Merrian-Webster defines migraines as; a condition marked by recurring moderate to severe headache with throbbing pain that usually lasts from four hours to three days, typically begins on one side of the head but may spread to both sides, is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, and is often followed by fatigue. There can be numerous triggers for migraines one of which is tension in the neck musculature. If one looks into current research you will find much support for cerviogenic (originating from the cervical spine) as a trigger for migraines. So, how does tension in the neck lead to throbbing in the head, nausea, and disturbed vision?
As ones neck musculature becomes tense (sitting with poor posture, exercise, mental stress, etc…) the muscles begin to produce asymmetrical forces on the vertebrae. This in turn can lead to a locking of the facet joints of the cervical vertebrae. Once locked an unequal pressure is put on the disk between the vertebrae, this pressure causes the disk to budge into the nerve. The nerve becomes irritated which then stimulates the nerves around it making them fire excessively. The nerves potentially affected by the upper cervical ganglion include the optic nerve (causing blurred vision) and the vagus nerve (causing nausea). You can now easily trace neck tension as a factor for migraines, but what to do about it?
Enter the ELDOA and become your own best therapist. The ELDOA is an exercise technique created by Dr. Guy Voyer that decompresses a given vertebral junction by creating forces above and below the given segment . For example, if one has tension in the musculature that inserts on the 4th cervical vertebrae causing a compression of the facet joints and pressure on the disk leading to pressure on the nerves that feed the upper cervical ganglion, you would want to decompress the facet joints with the C4 ELDOA. Once the facet joint is decompressed the bulge in the disk can recede which in turn decompresses the C4 nerve root lessening the irritation of the surrounding nerves while increasing blood flow to the brain.
The above video is a quick clip of the C4 ELDOA. Each ELDOA has multiple factors of progression and the exact techniques vary with the individual. I would highly recommend finding a certified ELDOA practitioner in your area before attempting the ELDOA on your own. Check out of free ebook at Pierce Family Wellness for more information on the ELDOA as well as our Facebook and YouTube pages. We also blog frequently about the ELDOA and other ways to take control of your health.
To you becoming your own best therapist,
BS Exercise Science, CMT, CHEK 3, ELDOA 2, MTA 1