How Can Chiropractic Help With Headache?

How Can Chiropractic Help With Headache?

A chiropractic professional can help with headaches by adjusting the upper cervical vertebrae near the base of the skull. This alleviates the pain associated with headaches and provides much needed relief.

Headaches can be debilitating and often lead to decreased quality of life. Fortunately, chiropractic care is an effective treatment for many types of headaches.

Chiropractors are trained to diagnose the cause of your headache and provide relief through manual manipulation techniques, lifestyle modifications, exercise programs, nutrition counseling, and other holistic approaches.

Table of Contents

What Can Chiropractic Be Used For?

Chiropractic is a healthcare approach focusing on the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. Chiropractors believe that the proper spine alignment helps the body heal itself naturally without needing drugs or surgery. 

They use hands-on spinal manipulation or adjustment techniques to realign the vertebrae and improve overall bodily function. Chiropractors also address musculoskeletal issues like joint pain, headaches, and sports injuries. 

Chiropractic care is safe, effective, and non-invasive, making it an attractive option for those looking for a more natural approach to wellness.

What Qualifies as a Headache?

Headache refers to pain or uneasiness felt in the neck, scalp, or head area. This can either be a short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) discomfort.

Different Types of Headaches

There are several types of headaches, each with its own set of symptoms and causes. You’ll find a descriptive list below to give you an idea of what you’re dealing with personally.

Tension Headaches – The Most Common

The most common type is a tension headache, caused by muscle tightness or spasms in the neck and shoulders. 

This type of headache can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). 

The pain associated with tension headaches is usually dull and constant and may include pressure around the eyes or temples, a tightening sensation in the neck, or a feeling of heaviness on one side of the head.

Migraine Headaches – The Most Severe

Migraines are intense headaches that can last for days or weeks and cause severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. 

Nausea, visual disturbances, light sensitivity, or other symptoms may accompany them. The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they are believed to result from changes in brain chemistry and nerve activity.

Cluster Headaches – The Least Common

Cluster headaches are one-sided, excruciatingly intense, lasting from 15 minutes to several hours. They come in cycles or clusters and may be accompanied by tearing eyes, runny nose, and facial swelling on the affected side. 

The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but they are believed to be due to an imbalance in brain chemicals.

What a Chiropractor Can Do To Treat Headaches

Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat headache pain. These may include spinal manipulation or adjustment, soft tissue massage and stretching, trigger point therapy, lifestyle modifications such as improved posture and stress reduction, and nutritional counseling. 

Depending on the severity and type of headache, chiropractors may also recommend additional therapies such as ultrasound therapy, electrical stimulation, therapeutic exercises, and stretches, or cold laser therapy. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation in the head and neck, restore mobility and range of motion, decrease nerve irritation, and improve circulation.

Treatment Options For Migraines

Chiropractic care can help with migraine headaches by targeting and manipulating the spine, neck, and head muscles to reduce tension and improve circulation. 

Treatment  Options For Cervicogenic Headaches

Physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy effectively reduce pain and improve mobility. Medications such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs can also provide relief. 

Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, stress management, and proper posture can significantly decrease the frequency and intensity of these headaches. 

Treatment Options For Tension Headaches

Chiropractic care can be very effective for tension headaches. Spinal manipulation techniques help to realign and relax the affected muscles around the base of the skull, easing pressure and relieving pain. 

Soft tissue techniques such as massage, stretching, and trigger point therapy to release tension in the neck and shoulder muscles are also used.

Potential Risks or Side Effects of Receiving Chiropractic Treatment for Headaches and Migraines

Although chiropractic care is generally a safe and effective treatment, there are some risks and potential side effects associated with it. 

The most common side effects include soreness or stiffness in the treated area, headaches and dizziness after the adjustment, and fatigue. 

Symptoms That Are Common With Headaches & Migraines

Dealing with headaches and migraines can be a real pain in the neck. While these symptoms may seem common, the underlying causes, triggers, and symptoms that come with them can vary from person to person. 

Head Pain

The most common symptoms are pain or pressure in the head. The sensation can vary from a dull ache to a sharp, intense pain that can leave you feeling dizzy and light-headed.

Patients Experiencing Sensitivity to Light and Sound

Headaches or migraines may also be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound. This can cause a person to become easily irritated and experience difficulty concentrating.

You Might Throw Up

Nausea and vomiting can occur with headaches or migraines. This is often the result of the pain in the head, though it can be due to other causes as well.

Dizziness or Lightheadedness Happens Too

Dizziness or lightheadedness can also be attributed to headaches and migraines. This is usually the result of increased blood pressure, which can lead to a feeling of faintness.

Neck/Shoulder Tension

Tension in the neck and shoulders is another common symptom of headaches or migraines. This tension can also cause nausea, fatigue, or general discomfort.

Seeing an Aura

Some people may experience an aura before a migraine or headache. This warning sign can involve visual disturbances such as flashing lights, blurry vision, or temporary vision loss. It can also involve sensory changes such as facial or body tingling, nausea, and weakness.

