Headaches are a common condition and can range from mild to severe. We have all experienced a headache at some point in our lives – some people more frequently and more intensely than others. There also comes a point in time where these patients decide that they can’t live on the pain relief medications for the rest of their lives and this leads them to to start looking for other options.

Headaches can either be primary or secondary.

Primary headaches may be caused by:

  • Emotional aspects of daily life – eg. stress
  • Physical aspects of daily life – eg. poor posture (sitting at the desk for 8 hours a day or in traffic). These can also be constant, repetitive minor traumas
  • Chemical imbalances – poor diet and intake of harmful toxins

Secondary headaches are headaches that occur when another condition stimulates the nociceptors (pain-receptors). The headache symptoms can be attributed to another cause, for example:

  • hypertension
  • brain tumor
  • blood clots
  • bleeding in or around the brain
  • concussion
  • dehydration
  • teeth-grinding at night
  • glaucoma
  • fever
  • overuse of pain medication (known as rebound headaches)
  • stroke

Should you be experiencing severe headaches it is always advised to consult with your healthcare practitioner.

What does the research say?

Evidence suggests that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches. The type, frequency, dosage, and duration of treatment(s) should be based on guideline recommendations, clinical experience, and findings (1).

(1). Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M et al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):274-89.


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