80% of 'intractable' headaches are caused by the cervical spine - 4 safe, DIY treatments

80% of ‘intractable’ headaches are caused by the cervical spine – 4 safe, DIY treatments

Symptoms of headache and fifth neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that affects the fifth cranial nerve, is more than just annoying. Some people have a mild headache, which can be relieved with some rest. For those with severe headaches, they may not only experience dizziness, but may also vomit. Trigeminal neuralgia is also known as the “No. 1 Pain in the World.”

The usual treatment for pain is to take analgesics, which can provide temporary relief. However, if dependence on the pain reliever develops, even if the dose is increased, it will eventually be ineffective.

Dr. Joo-Bin Wu, director of the Xinyitang Traditional Chinese Medical Clinic in Taiwan, believes that the key to most headaches and trigeminal neuralgia lies in the cervical spine. He has shared with us several self-treatment methods that can quickly relieve headaches and fifth neuralgia.

80% of chronic headaches and migraines are caused by a misalignment of the cervical spine

One of the causes of headaches that is not easily noticed is a misalignment of the cervical spine.

Many of Dr. Wu’s patients are those who have developed incurable headaches and dizziness after an accident such as a car accident, but the results of brain and cervical spine examinations using Western medicine techniques appear to be normal.

However, sometimes there can be clinical misdiagnosis. If the cervical spine is only slightly curved, X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may not necessarily show it.

In fact, according to Dr. Wu’s clinical trial, more than 80 percent of people with chronic migraines have cervical dystonia. In particular, the misalignment of the first and second vertebrae of the cervical spine would compress the blood vessels entering the brain from the neck, leading to a circulatory disorder. In addition, it can also compress nerve bundles, causing abnormal signals to be sent to the brain resulting in headaches.

Therefore, the key to treating headaches lies in the adjustment of the cervical spine.

Dr. Wu has a patient who has had headaches for seven years, and the painkillers have had no effects on his condition. Every day at 2 or 3 p.m. he had a headache, and the pain was so severe that he could only lie in bed and rest. Later, someone referred him for treatment at Dr. Wu’s clinic.

Dr. Wu performed a cervical spine examination on him and found that he had a misalignment of the cervical spine. By feeling his pulse, Dr. Wu discovered that the sick qi (i.e. vital energy) was stuck in his head.

After Dr. Wu adjusted his cervical spine backwards, he immediately felt that his headache had been reduced by 70 percent. Doctor Wu took his pulse again and found that his pulse was much calmer. Furthermore, his hands and feet were very cold due to the cold wave that day. However, after Dr. Wu adjusted the cervical spine, the patient’s hands and feet immediately improved.

Later, Dr. Wu prescribed him some traditional Chinese herbal powder to take home. Miraculously, the patient told him, during a follow-up visit, that his headache, which had lasted for seven years, was cured within three days after his last visit.

The “worst headache”: causes and symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia

There is another type of severe pain that can keep people awake at night and make them lose their will to live. It’s fifth nerve pain.

Western medicine has 10 pain levels, and fifth nerve pain belongs to levels 9 through 10, which is no less than labor pain. Therefore, trigeminal neuralgia is also known as the “world’s number one pain”.

The trigeminal nerves are the fifth pair of nerves in the brain, one on each side of the cheek. It is primarily responsible for facial sensation and the motor function of the muscles associated with chewing movements. As its name suggests, the trigeminal nerve has three branches.

  • Optic nerve: distributed in the orbital region.
  • Maxillary nerve: It is distributed near the maxillary bone.
  • Maxillary nerve: distributed around the lower row of teeth.

It is easy to misdiagnose trigeminal neuralgia, because the primary symptom for many people with trigeminal neuralgia is toothache, so they go to the dentist for treatment and extraction. Dr. Wu met a patient who had almost all of his teeth extracted, but his toothache hadn’t gone away yet. It was not until later that he was diagnosed with fifth neuralgia.

Although it is difficult to differentiate between fifth neuralgia and regular toothaches, there are some signs that can be used to detect fifth neuralgia, such as the nature and duration of the pain.

In the case of dental caries and dental nerve tremor, the pain tends to be relatively constant for a long time, lasting for half a day or one day. On the other hand, trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by a type of pain that resembles an electric shock, a needle prick, a cut, a tear or even a burning sensation, which is short-lived and sudden, and usually goes away afterwards. a few seconds. It’s like a sudden electric shock without warning.

Western medicine classifies fifth nerve pain as either primary or secondary. Primary trigeminal neuralgia is almost always idiopathic, while secondary trigeminal neuralgia may be due to tumors, aneurysms, or vascular malformations pressing on the trigeminal nerves.

The key to treating trigeminal neuralgia lies in adjusting the cervical spine

Western medicine typically uses two methods to treat fifth neuralgia, including medication and surgery.

