Headaches and migraines are a very common problem for a lot of people and many people consistently take medication to deal with them.4 Some people even take strong prescription pain relievers with significant side effects. Now the new thing for chronic migraines is botox injections where the neck meets the back of the head. However, this is only a temporary solution that only treats the symptoms not the cause! There is another option to consider that treats the cause, doesn’t just mask the symptoms, is safe,1 and the best place to start, chiropractic care.
There are many different types of headaches and not all of them will respond to chiropractic care, but many do. Before chiropractic care is performed for treatment of a headache, a full examination should be done to screen out any red flags and to identify the type of headache.
Headaches that are located in the back of the head and upper neck or in the forehead and behind the eyes very commonly respond to chiropractic care. Often these headaches behind the eyes are called allergy headaches, but that may not be the case. Sometimes these are even considered migraines.
So what does chiropractic have to do with a headache or migraine? The simple answer is inflammation of the joints (facets) in the neck (cervical spine), specifically the upper neck, caused by motion restriction and muscle spasm can cause irritation to the nerves (greater occipital n.) that travel from the base of your head up and over the head to behind the eye. This irritation causes the headache.
The way chiropractic care treats a headache is a chiropractic manipulation to the cervical spine with the goal of improving motion in the spinal joints and stretching of the associated muscles. There also is assessment of the biomechanics of the back because it helps determine head position and the stress level put on the neck muscles. Strengthening the neck musculature is also critical, and should be part of a chiropractic treatment plan.
Other factors that should be looked at in association with headaches are sleeping position and pillow, posture, daily activities (ADL’s), workstation, stress levels, and diet. All of these factors can play a significant role in headaches and should be evaluated to accurately assess any aggravating factors.
If you are suffering from headaches or migraines on a regular basis consider getting evaluated by a competent chiropractor or talk to your medical doctor about seeing a chiropractor.