What do my flat feet have to do with my headaches?

Dr Leisa

In many cases, a lot. Your feet are the base of your posture. They’re responsible for how we stand and walk. Your gait is important, as it can affect ankles, knees, hips, and the spine. Many migraines are caused by mechanical dysfunction of the upper cervical spine. Think of our bodies like a puppet. Our leg muscles ( and others ) act like the strings. If you pronate when you walk, or roll your ankles inward, this is like the puppeteer pulling on the string of the outer side of the leg of the puppet. For us, that would greatly affect the ankle and knee. Once the ankle and knee are affected, it affects how the thigh bone works within the hip joint. This will affect the pelvis and therefore affect the spine, even the top of the neck at the skull. Everything is connected. Alignment of many of the joints in the body that are weight-bearing, may affect headaches as well. By just taking medication or injection to stop the headache, may not be the best answer if the structural issues are not addressed.

How Do I Know If I’m Not Waking right?

You can have a digital, weight bearing scan of your feet. I’m not talking about generic scanners in the expensive footwear stores in the mall, I’m talking about a scan in the doctor’s office. Years ago, we used Styrofoam forms that the patient would stand in to take a mold of the bottom of their feet. We would then send that form to the orthotic lab, and a couple weeks later, custom made orthotics made for your feet only, would be sent back to our office. Today, we have digital scanners that can do that and be instantly emailed directly to the lab. The one I use in my office, actually takes 16 measurements of your feet while you stand on it. It also shows us how your three arches are working. Yes we have three arches ,not just the medial arch we all know of. There is both a transverse and lateral arch as well. If any of these three arches have fallen, or are affected in any way, there will be a compromise to your gait. Once again, this affects other weight-bearing joints in your body. Because I’ve been doing this for 24 years, when a patient walks into my office, I can usually tell what symptoms they will be complaining of just by watching how they walk.

There are many causes of headaches, as we know. Of course gait is not necessarily responsible for all type of headaches. However, if you are trying to resolve a serious condition like migraines, and you are not walking properly, this may greatly affect your recovery. So many patients I’ve seen who complain of different types of headaches, have mechanical dysfunction of the muscles and vertebrae at the base and their skull. They are very short and powerful muscles that connect to the upper cervical vertebrae. In many cases, certain adjustments can be done to correct this. Not all types of adjustments have to include popping of the neck. I also incorporate acupuncture and electrical muscle stimulation or ultrasound. This combination of therapies helps to correct the dysfunction in that area, and, as mentioned above, may have been caused by improper gait. Once the feet are scanned, we commonly see gait dysfunction. Patients will generally say that they have some pain in certain areas of their feet that correspond to the scan.

If you, or someone you know suffers from headaches, please pass this information on. It may help them to recover and get their life back.

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Leisa-Marie Grgula, D.C.
Chiropractic Physician
Accurate Care Pain Relief Center
21043 N. Cave Creek Rd. #A9
Phoenix, AZ 85024