Dr. John Shannon, Advanced Chiropractic Physician

Condition:  Chronic headaches and neck pain can have several causes.  Patients who have persistent headaches, especially tension-type headaches have typically one of three things going on.

  1. Trigger points in the trapezius muscle which causes contraction of that muscle which then attaches to the base of the skull.  This typically gives pain radiating over the top of the head to the eye.
  2. Additionally, the patient may have an occipital nerve impingement or friction right at the base of the skull.
  3. The patient may have because of chronic neck tightness in the muscle groups have a frictioning and/or compression of the sensory nerves (pain nerves in the cervical spine).

Cause:  The cause of this can be mechanical or trauma such as a whiplash injury which is unresolved.  What happens in many of these cases because of the trigger point activity or the mechanical difficulty as a result of the trauma, the muscles contract on an almost continuous basis.  Although this may be mild contracture, what this does is cause the skin to friction over the pain nerves, which are right under the skin.  Over time these nerves take on a life of their own, if you will, and continue to fire no matter what treatment you receive because they set up their own pain generation system.

Until the pain nerves just under the skin level are blocked and hydrodissected (meaning we take the compression off the pain nerves), can this condition be resolved completely.

Procedure:  The procedure is actually a simple one.  Using a very small needle (insulin needle) and non-narcotic, non-drug substances, each tender point of the pain fibers in the neck are marked following the nerve paths.  This may also include the occipital nerves at the base of the skull.  Each side is then injected with a small amount of solution to block the nerves as well as hydrodissect (that is open up pathways around the nerves so that the friction and compression ceases).  Many times, the patients hardly feel the injection itself.

The result is we block the transmission of the pain nerves as well as hydrodissecting the pain fibers to keep them from frictioning again.  This then relaxes the muscles which stops the frictioning process from continuing to go on and continuing to generate pain.  As the muscles relax, this takes care of the tension headache.

The procedure is typically done twice over two weeks and generally responses are an 80% improvement after the second procedure.  This treatment is extremely long-lasting if not permanent depending on the nature of your condition.

All of the substances we use, are non-toxic and have no know side effects.

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