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Dr. McLaren

How to live without headaches?

October 28th, 2019

Did you know, there are said to be around 300 different kinds and causes of headaches? Some of those headaches have similar causes and are put into groups. Two of those groups are ones that we see every day in our clinic:

The first one, is Temporomandibular Headaches. Those are caused by dysfunctions within the jaw joints and extra strains in the muscles that move the jaws; especially in the temples and cheek muscles.

The second group of headaches are called Cervicogenic Headaches. Cervico- means neck and -genic means beginning (as in Genesis); headaches that begin in the neck. As we will see, that is mostly true, but we now know more than when those headaches were first named.

There are major nerves, called the Greater Occipitals that come from the upper neck and the base of the skull, up over the top of the head and may end at the upper part of the eye. There is another pair, called the Lesser Occipitals which come from the bone behind your ear up into the temple area. These nerves pass through the neck muscles. When the neck muscles compress these nerves, a person can feel pain anywhere from the neck, to the eyes, or to the temples.

What is causing the headaches behind your eyes, or in your forehead or temples?


Headaches around or behind the eyes, in the forehead or temples are often caused by compressed nerves in the neck. People are likely to notice “muscle” tension in their neck at the same time they have a headache and not make the connection that the real cause of the headache is compressed nerves in their neck.

Compressed neck nerves can come from accidents such as whiplash or facial injuries, poor posture for prolonged periods such as being at a computer, texting, TV, driving, etc. Jaw dysfunctions can also cause alterations to neck posture – or any combination of the above.

However, there is a very big cause that is frequently overlooked!

Reduced nasal breathing alters and worsens neck posture which can impinge on the very nerves which can cause headaches; often causing chronic headaches for which “no cause can be determined.”


Do you or anyone you know have forward head posture?

For every inch that the head is held forward, it gains about 10 pounds of stress to the back and neck muscles and causes reduced neck mobility, neck pain, migraine and tension-type headache.

Every day in our clinic, we tell patients that breathing, especially nasal breathing, is our most biologically important function. It is also the least evaluated by healthcare providers!

A great little video which illustrates these concepts very clearly is “Airway and TMJ – English” on YouTube. Watch it several times. It contains a lot of information in three minutes. Most of the video is about the relation between reduced nasal breathing and TM joint problems, but the last portion illustrates the cervicogenic headache.

If you want to know more about what can be done to reduce or eliminate these kinds of headaches, call our office for an evaluation and see if you are a candidate for therapy.

To Your Better Health, Be Well,

Dr. Joe