Headaches

What is a Headache?

A headache happens when pain-sensitive nerve fibers (called nociceptors) are triggered in the network of nerves that extends over the scalp, face, and along the surface and the base of the brain.

What are the Causes?

Headaches have many causes including foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.), although 90% of all headaches are triggered by stress or tension. About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.

What are the Treatments?

If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. There are many different classifications of headaches and a thorough examination should rule out serious health problems before beginning treatment.

The type of treatment you receive should be highly dependent on the type of headache you have, to ensure the utmost success in relieving the headache without prolonging the pain and extra cost of erroneous treatment.

What does the Research Show?

Among the many treatment alternatives supported by evidence, chiropractic is buoyed by substantial evidence to its efficacy in the management of both tension-type and cervicogenic headaches:

  • Compared to various soft tissue procedures, a course of manipulation treatments is shown to produce sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity in the treatment of cervicogenic headache.
  • A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.
  • A 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
  • A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that Chiropractic adjustments were as effective as the pharmaceutical Amitriptyline , but without the troublesome side effects. It was also found that the positive effects of spinal manipulation continued longer after cessation of treatment that was true of Amitriptyline.