Can Chiropractors Help with Headaches?

Headaches are one of the most common pain conditions in the world, affecting nearly half of adults in Canada. Recurring or chronic headaches can have a negative impact on quality of life and work capacity, and are the third most common reason that people seek chiropractic care in North America. 

Some of the most common types of headaches include:

  • Migraine headaches 
  • Tension-type headaches 
  • Medication-overuse headaches
  • Cluster headaches 

What Causes Headaches?

The cause of headaches varies and depends on the individual, so accurate diagnosis is the key to successful management and treatment. 

Identifying triggers can be a helpful step towards eliminating or reducing the frequency of your headaches. Common triggers include: 

  • Poor posture 
  • Eye strain (e.g., due to frequent computer/electronic use)
  • Strong smells or perfumes 
  • Food sensitivities 
  • Stress 
  • Poor sleep
  • Skipping meals 

In some cases, headaches can be caused by an underlying infection or medical condition. If you have a new, severe headache, or your usual headache changes and becomes more severe and/or frequent, see a medical doctor to rule out more serious issues.

How do Chiropractors Help with Headaches? 

Chiropractors can assess the patterns and nature of your headaches to determine the type of headaches you are having. They will also conduct a thorough history to identify triggers and possible underlying causes of your headaches. 

Whether your headache is a result of an issue in your neck (i.e., a cervicogenic headache, or headache arising from the atlanto-occipital region/upper cervical joints), or if you’re experiencing migraine or tension-type headaches, chiropractors may use a variety of techniques to address your pain, including: 

  • Spinal manipulation 
  • Low-load craniocervical mobilization 
  • Joint mobilization 
  • Neck exercises 

Depending on your circumstances, your chiropractor may recommend a multidisciplinary approach to your care, which might include: 

  • Massage therapy 
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Stress counseling 
  • Nutritional counseling 
  • Lifestyle modifications 

If you’ve been struggling with headaches, consider scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor.