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Headaches occur in nearly all ages and walks of life. There are many types of headaches from sinus to migraines to toxic to the most common type, the tension or “stress” headache, which accounts for about 90% of all headaches. Headaches are one of the most common complaints people have- some estimates suggest 25% of the population have one right now! The commonality of headaches make many believe that they are a normal part of life, but in actuality they a warning sign that there is a problem. Unfortunately the common practice of suppressing these warning signals with pain medication is becoming a multi-billion dollar industry. Often times this practice of not addressing the cause and masking symptoms exacerbates the problem by causing what is known as the rebound effect. Even common medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol taken as little as 2 times per week can lead to rebound headaches. Pain receptors are desensitized by pain medications, and when these chemicals wear off the pain receptors become hypersensitive leading to more frequent meds at higher doses. There are numerous reports of people progressing up to 50 tablets per day for rebound headaches.

Chiropractic and Headaches

It is common knowledge that chiropractic helps headaches. We are not interested in suppressing headaches, but in finding their cause. A team of surgeons has recently discovered that the membranes covering the brain actually attach directly to small muscles of the neck. They conclude, “An increasing body of literature relates headaches to pathology affecting the cervical spine and a number of clinical trials have demonstrated that chiropractic…is valuable for managing headaches.” One study of 6000 headache sufferers (2-25 years of age) revealed that neck injury was a common link and should be suspected in every nonspecific case of headache. Chiropractic offers a safe and specific means of reducing irritation in the neck which can cause headaches. 

  • Braaf, MM, Rosner, SJ, Trauma of the cervical spine as a cause of headache. Trauma. 1975;15:441-446.
  • Hack, GD, The anatomic basis for the effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulation in treating headache. Abstracts from the 15th annual upper cervical spine conference. Nov. 21-22, 1998. CRJ 199:VI(1).
  • Hack, GD, et al. Anatomic relationship between the rectus capitis posterior minor muscle and the dura mater. Spine, Vol. 20, No. 23; 2484-2486.
  • Bitter pills; are your headaches triggered by your medicine?, July 23, 2003. .