put young athletes at risk of neck injuries that can result in WAD. Gymnastics, cheerleading and other activities involving acrobatics and stunts may put the neck at risk.
  2. Falls: Falls from a height, such as from a tree or a playground structure, can cause WAD. Children and teenagers may fall during activities such as skateboarding or biking, resulting in neck injury.
  3. Physical altercations: Fights or physical altercations can result in injuries to the neck that can cause WAD.
  4. Poor posture: Poor posture habits, such as slouching or hunching over a computer or phone, can cause strain on the neck muscles.
  5. Repetitive strain: Activities that involve repetitive neck movements, such as playing an instrument or working in a job that requires constant bending of the neck, can lead to WAD over time.

It’s important to note that not all neck injuries will result in WAD, and the severity and onset of symptoms can vary from person to person. However, if you have experienced any of these types of injuries or activities and are experiencing symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, or vertigo, it’s important to seek professional attention to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

The Blair Technique for Headaches, Migraines and Vertigo

The Blair technique is a specific type of chiropractic adjustment that focuses on correcting vertebral subluxations in the upper cervical spine, particularly in the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae. It uses a gentle, precise and specific correction by hand without twisting or cracking the neck to unlock and restore the normal motion of the upper cervical vertebrae.

In contrast, spinal manipulation is a more general term that encompasses a variety of techniques used by chiropractors, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals to adjust the spine. Spinal manipulation may involve a range of techniques, including thrusting or twisting movements, to adjust the spine and alleviate pain or other symptoms.

The Blair technique is unique in that it is focused on correcting misalignments in the upper cervical spine, whereas other techniques may address misalignments throughout the entire spine. The Blair technique is also unique in that it is very specific, using detailed analysis and precise measurements to determine the exact location and direction of the misalignment, and then delivering a specific adjustment to correct it.

Overall, the Blair technique is a specialized form of chiropractic adjustment that is designed to be gentle, precise, specific, and focus on correcting misalignments in the upper cervical spine. It may be a good option for individuals who prefer a gentler approach to chiropractic care, or who have specific issues related to the upper cervical spine.

The big idea of the Blair technique is that by restoring the normal alignment, motion and stability at the junction between your head and neck, your own nervous system and its innate mechanisms are able to do what your body is designed to do- HEAL itself! And when that force is able to flow freely through your body from above-down, inside-out, anything is possible!

If you are looking for a chiropractor in Spokane, visit our homepage for more information. To schedule a new patient appointment with our Mead (north Spokane) or South Hill offices, complete a new patient request form here or call us direct at 509-315-8166.