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Migraine Headaches and C5 C6 Cervical Disc Disease and the digastric

Migraine headaches and  C5 C6 cervical disc disease commonly occur together.  The commonality between migraine headaches and C5 C6 cervical disc disease  is that tight muscles in the upper body and neck cause both problems. The migraine sufferer must address muscular tension in the neck to resolve migraine pain. Another critical area that causes migraines is the jaw muscle, the digastric. Migraine therapy involves treating the jaw, the neck, and the upper body. One tried approach has been seeking long term chiropractic treatment in the hope that regular adjustments would dismiss the herniation (or degeneration) in the C5, C6 region and solve  migraine pain at the same time.  The new migraine headache specialist is trained in Active Isolated Stretching.

Migraine headaches and C5 C6 problems are caused by excessive muscular tension

Migraine headaches and C5 C6 cervical disc abnormalities are both affected by inflexibility in numerous upper body muscles. Tightness in the neck muscles –  the scalenes, the sternocleidomastoid, the levator scapula, creates excessive stress on the cervical discs. This excessive pressure causes the discs to herniate or degenerate. Furthermore, cervical disc disease is caused by more than just tight neck muscles, it also involves tightness in the chest, upper arms, shoulders, and upper back muscles. These areas are the base on which the neck rests. If the base is abnormally tight, then the neck muscles cannot unwind.

All the above mentioned muscular areas affect migraine headaches too. When the upper body is tight, and the neck muscles are tight, these muscles will pull on the skull. Muscles of the neck attach at the skull and the shoulder. This pulling strain causes migraine headaches. The trapezius muscle is one of the prime bandits that pulls on the base of the skull, the occiput.

The jaw: a source of migraine headache pain

The other essential area in migraine pain are the muscles of the jaw. Migraine pain will not be solved until the digastric jaw muscle is relaxed. Cranial nerves pass under  the digastric. When the digastric muscle gets tight, it can press into the cranial nerves which induces pain signals to the head. Tightness in the jaw is connected to muscular inflexibility in the upper body and neck muscles.  Active Isolated Stretching therapy focuses on the numerous muscles causing migraines. Muscles work in groups. An advanced practitioner of Active Isolated Stretching is a migraine headache specialist.

Treating migraines and treating C5, C6 cervical disc disease is part of the same process. What helps migraines will also help C5, C6 issues. People who suffer from migraines headaches and C5 C6 issues are also affected by cervical neck issues. However, not all people with C5, C6 deterioration will experience migraine headaches.

Other treatment options for migraines

Chiropractors have suggested that adjustments will cure C5, C6 abnormalities; That the source of migraine headaches and  C5 C6 disc disease may result from a subluxation. Unfortunately, chiropractic has not linked the relationship between subluxation and muscle tightness. Chiropractic and AIS can work well together. If migraine sufferers have tried chiropractic alone and are still in pain, then the new approach is Active Isolated Stretching which skillfully releases overly tense upper body muscles; getting to the root cause of migraine headaches and C5 C6 cervical disc disease. Some will supplement AIS treatment with chiropractic adjustments. If they do, the chiropractic adjustments will be more productive after Active Isolated Stretching (AIS first, then chiropractic). Others will decide not to follow-up AIS with chiropractic.  Either way, Active Isolated Stretching will be effective at resolving migraine headaches and C5 C6 issues.

How can something so simple as stretching solve migraine headaches?

It is important to note that Active Isolated Stretching is not to be confused with ordinary stretching. AIS  is capable of producing lasting changes to myofascial pain syndromes. Migraine headaches are a myofascial pain syndrome. This means that the cause of migraine headaches are related to the muscles and the fascia (connective tissue that surround and weave through the muscles). In the case of migraines, the area of focus is the upper body. AIS  treatment focuses on opening the chest, upper back, neck, and jaw muscles to resolve migraine head pain. If you are a migraine sufferer, ask yourself if these areas are overly tight? The approach is comprehensive but simple.

