Chiropractic and Headaches

Woman experiencing a headache at work

Chiropractic Care May Help Your Headache Pain

Headaches are often dismissed as minor ailments that can be easily cured simply by popping a few over-the-counter pain relievers. Although pain medication may be helpful for occasional headaches, it's not always effective for chronic headache pain. Pain relievers can also cause liver or kidney damage and other serious side effects if you take too many of them. Fortunately, chiropractic care offers a drug-free treatment option.

What Kind of Headache Do You Have?

Chiropractors often treat patients who have these types of headaches:

  • Tension Headaches: Tension headaches occur when the muscles in your neck and head contract and become too tight. You may feel tightness and pain in your forehead only, or the pain may wrap around to the back your head and your neck. The headaches can be caused by stress, poor posture, or even looking down at your cellphone for hours.
  • Migraine Headaches: Migraine, the sixth most disabling illness in the world, affects 18 percent of women, 6 percent of men and 10 percent of children in the U.S., according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, in addition to other unpleasant symptoms, can affect the quality of your life and make it difficult to work or care for your family.
  • Cluster Headaches: These extremely painful headaches typically occur on one side of the head and last 10 minutes to several hours. They're called "cluster" headaches because sufferers usually get multiple headaches in one day. The headaches can disappear for months at a time and may reappear at the same times every year.

How Do Chiropractors Treat Headaches?

Treatment options depend on the type of headache you have, but may include:

  • Spinal Manipulation: Manipulation relieves pressure on your joints, realigns your spine, improves blood flow, and helps relax tight muscles. Your chiropractor uses his or her hands or an activator to apply quick, forceful pressure to the vertebrae. Spinal manipulation is particularly helpful if nerve irritation triggers your migraines or cluster headaches. Manipulation relieves pressure on your nerves, easing your pain and reducing the frequency of your headaches.
  • Spinal Mobilization: Spinal mobilization involves gentle, hands-on pressure that stretches your spine, improves joint function, and helps ease tension in the muscles between the vertebrae. Since tense muscles can be an issue no matter what type of headache you experience, mobilization can be very effective.
  • Massage: Massage is often included in treatment plans for headaches. The therapy loosens tight muscles, improves range of motion, increases blood flow, and may help reduce the frequency of your headaches. Regular massages also reduce stress, which can be a factor if you get tension headaches.
  • Flexion-Distraction Therapy: This therapy is performed on a segmented table that moves or drops as your chiropractor gently manipulates your vertebrae. Flexion-distraction therapy reduces stiffness, improves range of motion in your back and neck, and may even help decrease the number of headaches you get every month.

Your treatment plan might include a few other types of therapy, including ice and heat therapy, ultrasound treatment, or electrotherapy. Improving your posture and strengthening the muscles that support your head and neck may also be helpful. Your chiropractor can recommend exercises, make suggestions that will help you improve your posture, and provide advice about a healthy diet.

Is Chiropractic Treatment Effective?

In a case series published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, researchers discussed the case of a 31-year-old patient whose migraines become chronic after two pregnancies. After chiropractic treatment, she experienced fewer migraines. During the 10th month, she reported no headaches during the entire month.

Another case study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care examined the case of a 44-year old woman who suffered from daily headaches that didn't respond to pain medication. During her treatment, spinal manipulation, ultrasound, and other therapies were used. After three months of treatment, her headache pain began to subside. The pain was completely eliminated by six months.

Are you tired of living with headache or migraine pain? We can help you control your symptoms naturally. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Migraine Research Foundation: About Migraine

https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/

American Chiropractic Association: Headaches and Chiropractic

https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Headaches-and-Chiropractic

NCBI: Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care: Long-Term Relief from Tension-Type Headache and Major Depression Following Chiropractic Treatment, May/June 2018

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069670/

Global Advances in Health and Medicine: Integrating Chiropractic Care into the Treatment of Migraine Headaches in a Tertiary Care Hospital: A Case Series, 3/28/19

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2164956119835778

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Testimonials

  • "Dear Dr. Zabawa,
    I want to thank you for being my #1 healthcare provider.
    I have been under chiropractic care for 40 years and of the many chiropractors I have been treated by,
    you and your precise atlas adjustment are the best.
    It really is gentle and effective. I've had migraines, scoliosis, herniated L4-L5, and sciatica -
    and in the 11 yrs of being under your care I have had no problems or re-occurrence of any
    of my former symptoms.
    You are the best and I thank you."
    Judy B.
  • "Hi, I'll always remember the wonderful things you've done for me at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    I thank Dr. Zabawa for getting me up and running!
    My last chiropractor said there was nothing else they could do for me, and I felt as if my life was over.
    (I couldn't even play video games without pain.)
    Now that I've been introduced to your atlas adjustments: I'm lifting weights again, working (making money),
    and yes - even playing video games. Wow!
    THANK YOU!!!!!"
    Lyle H.
  • "We've had 40 years of various types of chiropractic therapies (sometimes weekly),
    but have never felt truly aligned until now."
    Marsha & Alain M.
  • "I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, and through good habits & care have managed to avoid surgery.
    About 30 years ago my research into spinal maintenance led me to upper cervical chiropractic
    (specifically orthospinology) over general chiropractic.
    This is just phenomenal. When my atlas is adjusted and my spine is aligned, it is amazing how good I feel.
    It helps the nerves and muscles of the body function so well, and I believe it has been the key to slowing
    the spinal degeneration caused by my scoliosis.
    * And it's so non-invasive! *
    Now that I live in Sarasota, I am so glad to be under the care of Dr. Zabawa.
    It's no surprise that he came highly recommended. I have always been impressed with
    the professionalism and care I've received at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    It compares to anywhere in the country."
    Kyle Ann M.
  • "Very thorough. Quick recovery after a car wreck!"
    Nathaniel B.
  • "For 3 years I had been having headaches every day.
    I even went to a neurologist for my headaches, but he said they were a condition of menopause :(
    A friend suggested going to Dr. Z because of the unique procedure he uses and the great results.
    Dr. Z took care of me and within about 3 months my daily headaches were gone.
    What a relief!
    I don't think I've had one since :)"
    Allaesia M.
  • "I lived in pain with an undiagnosed broken back for 23 years since a horse & buggy accident as a teenager.
    When I injured my back again as an adult, the x-rays showed that I had fractured a vertebra back then,
    as well as this time.
    I received some help from going to regular chiropractors in recent years, but still lived in pain.
    I am so thankful that I found Dr. Zabawa.
    After 35 years and lots of pain, within a month or so
    I was PAIN FREE!
    It is amazing how such small adjustments to the atlas vertebra in my neck have made such
    a big difference to my life.
    To this day, I come in periodically to maintain my new found health.
    Praise and glory to God."
    Mary T.