Western physicians also consider trigeminal neuralgia to be intractable, because the usual pain medications are ineffective, and eventually anti-seizure medications must be used.

Regarding surgical methods, some surgeons use open cranial surgery, as they believe that because the trigeminal nerve is so close to the blood vessels, it causes inflammation and pain. So they use surgery to insert a small cushion between the blood vessel and the nerve to prevent contact. In addition, the gamma knife and nerve block are also used.

Some patients can be stable for a few years after this surgical treatment. However, in some cases, patients experience a relapse three months after surgery. One of Dr. Wu’s patients underwent seven repeat surgeries, and it was a harrowing experience.

According to Dr. Wu’s clinical experience, many patients with fifth neuritis have very stiff necks. Therefore, it was discovered that the main cause of fifth neuralgia, besides secondary causes, are mostly problems related to the cervical spine.

Some people may wonder, “The trigeminal nerves come directly from the brain. How can they be connected to the cervical spine?” In fact, the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve begins in the brain and extends down to the cervical spinal cord. When the cervical spine is out of balance, the neural inhibition of the abnormal activity is weakened. That is, the trigeminal nerve becomes very sensitive, and less stimulation would cause an increase in pain.

Traditional Chinese medicine can also treat fifth neuritis. Dr. Wu once took a course in otolaryngology and learned that bloodletting in the ear and stimulating auricle pressure can be effective in relieving trigeminal neuralgia.

Right after Dr. Wu took the course, many patients with trigeminal neuralgia came to his clinic. So Dr. Wu tried to spill blood in their ears. Many of them stopped their pain immediately.

Acupuncture can also be used. For example, Dr. Wu had a patient lie on his back and perform acupuncture at the width of one or two fingers from the cervical spine to the depth of the cervical vertebrae. This would stimulate the nerves around the cervical vertebrae, relax the cervical vertebrae, and open up blood and blood flow.

After acupuncture treatment, some patients did not immediately feel any pain, and more than half of them had positive results.

4 ways to adjust the cervical spine for headache and trigeminal neuralgia

Indeed, no matter what treatment methods are used, it is better to learn some self-adjustment techniques for the cervical spine. Below are Dr. Wu’s presentations of these methods.

  1. Acupuncture points massage Fengchi, Anmian and Wangu

Two Fengchi Points (GB-20): It is located behind the earlobe, towards the top of the neck and the base of the skull, in the lateral depressions only of the thickened tendons of the trapezius muscle.

Two anemia points (HN-54): They are located on either side of the neck, just behind the earlobe, just behind and just above the bony process of the mastoid processes.

Two points from Wangu (GB-12): It is located in the posterior and inferior depressions of the mastoid processes.

Lift your hands behind your head and massage the acupuncture points above with your thumbs. You just need to rub the muscles at the bottom of your skull to loosen them.

You can even use your thumb to close the acupuncture points and then vigorously shake your head. This is a better dynamic treatment, as the bones may return to their original position during the shaking process.

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  1. neck massage

With your palms resting on the back of your neck, use four fingers to knead the neck muscles, then switch hands.

During the kneading process, you will find a certain spot that is more painful. This is where the cervical spine is oblique. By relaxing the muscles here, your headache will be greatly relieved.

era era pictures

  1. slow head turning

Your upper body should be as flat and curved as low as possible, with your head extended outward. The focus is on keeping the cervical spine parallel to the floor.

Then, your neck can slowly move in any direction, nodding, shaking, and/or pulling.

Suppose your neck is moving at a certain angle, and you find that there is a spot where your neck is stuck, or it is very painful. Then let your neck stop here for 10 seconds, slowly pulling the joint in. Then, turn your neck out slightly, and pause again for another 10 seconds. The joint will be loosened a little more. Repeat this movement about three times, and the stuck joint will open.

You can also lie on your stomach with your elbows and forearms supported on the bed and do this slow head-turning technique. Do this before bed and when you wake up and your neck will feel very comfortable.

era era pictures

  1. Union Jack’s head turns

This method is like drawing a Union Jack in our head. Repeat the following steps five times each.

era era pictures

  1. Rotate your head 45 degrees up to the left, extend to the maximum, then return to the middle. Then turn your head 45 degrees up to the right, extend to the maximum, and return again to the middle.
  2. Turn your head to the left as far (without moving your shoulders), then turn it to the right as far as possible.
  3. Lift your head, look up, and then lower your head again.
  4. Slowly turn your head 45 degrees down to the left, then return to the middle; Then turn it 45 degrees down to the right, back to the middle. Repeat each set of movements five times.

It is better to do all four of the above groups, rather than just one, because each group of movements has its own benefits and can help the cervical spine.

Wu Ko Bin


Wu Kuo-pin is the supervisor of Taiwan’s Xinyitang Heart Clinic. In 2008, he began studying TCM and obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chinese Medicine in Taiwan.

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