Headache Treatment

One of the top ten reasons for visiting a primary care physician is headache pain. Frequently, when the headache involves nausea, vomiting, visual auras, disabling pain, and blind spots, the diagnosis is migraine headache. Chronic severe tension-type headaches may accompany or even be confused with migraine headaches. Often times, these headaches cause an individual to give up exercise or interfere with activities of daily living. Normally the medical profession offers medication, which masks the pain but does not resolve the causes of the headaches. Chiropractic physicians are familiar with the numerous causes of headaches and attempt to correct them. The most frequent headache condition treated by chiropractors is the cervicogenic headache.

Cervicogenic Headaches

Patients with chronic daily tension-type headaches and migraines frequently confront chiropractors when seeking relief. The doctor of chiropractic medicine might reveal that there bones in the neck that are not moving properly and irritating small joint nerves. Physical examination might reveal that muscles in the neck and shoulders are extremely tight and painful to touch. It is not unusual to produce pain in the back of the skull with palpation or touching of the nerves in the back of the head, which are the occipital nerves that cause headaches. It is not unusual for the chiropractor to diagnose these head pains as cervicogenic headaches when there are biomechanical problems in the neck producing headaches. Usually, chiropractic treatments benefit cervicogenic headache sufferers.

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic physicians normally resolve cervicogenic headaches with spinal manipulation and other natural treatments. These treatments may include electrical muscle stimulation with ice and heat, myofascial treatments with a hands-on approach, and even spinal manipulation of the lower back and pelvis. This may seem strange but oftentimes a patient with headaches has a tilted pelvis, which causes the spine to lean out of place and strain the neck. If your chiropractor adjusts your neck and you get temporary relief but the headaches return after a few days, ask the doctor to check your pelvic alignment. Normally, 3-10 chiropractic treatments should resolve cervicogenic headaches providing the headache triggers are recognized and avoided by the patient.

Cervicogenic Headache Triggers

The most common triggers that cause patients to seek treatment in my clinic for headaches or stress-related. Now the cause maybe related to emotional stress or postural stress. It is common when employees are unhappy or working more hours than usual that they show up for treatment. Computer work also causes headaches. Long hours at the computer with the shoulders rounded and the head leaning forward strains the neck and shoulder muscles. Of course, major stressors in life such as a new job, death in the family, relocation, divorce, or other types of losses might trigger cervicogenic headaches. Many people trigger these headaches with exercise or gardening, especially when they do not properly hydrate. It is common for people to not meet their water intake needs when they are outside in the garden. Some people are allergic to certain foods and an elimination diet is necessary to identify the specific foods.


There are many causes of headaches and some of them are quite serious. Consequently, if you do not experience some improvement with 3-5 chiropractic treatments, it might be necessary to ask the chiropractor for a referral to a neurologist for further evaluation.