Distinguishing marks of Active Isolated Stretching

Distinguishing marks of AIS are: 1.)You can not open the neck muscles until you open the chest, shoulder, and upper back muscles. 2.) A target muscle (particularly a tw0-jointed muscle) must be opened at six points to completely open it. No other form of stretching advocates either of these two theories which is why ordinary stretching has been unable to resolve migraine headaches and C5 C6 cervical disc herniation or degeneration.

AIS practitioners that treat migraine headaches are a small group

The number of advanced AIS practitioners who can competently handle migraines is small. Maybe fifty. Those suffering from migraines will typically go any distance to be treated by a good migraine headache specialist. Travel may be necessary. Expect session length to be multiple hours. After one or two sessions, the sufferer will notice productive changes.


Migraine headaches and C5 C6

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14 Responses to Migraine Headaches and C5 C6 Cervical Disc Disease and the digastric

  1. I have suffered for years with migraine pain A recent x ray showed significant degeneration of C5 and C6 discs This week I am going for an MRI scan This article on AIS has been very useful I wish I had known about this technique years ago perhaps I would have suffered from fewer migraine attacks

  2. The number of AIS practitioners who can “completely handle” migraines is 0. ZERO. Why? Because people qualified in stretching are not NEUROLOGISTS. Migraines are not a myofascial pain syndrome (a term for deep/aching muscle pain). Migraines are the result of chemical imbalances in the brain (a drop in serotonin), problems with blood vessel constriction/dilation, issues with the trigeminal nerve, and so on. All the stretching and worthless chiropractic adjustments in the world are not going to fix a serotonin imbalance.

    Treating migraines and C5-C6 disc disease/radiculopathy is not the same and only a neurosurgeon, not even an orthopedic spinal surgeon, would deal with both.

    Stretching sessions with one of your “experts” is as worthless as a visit to the chiropractor. People will feel fine for a few hours until those muscles tighten right back up either out of atrophy or to protect an injury. STRENGTHENING those muscle groups if there is no surgery required is the only path to long term relief.

    Selling chronic pain sufferers on this BS program and telling them they may have to travel, etc is absolutely pathetic. You want to help people? Tell them the truth.

  3. I would really appreciate it if someone could explain or help me understand my pain issues that are driving me insane, and causing some serious anxiety issues, purely because I just cant get help where I am living.

    I know I don’t live in the same country as you. I live in _____________, But for the last three years no doctor seems to want to help me regarding my pain issues, and every where I go they just want to put me on anxiety tabs, im anxious, yes but purely because of the pain, and its taking its toll on my job.

    I am a 40 year old male, I have had an MRI and x-ray, and I will write down the results below, and if you may be so kind try and explain, if these ailments would be causing my symptoms.

    Just a quick medical history, I have high blood pressure and a blood problem called polycythemia, cause of it is still a mystery.

    My Pain symptoms are as follows: Firstly I would like to say the pain is all left sided only. (Which causes my anxiety levels to rise)

    It’s a sharp intense burning pain from the base of my skull down my left side of the neck (I think it’s the trap muscle) to my whole left side of chest (sternum and ribs) front and back (shoulder blade area) it shoots straight through. Its like a continous very very sharp stabbing like feeling, often associated with electric like sensations, it goes down my left arm to my left hand. I have this pain all day every day, but I must say as soon as I lie down on my back, it does subside a bit, but clearly I cant do that all day, I have to work. I work at a computor all day. But also what drives me insane is the dizziness and headaches that drive me mad. When I say dizziness not the spinning sensation, just like a whooshing sensation and that’s also one thing I also get at the base of my skull I get this like whooshing sensation (that’s the only way I can describe it)

    These are my Mri results from august 2011
    C4/C5 Shallow posterior disc bulge associated with right paracentral annular fissure. Advanced Hypertrophic left sided facet degeneration with oedema related to the opposing articular facets extending into the left C4 & C5 Pedicles.
    Synovial / Capsular soft tissue extends into the neural foramen resulting in moderate foraminal narrowing and it abuts and deforms the exiting left C5 nerve root.

    C5/C6 Disc height reduced with shallow disc bulgeging with a small central posterior radial annular fissure. Severe left sided facet degeneration with encroachment upon the left neural foramen.

    C6/C7 Posterior disc bulging with right paracentral annular fissure

    L1/L2 Patchy disc dessication anteriorly with associated ventral disc height loss. There is mild disc bulging with anterior endplate osteophtosis.

    This is my X-Ray results from Non 2010.
    Cervical spondylitis with left C5 nerve root damage. Left sided facet joint Arthrosis at C4,C5 & C6 levels. Slight elongation of the right C7 Transverse process. And thoracocervical curve convex to the right.

    If you could maybe help and explain if this is causing my left sided pain issues ,dizziness and headaches up the side of my face and jaw pain, it would be much appreciated.

    Kev P.

    • Kevin P.

      It seems that part of your pain syndromes is related to your polycythemia. You know that, right?

      Additionally, yes it does seem like your pain syndromes are being caused by a musculoskeletal abnormality. How much AIS treatment would help the blood disorder, I’m not sure. I would need more time
      to research that.
      Additionally, I’m not sure that my speculations are accurate because I haven’t met with you. Real conclusions come from individual treatment sessions.
      From what you tell me, you’ve also got a number of postural problems that are contributing to the headaches, dizziness, pain in the trapezius muscle, and shooting pains down the arm and hand. I see these type of issues regularly.
      You stated that you feel better when you lie down. This leads me to theorize that in addition to your trapezius muscle being irregular, your chest (pectoral) muscles and sternocleidomastoid (a neck) muscle is also abnormally tight. This is a frequent pattern among extended-use computer workers. The head begins to jut forward and the shoulders become rounded forward from staring at the screen. This imbalance puts more strain on the trapezius muscle in the back of the neck because the weight of the skull is falling forward. This pattern is very common in modern times. When you lie down, you are able to remove the strain on the trapezius because the head and shoulders are not jutting forward. So the strain and stress pattern is temporarily inactive.

      As your shoulders become more rounded, this causes the chest muscles to collapse. This action causes the sternocleidomastoid muscle in your neck to tighten. The sternocleidomastoid is connected from the jaw line (the mastoid process) to the chest bones (the sternum). When these muscles are shortened and inflamed, they can press into the nerves that run from the neck to the hand. This is what causes the short circuit feeling going into your arm and hand. Removing the muscle inflammation in your upper body will correct the nerves in your neck from being pinched.

      Maybe this is you: You’ve got tightness in the back of your neck at the trapezius, tightness in your chest muscles, and tightness in the sternocleidomastoid muscle (neck). From this process another muscle that becomes irregular is the digastric muscle of the jaw. The digastric muscle in underneath the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Its a jaw muscle. Releasing the digastric will also help your headaches because the cranial nerves flow underneath the digastric muscle. A tightened digastric will also cause problems with dizziness because it is close to the ear and it can interfere with a person’s sense of balance.

      The process I am explaining is performed in AIS therapy. While there aren’t any practitioners that I know of in Australia, I am soon to release an instructional video that will teach people how to do the self-performed aspect of Active Isolated Stretching. In the future, I hope to make more instructional videos that will further help people like yourself deal with issues that perplex physicians and surgeons.

      I hope that I’ve been able to offer an explanation that is substantial and of value.

      Kind regards,

      Anthony Ohm

  4. I live in Honolulu, Oahu and I would like to schedule treatment sessions for my horrible migraine headaches. I see that your office is close to Waikiki. I’ve had a long history of neck pain and I always felt that it was related to my migraines. Your article was the first to clarify my undocumented opinion. I love your website. Thank you!

  5. Cervicogenic Migraines are very common. However, It seems to be a possibility that the muscles of the neck and the disc problems are chicken-and-the-egg effect…by fixing the disc problem, the muscle tension disappears…but I’m sure it may be the other way around too…or is this more prevention based…with Active Isolated Stretching?

    • To Chad Crandall,

      My thesis is that migraines are an outgrowth of untreated muscular tension in the neck and upper body muscles. Millions of people suffer from this problem and I believe that the Active Isolated Stretching method has something uniquely different to treat this condition.

