Chiropractic vs. Medications for Headaches

Headaches doctor san francisco San Francisco Headache Doctor Comments:

Have you ever stopped and wondered, “…which type of doctor should I go to for treatment of my headaches?”  In order to make an informed decision, it is appropriate to look at the side effects each treatment option carries and then consider the pros and cons of each treatment.

            It has been reported that 45 million Americans suffer from headaches, many on a daily basis. Though some just put up with the pain, others become totally disabled during the headache. Most people initially turn to an over the counter drug such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) of which there are 3 types: 1) salicylates, such as aspirin; 2) traditional NSAIDs, such as Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen); and, 3) COX-2 selective inhibitors, such as Celebrex. 

            According to the medical review board of, complications of NSAID drugs include stomach irritation (gastritis, ulcer), bleeding tendencies, kidney failure, and liver dysfunction. Some NSAIDs (particularly indomethacin) can interfere with other medications used to control high blood pressure and cardiac failure and long term use of NSAIDs may actually hasten joint cartilage loss, leading to premature arthritis. Another over the counter commonly used drug is Tylenol (Acetaminophen) in which liver toxicity can be a potential side effect (particularly with long term use).

            Here’s the kicker – only about 60% of patients respond to a 3 week trial of an NSAID, NSAIDs can mask signs and symptoms of infection, it cannot be predicted which NSAID will work best, and no single NSAID has been proven to be superior over others for pain relief. Moreover, estimates of death associated with NSAID (mostly gastrointestinal causes) range between 3200 on the low side to higher than 16,500 deaths per year in the United States. Another BIG concern is that low daily doses of aspirin, “…clearly have the potential to cause GI injury as 10mg of aspirin daily causes gastric ulcers.”

            Others may turn to prescription medication for hopeful pain relief. One of the more frequently prescribed medications for headaches is amitriptyline (commonly known as Elavil, Endep, or Amitrol).  This is actually an antidepressant but was found to work quite well for some headache sufferers. The potential side effects include blurred vision, change in sexual desire or ability, constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache (ironically), appetite loss, nausea, tiredness, trouble sleeping, tremors and weakness. Allergic reactions such as rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue, chest pain, rapid and/or irregular heart rate, confusion, delusions, suicidal thoughts or actions AND MORE are reported.

            The pros and cons of chiropractic include a report on children under 3 years of age, where only one reaction for every 749 adjustments (manipulations) occurred (it was crying, NO serious side effects were reported). In adults, transient soreness may occur. Though stroke has been reported as a cause of headache, it was concluded that stroke “…is a very rare event…”, and that, “…we found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.” Another convincing study reported that chiropractic was 57% more effective than drug therapy in reducing headache and migraine pain!  They concluded – chiropractic first, drugs second and surgery last.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your health-care services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care headaches, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To find out if you are a candidate for headache treatment in San Francisco call Executive Express Chiropractic at 415-392-2225. Mention this article for a complimentary consultation.







Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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17 thoughts on “Chiropractic vs. Medications for Headaches

  1. Jeremy

    My headache stops me from doing regular work. I just can’t tolerate it anymore. I tried almost all over the counter medicines, but it will only work on the first few days then my body will get used to it. I might drop by Executive Express Chiropractic this week.

  2. Sally

    I am impressed with Executive Express Chiropractic. You can also treat headache and help more people. I am curious about the treatment. How do you do it?

  3. Joyce

    No wonder I have stomach irritations after taking pain relievers for so long. I kept getting illnesses that I wonder where they all came from. I now have an idea of what is happening to me. My headache still comes and goes. I will need your help. I will call to check if I can be a candidate for headache treatment.

  4. Sandra

    Taking over the counter drugs are a lot more complicated than I thought. What treatments do you usually give your patient who suffers from headache? Do you provide all natural medications?

  5. Carla

    Your articles are very interesting. I will subscribe to your site, so I can be updated on new post. My friend just told me about your site and she talks about it all day long. I am now a believer. Your site is one of a kind.

  6. KC

    I admire you for not pushing people to go to your clinic. You always give them a choice. Nevertheless, I will certainly go to your clinic instead of getting complications from taking all these sorts of harmful medicine.

  7. Maggie

    I am hearing a lot about chiropractic. I am getting an idea now of what it is. I started looking for an alternative to cure my headache after getting an allergic reaction from a prescribe medication. It did traumatize me.

  8. Tim

    I will 100% recommend Executive Express Chiropractic to my family and friends. Specially to my immediate family, we all have headache problems every now and then. What could have cause this?

  9. Pauline

    Can we still cure headache or migraine? Would it go away? My mom and I have the same dilemma. I am looking for other things that can help us be well.

  10. Debbie

    Headaches has always been my problem since college days. I can’t count how many medicines have I took just to feel better. But I am happy that I came to this site and see a solution. I will be happy to call and schedule my consultation. Thanks a lot.

  11. Joshua

    I also have the same question. Can we still treat migraine? My sister is experiencing severe headaches that cause her to vomit and bedridden. I want to help her.

  12. Dr. Eben Davis

    I am a former migraine headaches sufferer myself….which is how I was introduced to chiropractic. If the problem is physical (pinched nerve or misalignment or muscle spasms)…chiropractic can help. Our San Francisco Chiropractors help just about all headache patients. So yes, chiropractic care can cure migraine headaches also.

  13. Gym Equipments Bangalore

    I am tried almost all over the counter medicines, but it will only work on the first few days then my body will get used to it… It’s too bad that they had to suffer for so long while taking in-effective med…

  14. trent

    Medications never seem to work that well, especially for headaches. Chiropractic care is much more effective. Executive Express Chiropractic is the place to go.

  15. Johannes

    It can also be defined as a degenerative disorder in which the vertebral bone or the intervertebral disc becomes soft and loses shape. As a result the spine loses its flexibility causing acute pain in the back. Women are very vulnerable to back pain during pregnancy.i really appreciate your information, and utilize it regularly as a reference when researching or answering others’ questions. thank you very much for your invaluable information.


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