Chiropractic Treatment For Migraines

07 Jun 13

Headache-1Over 37 million Americans suffer from migraines. While there is no known cure, treatment aims to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of the headaches when they occur. Chiropractic treatment is one option for migraine sufferers.

Understanding Migraines

Over 80% of those that experience migraines have a family history of this type of headache. They can occur spontaneously but are often activated by specific triggers. Headache pain is the most prominent feature of migraine. This pain is often severe and can lead to missed work, school and general interruption of normal daily activities.

The Chiropractic Examination

An initial chiropractic evaluation will begin with the taking of a history. The course of onset, frequency, quality, location, duration and severity of the headaches will be covered, along with what other symptoms the patient may be suffering. Family history will be reviewed plus a review of other health problems, including current medication use. The chiropractic evaluation will focus primarily on the musculoskeletal system. Posture and muscular asymmetries may be contributing factors. Special attention will be paid to the muscles and joints of the neck. The neck muscles will be examined for tension or spasm. Reduced motion in the neck, if found, could be a primary focus of the chiropractor’s treatment.

Chiropractic Manipulation

Spinal manipulation, the primary treatment of most chiropractors, has been studied in the context of migraines. In a large study, the subjects who received chiropractic treatment experienced significant improvements in migraine frequency, duration, disability and medication use compared to the control group.

Medical Treatment

One migraine treatment offered by Innovative Health and Wellness to bring more immediate relief is an occipital nerve block. There are two greater occipital nerves, one located on each side of the head.  Like many nerves these can be “blocked” or made numb with an injection of medication.  The injection includes a mixture of local anesthetic and steroids.  Due to the anesthesia, relief from a current headache can be immediate, the steroids work over the next few days to relieve nerve inflammation and bring the pain under control for a longer time period.


Certain foods, alcohol, caffeine, fatigue, sleep changes, eye strain, light conditions, exposure to certain odors or use of certain medications may individually or collectively act as migraine episode triggers. Working with a chiropractor can help in identifying likely triggers and developing strategies for their avoidance.


Innovative Health and Wellness in Woodstock takes a holistic approach to all health problems. Lifestyle considerations are a big part of that approach, and in the case of migraines, lifestyle factors appear to play a prominent role. The American Headache Society makes specific lifestyle recommendations for those suffering with migraines. These include getting adequate sleep, eating and exercising regularly, staying hydrated, limiting consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and reducing stress.

Our team can assess and prepare a plan of treatment to best fit your needs. Contact us for an appointment.

Image via Flickr


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