Headaches

According to the latest research, 9% of men and 12% of women in the U.S. experience at least 1-2 headache episodes per month. And, more than 4% of the U.S. population suffers from frequent headaches, defined as headaches that occur at least 180 days a year. Needless to say, headaches have become a social and economic burden in the United States, as well as other parts of the world.


Headache Causes

Scientists have identified over 300 causes for headaches. Various pain-sensitive structures and tissues including the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles, arteries, periosteal bone covering, and the upper cervical and facial nerves produce headaches when irritated or injured. Fortunately, only a handful of causes are responsible for the majority of headaches. The most common of these headaches include:

  • Cervicogenic- problems within the neck
  • Muscle-tension- neck and upper back muscular spasms
  • Post-traumatic- following head/neck trauma, i.e. whiplash
  • Drug-induced- from analgesic overuse
  • Migraines
  • Cluster
  • Doctors of chiropractic successfully help thousands of individuals everyday obtain safe, effective, long-term relief from their headaches. This is because most headaches have a spinal, muscular, or habitual component which the chiropractor has been trained to identify and treat. In fact, surveys show that 10-25% of patients initiate chiropractic care for the relief of headaches.


    Chiropractic Treatment of Headaches

    Chiropractors successfully treat thousands of headache sufferers everyday. According to surveys, as many as 25% of the individuals seeking chiropractic care do so for the treatment of headaches.

    Chiropractic has such good success in the treatment of headaches because most headaches are either soft tissue or neurologic in nature. Also, a significant portion of headaches originate in the tissues of the neck. And since chiropractors focus their treatment on the soft tissues of the spine, which includes the neck, the majority of headaches can be successfully managed with appropriate chiropractic care. Best of all, chiropractic treatments consist of only safe, natural, and noninvasive therapies that focus on correcting the cause of headaches, and not simply the short-term masking of symptoms.

    Chiropractic treatment for headaches has been compared with other forms of treatments and in most cases, has excelled.


    A Controlled Trial of Cervical Manipulation for Migraines

    The efficacy of cervical manipulation for migraine was evaluated. In a six-month trial, 85 volunteers suffering from migraine were randomly allocated to three treatment groups. One group received cervical manipulation performed by a medical practitioner or by a physiotherapist, another received cervical manipulation performed by a chiropractor, while the control group received mobilization performed by a medical practitioner or by a physiotherapist. For the whole sample, migraine symptoms were significantly reduced. No difference in outcome was found between those who received cervical manipulation, performed by chiropractor or orthodox therapist, and those who received the control treatment. Chiropractic treatment was no more effective than the other two treatments in reducing frequency, duration or induced disability of migraine attacks, but chiropractic patients did report a greater reduction in pain associated with their attacks.

    Australian-New Zealand Journal of Medicine 1978; 8:589-593. From the University of New South Wales, Sydney