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Chiropractic treatment for headaches

Let's talk about one of the most common complaints effecting the majority of the population, and how chiropractic care can help!

According to the World Health Organization's 2011 Atlas of Headache Disorders, it is estimated that half to three quarters of the world's population aged 18-65 have had a headache in the past year. Now let's talk more specifically about tension type headaches, which account for roughly 90% of all headaches.

What causes tension-type headaches? Things that you and I do everyday! Sitting at a computer for most of your day, a long time commuting in the car, or just daily stress can all lead to the development of a tension-type headache (TTH). TTHs are most commonly caused by a muscle imbalance called "Upper Cross Syndrome". Upper cross syndrome is a combination of tight and weak muscles of the chest, neck and upper back. People who sit for a long period of time during their day tend to have a poor or slumped posture that leads to upper cross syndrome.

Those who suffer from TTHs describe having a headache that is often worse in the afternoon or early evening. The pain is usually on both sides of the head, primarily at the back of the head or above/behind the eyes. The headaches can last for days or weeks. Aspirin or over-the-counter NSAIDs can provide relief, but so can chiropractic care!

So how can chiropractic help relieve the pain of tension-type headaches? In our office we will focus on improving postural imbalances that lead to, or result from, the slumped posture. Treatment includes adjusting of the spine as well as soft tissue massage to the muscles of the chest and neck/upper back, instruction of proper workplace or driving ergonomics to improve posture, patient education on self stretching techniques and exercises to strengthen the muscles of the anterior neck and mid back.

A recent study was published on PubMed titled "Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension headaches: a randomized controlled trial". This study looked at the effectiveness of manual therapy (combination of spinal manipulation and massage) on the improvement of quality of life in patients who suffered from tension-type headaches. The researchers found that a combination of spinal manipulation to the neck and massage to the muscles at the base of the skull provided dramatic improvement in quality of life for those suffering from chronic tension-type headaches.

If you suffer from headaches stop by our office and see how we can help relieve your pain today!


Espí-López GV, Rodríguez-Blanco C, Oliva-Pascual-Vaca A, Molina-Martínez F, Falla D. Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension-type headache? A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2016 August;52(4):447-56.

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