Headaches and Migraines


Headaches can be debilitating. Whether it is due to tension, cervicogenic or a full-on Migraine, chiropractic treatment can help ease the symptoms. Migraines are the sixth most disabling illness in the world. Migraines affect an estimated 38 million Americans. Most of these patients are women.

A Migraine can last for anywhere from several hours to several days. Usually, the Migraine patient can tell that one is coming on due to two phenomena: a prodrome and an aura. The experienced Migraine patient can self diagnose what is to come through these two sets of events.

What are the signs and symptoms of headaches and migraines?

Migraines have two sets of signs that usually surface before the migraine event itself. During the Prodrome stage, there are usually signs such as neck stiffness, unexplained euphoria, excessive thirst, food cravings, and constipation.

The Aura stage occurs right before the Migraine begins or as a part of the beginning stages. This is where you might see shapes or flashes of light. There might also be a loss of vision. There is also a weakness or numb feeling on one side of your face or even one part of your body. There is an overall feeling of weakness.

During the Migraine itself, you will have throbbing pain which might only affect one side of your head, but that can affect both. Nausea and vomiting are common. Sensitivity to light, touch, and sound is common as well.

After the Migraine subsides, there is usually a period of 24 hours where you may feel confused. You will have very little energy, and any quick movements of your head may bring the Migraine pain back briefly.

How are headaches and migraines diagnosed?

Migraines are diagnosed based on your medical history and family history. If the doctor suspects that there is a problem, he or she will most likely refer you to a Neurologist for treatment.

If your migraines take an unusual turn regarding your migraines, including changes in frequency, symptoms, or intensity, an MRI or CT will probably be ordered to rule out anything more serious.

How are headaches and migraines treated?

Migraines are usually treated through the use of medication taken daily as well as medications that are taken during an episode. While chiropractic adjustment doesn’t help with migraines, neuromuscular massage, relaxation exercises, and stress management have proven to be effective in reducing the pain, frequency, and duration of the migraine episodes.

Cervicogenic headaches are very rare. They don’t respond well to medication, but spinal manipulation has proven to be very helpful. With Tension headaches, a gentler type of adjustment known as craniocervical manipulation has proven to be quite effective.



A Neuromuscular massage focuses on the trigger points in the neck, upper back, shoulders and at the back of your head. It has proven to be effective in easing the symptoms and side effects of a migraine headache.


A cervicogenic headache is one that starts at one side of the head and moves forward. Pain in the shoulder and arm commonly accompany this type of headache. It is suspected that they are the result of a neck injury. This is why spinal manipulation is a viable treatment.


A tension headache is a more typical headache that is usually the result of tension in the neck and upper back. These headaches usually will respond to over-the-counter acetaminophen and ibuprofen. They will also respond to gentle chiropractic manipulation of the head and neck.

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