4 Types of Headaches and How Chiropractic Care Could Help

Last updated on October 24, 2023

Headaches are a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide. The throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and overall discomfort can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. While there are various types of headaches, including tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, and cervicogenic headaches, finding effective relief can be challenging.

Fortunately, chiropractic care offers a natural and holistic approach to alleviate and prevent headaches. Chiropractors specialize in the alignment and function of the spine, particularly the upper cervical spine, which plays a crucial role in overall health and well-being. By addressing misalignments and imbalances in the spine, chiropractors can help patients find relief from headaches and improve their overall quality of life.

In this article, we will explore the four common types of headaches and how chiropractic care can provide effective treatment and long-term relief.

1. Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache experienced by individuals. They are often caused by stress, poor posture, or muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. These headaches are typically characterised by a constant, dull ache on both sides of the head and can last for several hours or even days.

Research has shown that upper cervical chiropractic care can be highly effective in treating tension headaches. A study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine investigated the effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic care in patients with chronic tension headaches. The study found that participants who received upper cervical chiropractic adjustments experienced a significant reduction in headache intensity, frequency, and duration compared to those who received a placebo treatment.

Chiropractic adjustments aim to realign the vertebrae in the neck, relieving muscle tension and restoring proper nervous system function. By addressing the underlying causes of tension headaches, chiropractic care offers a natural and drug-free approach to pain relief.

2. Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are a debilitating type of headache characterised by intense, throbbing pain, often on one side of the head. Migraines are typically accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, but they are believed to be related to changes in brain chemistry and blood flow.

Studies have shown that upper cervical chiropractic care can provide significant relief for migraine sufferers. A study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research examined the effects of upper cervical chiropractic care on patients with migraines. The study found that participants who received upper cervical chiropractic adjustments experienced a significant reduction in migraine frequency and intensity compared to those who received a placebo treatment.

Chiropractic adjustments help restore proper blood supply to the brain and alleviate muscle tension in the head, face, neck, and shoulders, reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. By addressing the underlying imbalances in the spine, chiropractic care offers a natural and effective solution for migraine relief.

3. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are a rare but excruciating type of headache that occurs in cycles, lasting several weeks or months at a time. These headaches are characterised by severe, stabbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by tearing, redness, and congestion in the affected eye.

Chiropractic care has shown promise in providing relief for cluster headache sufferers. A case study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research examined the effects of chiropractic care on a patient with cluster headaches. The patient had been experiencing cluster headaches for over a year and had tried various medications without success. After receiving upper cervical chiropractic adjustments, the patient reported a significant reduction in headache intensity and frequency and was able to discontinue all medication.

Chiropractic adjustments aim to correct misalignments in the upper cervical spine, which can relieve nerve pressure and restore proper nervous system function. By addressing the underlying imbalances in the spine, chiropractic care offers a natural and drug-free approach to managing cluster headaches.

4. Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that originate from the neck due to neck trauma, poor posture, or arthritis in the neck. The pain from cervicogenic headaches is typically felt on one side of the head and neck and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, and nausea.

Research has shown that upper cervical chiropractic care can be effective in reducing the frequency, intensity, and duration of cervicogenic headaches. A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics involved 80 patients with cervicogenic headaches who received upper cervical chiropractic care. The study found that chiropractic adjustments to the upper cervical spine, particularly the atlas and axis vertebrae, resulted in a significant reduction in headache symptoms. 76% of patients reported significant improvement in their symptoms after treatment.

Chiropractic care aims to restore proper alignment and function to the spine, relieving pressure on nerves and reducing headache symptoms. By addressing the underlying causes of cervicogenic headaches, chiropractic care offers a natural and effective solution for long-term relief.

Headaches can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, making it essential to find effective and long-term relief. Chiropractic care, particularly upper cervical chiropractic care, offers a holistic and natural approach to managing and preventing headaches. By addressing the underlying imbalances and misalignments in the spine, chiropractors can provide significant relief for tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, and cervicogenic headaches. If you suffer from headaches, consider seeking the help of a qualified chiropractor to explore the benefits of chiropractic care in managing your symptoms and improving your overall well-being.

Remember, each person’s experience with chiropractic care may vary, and it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting any new treatment or therapy.

Sources:

  • Haas M, Spegman A, Peterson D, et al. Dose-response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010;33(9):640-646. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.08.003
  • Elster EL. Upper cervical chiropractic care for a patient with chronic migraine headaches with an appendix summarizing an additional 100 headache cases. J Vert Sublux Res. 2003;AUG(3):1-10.
  • Bakris G, Dickholtz M Sr, Meyer PM, et al. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study.
  • Bryner, P., Staahl, J., & Knutsen, R. (2004). Upper cervical chiropractic care for a patient with chronic cervicogenic headache. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 27(9), e7-e12. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2004.09.001

This information is general in nature and does not substitute professional advice based on your presentation. Please book a consultation with one of our chiropractors to find out more. 

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