Can a Chiropractor Help With Headaches?

When many people think of chiropractic, they imagine a doctor that takes care of the back. But chiropractors also successfully treat a variety other conditions, including a headache.

Often, the cause of headaches originates in the spine. For migraines, when the vertebrae in the spine are misaligned (subluxation), this can irritate or compress nerves that travel to the brain through the spine. This can cause chemical imbalances in the brain that a trigger migraine. Chiropractors carefully adjust the spine to its normal position, relieving the pressure on inflamed nerves and allowing them to heal.

Similarly, many other types of headaches are linked to misalignment of the spine. Disorders in the neck following a neck injury can lead to cervicogenic headaches and muscle tension and spasms in the neck can trigger tension headaches. Chiropractic adjustment gently realigns the neck area of the spine to its proper alignment.

Through this process, chiropractic addresses the root of head pain instead of simply treating the symptoms. Although chiropractic may not solve every a headache, scientific research has demonstrated that is a powerful, safe treatment for a number of cases.

Chiropractic effective for a migraine, study finds

Mainstream medical treatment of a migraine headache leans heavily on using pharmaceuticals to manage and control migraine pain. But medications can come with a slew of side effects like nausea, dizziness, vomiting and even more headaches from medication overuse.

Fortunately, natural treatments exist that can relieve migraine pain without the adverse effects of drugs. A new study suggests that chiropractic adjustments and massage can provide significant migraine relief.

In the study, chiropractic care reduced patients’ migraine pain by 68%. The treatment included gentle massage, stretching, and chiropractic adjustments of the upper back and neck. The treatment provided immediate relief: one hour after receiving an adjustment the average patient had their pain scores drop from a 5 to 0.5. ( Pain was rated on a scale of 1 to 10.) No significant side effects were reported.

While further research is needed to fully understand the many causes of a migraine, this study adds to previous research indicating the benefits of chiropractic for treating migraine. In addition to using chiropractic adjustments, a doctor of chiropractic can counsel you on ways to prevent a migraine through exercise, nutrition, and eliminating headache triggers.


Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Manual therapies for a migraine: a systematic review. The Journal 
of Headache and Pain. 2011 Feb 5.

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