How Chiropractic Can Help with Headaches and Migraines

Your ability to think clearly and calmly can help you process emotions, make sound decisions, and carry on with your day-to-day life with ease. However, that clarity can easily go away when you experience a massive headache or migraine.

While most people experience occasional headaches and migraines, others experience frequent bouts that significantly affects their ability to live their lives fully. Fortunately, nowadays, it is reassuring to know pain medications are no longer the only option available to treat debilitating migraines and headaches.

Research indicated that spinal manipulation, one of the primary treatments provided by chiropractors can be a very effective headache treatment alternative. Other effective headache interventions used by chiropractors include trigger point therapy, soft tissue therapy, and manual therapy.

A report published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) also indicated that chiropractic interventions for headaches and migraines have also been effective in addressing acute and chronic neck pain. Increased benefit was also reported in instances where multimodal approaches to neck pain was used.

headache treatment

Headache Triggers

Migraines and headaches can be attributed to many causes or “triggers.” Some of the triggers include environmental stimuli (stress, lights, noises, etc.), food, and behaviours (insomnia, blood sugar changes, excessive exercise, etc.).

At least 5 percent of headaches act as warning signals caused by other physical conditions. The remaining 95 percent are considered primary headaches (migraine, tension, or cluster). In other words, primary headaches are not caused or the result of other conditions. The headache itself is the primary concern.

A huge percentage of primary headaches are linked to muscle tension in the neck. People who lead sedentary lives or spend hours in one fixed posture or position (i.e. sitting in front of the TV or computer) are more prone to developing headaches.

In addition, sitting in a fixed position or posture for prolonged periods may also cause joint irritation as well as muscle tension in the scalp, upper back, and neck. In the long run, this can also lead to headaches.

Chiropractic Care and Headaches

Chiropractors can diagnose, assess, and manage headaches and migraine effectively. Some studies have also shown that chiropractic care has proven effective in treating tension and cervicogenic headaches. Other studies have also shown that chiropractic care has helped decrease the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Treatment options used by chiropractors for headaches can include:

  • Manual therapy
  • Soft tissue therapy
  • Modalities like ultrasound and electrical stimulation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lifestyle education and changes
  • Referral and co-management

Chiropractic adjustments or spinal manipulation have been known to help lessen the stress on the system and improve spinal function. In addition, your chiropractor may also provide advice on proper exercises, relaxation techniques, and ergonomics. Recommendations given can help address any tension in the muscles of the upper back and neck as well as relieve any recurring joint irritation.

As a general rule of thumb, it is important not to take frequent headaches lightly. Check with your chiropractor right away if you’ve been experiencing constant headaches for quite sometime and pain relievers have not provided any relief. In addition, seek immediate attention if you experience severe and sudden headaches accompanied by weakness, numbness, fever, stiff neck, or difficulty speaking.