Chiropractic Care and Headaches (Including Migraines)


What can be done to stop throbbing headaches? What causes headaches? Is there a way to prevent the onset of headaches? These are common questions among people dealing with headaches. Before you open the medicine bottle, try learning more about the benefits of chiropractic care. In 2011, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine, and cervicogenic headaches.

What causes headaches?

There are many “triggers” such as food, environmental stimuli, and/or behaviors that can activate headaches. Environmental stimuli can include lights, noises, stress, toxins, etc. One’s behaviors such as insomnia, excessive exercising, blood sugar changes, dieting, etc. can be the primary cause of the headaches.

Unfortunately, the American lifestyle has become extremely sedentary where you are spending extended hours in front of the TV or a computer. The inactivity can increase muscle tension and joint restriction triggering a headache. About 95% of headaches are tension, migraine, or cluster headaches while the other 5% are due to the warning signals from a physical issue.

How can you help prevent your headaches?

According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), headaches can be prevented if one can avoid being in one position for hours such as in reading a book, in front of a computer, or while sewing on a machine. To prevent headaches, break up the routine and stretch the head and neck in a comfortable range of motion every 30 minutes to an hour.

Primary headaches can be reduced when performing low-impact exercise such as aerobics and walking. Avoid heavy exercises if susceptible to dull and throbbing headaches. Remember, to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of filtered water a day. Many times dehydration triggers the onset of a headache. If a person clenches their teeth, this can be the cause of stress on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). When the joint becomes irritated it may be a source of tension headaches.

How can a Doctor of Chiropractic help your headaches?

To reduce stress and improve spinal function, the doctor will perform a spinal manipulation or a chiropractic adjustment. With their extensive training they are also able to provide nutritional and dietary advice. To continue with the multi-disciplinary approach, they will also suggest how to improve posture, ergonomics, relaxation techniques, and exercises. All these approaches alleviate pain within the joint and provide relief from the tense muscles of the neck and/or upper back.

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