Having Difficulty With Concentrating

This can be due to the pain and discomfort caused by the condition and other symptoms such as fatigue, lightheadedness, and nausea.

You May Feel Tired or Weak

The pain and discomfort associated with headaches or migraines can also cause fatigue and weakness. This is especially true for more severe migraine cases that may last several days.

Common causes of headaches

Sometimes headaches come on for no reason. But most of the time, if you think about it, you’ll know what triggered the issue.

Ice Cream Headache – Brain Freeze

This type of headache is often known as an “ice cream headache” and occurs when the sudden change in temperature triggers a cluster of nerve endings in the brain. The pain usually subsides after a few minutes.

Mild Head Trauma

Concussions are a form of trauma to the head that can cause headaches. These headaches can range from mild and intermittent, to severe and persistent pain.

Subluxations – Your Spine Is Out of Whack

Subluxations, which are misalignments of the spine, can also cause headaches. These misalignments can pressure nerves and muscles, resulting in chronic pain and discomfort.

Vision Problems

Vision problems such as astigmatism and nearsightedness can cause headaches. This is due to the strain of focusing for long periods, which puts pressure on the eyes and causes tension in the head.

Suffering From Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses that can cause headaches and facial pain. The pain typically worsens when bending over, and may be accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose, tiredness, and fatigue.

Reported Changes in Sleep Routine

Changes to one’s sleep pattern, such as too much or insufficient sleep, can cause headaches. Lack of sleep disrupts hormones that help regulate the body’s pain receptors.

Brain Tumors – Incredibly Rare

Though rare, brain tumors can cause headaches. These headaches may be accompanied by vision changes, confusion, and even seizures.

Common Treatments Options for Headaches

Headaches are most of the most common ailments in the medical profession. Here’s what you can expect from your medical professional.

OTC Medications

Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can be used to treat headaches. These medications are best for mild headache cases.

Medications Prescribed by a Doctor

Prescription medications such as triptans or opioid analgesics are sometimes used for more severe headache cases. 

Natural Remedies for Tension From Stress and Migraine Headaches

Common natural remedies for stress-related tension and migraine headache symptoms include relaxation techniques such as yoga, stretching, and massage. 


Other natural remedies include drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and taking herbal supplements.

Pay a Visit to Your Chiropractor

Chiropractic care is also an effective treatment option for headache and migraine sufferers. By realigning the spine, chiropractors can help reduce tension and pressure in the neck and head, thereby relieving pain and discomfort associated with headaches. 

Expected Benefits of Regular Chiropractic Care

Adjustments of the upper cervical spine have been shown to significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. 

Alleviating Pain

Chiropractic care can provide quick and effective relief from headaches and migraine pain. By realigning the spine, chiropractors can help reduce tension and pressure in the neck and head.

Better Mobility

By improving posture and keeping the spine aligned, chiropractors can help prevent future episodes of headache pain.

Significant Reduction of Inflammation

Chiropractic adjustments can also reduce inflammation in the body, which helps to reduce headache frequency and intensity. 

Better Posture

The adjustments made by a chiropractor help to reduce tension and pressure in the neck and head, which can help to reduce the frequency of headache episodes.

Improved athletic performance

Chiropractic care can also help enhance athletic performance. Regular adjustments can reduce recovery time after strenuous exercise, which is essential for optimal performance.

Rejuvenating Sleep

By relieving neck and back pain and improving posture, chiropractors can help create an environment that is conducive to restful sleep. Improved sleeping patterns increase energy levels during the day and improve overall health.

Less Reliance on Prescribed and OTC Medication

Chiropractic care can also help reduce reliance on medications, as spine adjustments may relieve pain and discomfort associated with headaches. 


What will a chiropractor do for headaches?

A chiropractor can help reduce tension and pressure in the neck and head, thereby relieving pain and discomfort associated with headaches. 

Can being out of alignment cause headaches?

Yes, misalignments in the spine can cause tension and pressure in the neck and head, leading to headaches. Adjustments of the upper cervical spine have been shown to significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.

How often should you go to the chiropractor for migraines?

The frequency of visits to a chiropractor for migraines will depend on the individual and their condition. Generally, it is recommended that individuals seek out chiropractic care twice per week for the first two weeks and then reduce visits to once every other week.

Can a chiropractor help with tension headaches?

Yes, chiropractic care can help with tension headaches. By reducing tension and pressure in the neck and head, chiropractors can help relieve their pain and discomfort.

Can a chiropractor help with daily headaches?

Yes, a chiropractor can help with daily headaches. By improving posture and reducing tension and pressure in the neck and head, chiropractors can help to reduce the frequency of headache episodes.

Can a chiropractor help with headaches and dizziness?

For the above reasons, chiropractic care can help with headaches and dizziness.

Headache for a week after chiropractor

If you are experiencing headaches for a week after visiting a chiropractor, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider. The cause of the headache could be related to something other than chiropractic care and should be evaluated. 

In some cases, pain or discomfort can occur after an adjustment as your body adjusts to the new alignment. Your chiropractor may also suggest additional treatments that can help relieve the headache.

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