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Pressure on the Upper Nerves Often Causes Headaches

Posted Jul 03 2010 12:00am

 Headaches can be a very aggravating condition.  They can often prevent individuals from performing their job, concentrating, even sleeping adequately. 

One common trait is that headache sufferers often have tight neck and upper back muscles .  This can often create pressure on upper neck nerves and blood vessels which will cause headaches.  The top three nerves in the spine travel up into the head, so pressure on these nerves can often directly cause a headache. 

When we are talking about upper nerves we are referring to the top most cervical neves.  Basically at each spinal level a nerve root exits the spine off of the spinal cord and out the vertebral foramen.  The nerve root branches into smaller and smaller nerves supplying the head and body.


Suboccipital muscles posterior view Typically most of the muscles are innervated by nearby nerve levels.  So the suboccipital muscles, upper paraspinal muscles, and upper trapezius muscles are most commonly involved. 


The cervical traction pillow helps to relieve the muscle tension thus relaxing pressure on nerves or blood vessels, helping to relieve a headache.  An individual may want to use a traction device as well, muscle massage to the neck, and even gentle neck stretches to help prevent further headaches. 


Always keep in mind, however, that there can be other contributing factors to your headaches like allergies, stress, certain odors, and fatigue. 

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