      A disc problem is commonly a causal effect of abnormal muscular tension in upper body muscles, including but not limited to excessive tension in the neck muscles. Additionally (and usually unrecognized) is excessive tension in the chest, upper arms, shoulders, upper back… all contributing to disc problems in the neck. The first approach to treating cervical disc issues should be unwinding “all” these targeted muscles using the AIS system.

      Active Isolated Stretching method is a treatment solution to migraines and cervical disc issues. Additionally, if people were to undergo AIS therapy before disorders intensified, then it would also be an excellent prevention based therapy.

  6. I have had basilar, hemiplegic and vestibular migraines for about 14 months. It got so bad and so frequent that I’m off work and on disability (thank God for disability insurance). I have had every test the doctors can think of: CT, MRI, MRA, EEG. aand found nothing. I have had regular migraines since I was about 12 but they were just bad headaches with vomiting and light sensitivity – the were vere infrequent. Now I’m having terribloe “complicated” migraines an averege of 2 or 3 days long then a couple oe of days without a heaadache thenn 2 or3 more days of headache. No one seem to have any idea why. One clue may be that my right pupil dilates before and during a headche. My doctor saw me once in the middle of a Hemiplegic migraine when I was paralylyed completely on my right side and my right pupil was fully dilated and noy reactive to light.
    As soon as the headache is over the nuerological symptoms go away with very little or no lasting effects.

    • To Rich Kaizen,

      Sorry to learn that you are suffering with these horrendous migraines. Here’s some questions to ask to see if AIS therapy will help you.
      Do you feel muscle stiffness in these areas: chest, triceps, deltoids, rhomboids, sternocleidomastoid neck muscle, scalene muscles, trapezius, and jaw muscles?

      If you feel like you have tension in more than a few of these areas (neck, chest, upper arms, upper back, jaw), then what do you have to lose by trying AIS treatment for your migraines?
      The two most common reasons that people seek medical advice is headaches and back pain. If medical treatment doesn’t work, then you’ve got to start looking at other possibilites.
      Muscles pull on the skeletal frame. And nerves run under or through muscles. So if a series of muscles are shortened, this could be the cause of migraine head pain.
      I am suggesting that there is an solution for migraine pain. Something that is completely different, a new approach for migraine therapy.
      Best regards,
      Anthony Ohm

  7. I have recently started having migraine headaches, (April 2011) and the are coming with an Aura in my right eye. I have seen my doctor, and a neurologist, and have also had a CT scan to rule out any anurism issues. I have recently moved to Italy, and believe that the relative humidity is aggravating the ‘normal’ tension that I carry in my neck and upper back. After reading your article, I am relieved to know that it is likely a muscular issue and not a brain or eye issue. I am praying for help with the issue, as I am dealing with 2 small children, my husband is overseas, and a debilitating headache is not really needed or welcome! Thanks for any help!

  8. Reading your article on AIS has sparked my interest.I suffer with chronic neck,head ,shoulder,severe headache pain.Ihave been diagnosed with cervical disc disorder.In addition i had 3 lower lumbar surgeries-Laminectomy,L4-5 & Lumbar fusion of L4-5,S1.;and have a Medtronic Spinal stimulator for bilateral leg pain.Needles to say,I suffer pain issues daily.

    Thank you for enlightening me in this specialized approach to treat cervical,head and headache pain.

    Sincerely, Fran Mc

  9. What is the best migraine cure?…

    People that suffer from migraines have to look at the affect of muscular tension in the upper body, neck, and jaw muscles. When the neck muscles are strained they pull on skull which causes head pain. Additionally, successful removal of migraines requi…

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Anthony Ohm is a pain specialist and a sports therapist. The technique is called Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening(AIS). Treatment is available in Honolulu, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California The AIS method is highly beneficial for: disc issues, chronic physical pain, pain related to aging, arthritis, bursitis, sciatica, neuropathy, Parkinson's disease, and much much more... However you are presenting, whether you are crippled or a professional athlete, AIS treatment will put you in better physical condition than your current state.