What is Causing my Headache?: Part 1. Spinal Joint Alignment

What is Causing my Headache?  This multiple article series will help you figure out what has gone wrong within your body to create the presentation of a pain somewhere in the head. I can never find the write images to communicate my message, so join me as I learn to sketch again and draw on my ipad, note 4, and with pencil/pen/and charcoal. surfer-headache-spinal-joint-alignment

Headaches are a common condition that Doctor’s of Chiropractic treat. I have seen a vast array of headache types and have been able to provide relief. Headaches were a condition I battled with until I found the techniques I’ll be discussing in this series of articles.

The First Cause Of headaches


Fig. 1

Neck (cervical) spinal joints are the one of chiropractic’s main specialties and the first cause of headaches we will be looking into.

Facet Joints

These joints are called Facet Joints circled in red. The occiput is the base of your skull, it moves upon your first cervical vertebrate, called your atlas.  The atlas or C1 and axis C2 connect together at the joint and are surrounded by a joint capsule (See red circles in Fig. 1). They allow you the ability to turn, flex, and bend your head.

The joint capsule is filled with nerve endings and these nerve endings feed back into your central nervous system (see Fig. 2). This is a drawing of the brain and spinal cord. All your joints and muscles communicate back to the spinal cord and your brain.


Fig. 2

In Summary

Imbalanced movements of any joint of the upper neck, can relay pain signals to the brain.

This can cause abnormal muscle spasm and pain signals into the face and scalp.

Your joints could be relaying pain signals that are the cause of you headache.

Headache Relief

Now that we have answered the questions “what is causing my headache?” its time to get headache relief. Getting your joint movement and alignment analyzed by a Functional Chiropractor can help relieve headaches.

Patients report almost every week to our office with a headache referred from a joint in the cervical spine that is not functioning properly. If you have sought out other treatments and doctor’s without help, you owe it to yourself to get your spinal joints analyzed at Day Wellness.

Will it be painful to get a Chiropractic Adjustment? No, we offer gentle methods if you are apprehensive of a popping sound in your neck, and scale our treatment intensity to your pain level.
Many patients get their joints aligned with little to no force treatment options we provide.

How Can a tell if I have a Joint issue? The chiropractor’s main analysis tool is their highly trained hands. By analyzing normal movement, joint imbalance can be detected simply and easily. Other methods for detecting issues are X-ray, range of motion analysis.

We take a holistic look at your case:  See our multiple part Series Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

A little extra for those readers that want even more info about their headache.


Fig. 3

Here are some the patterns of cervical nerves and how they provide sensation to our scalp and head. This does not explore the muscles that are innervated by the cervical nerves whose referral patterns are even more detailed (see part 2 – Muscle Referral Patterns).

As you can see C2 and C3 provide a large amount of sensory nerve signals to the head and scalp. We often find the joints associated with those nerves to be problematic in long term headache sufferers.

Read the full series: What is Causing My Headache:

Part 1. Spinal Joint Alignment
Part 2. Muscle Referral Patterns
Part 3. A Functional Medicine Approach
Part 4. Posture A Headache Cure
Part 5. TMJ Headache Relief
Part 6. Food Sensitivities – Coming Soon


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