How Does Chiropractic Help Headaches?

Headaches doctors in san franciscoWe have been providing treatment for headaches in San Francisco for over 20 years.

are one of the most common reasons people seek chiropractic care. Many patients
with headaches benefit significantly from adjustments made to the upper
region. So, the question is, how does adjusting the neck help
headaches? To help answer this question, let’s look at a study that was
recently published that examined this exact issue.

            It’s been said that if one
understands anatomy, determining WHERE the problem is located becomes easy. So,
let’s take a look at the anatomy in the upper most part of the neck. In the
study previously mentioned (, the
authors found an intimate relationship between the muscles that connect the
upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 and 2) together and their anatomical connection
to the dura mater (the covering of the spinal cord). They identified this
anatomical connection between the muscles that span between the back aspect of
C1/2 and the dural connection as having a significant role in the development
of headaches usually referred to as cervicogenic headaches.

            There are several reasons why
chiropractors adjust or manipulate the upper cervical vertebrae in patients
with headaches. The obvious reason is simply because it helps to reduce the
intensity, frequency and duration of headaches. The reason it works is this: If
one or both of the upper 2 vertebrae (C1 and C2, also referred to as the atlas
and axis, respectively) are either blocked or fixed and cannot properly move
independently, then there is an abnormal change in the biomechanics in that
region. Similarly, if one of the two vertebrae is rotated or shifted in
reference to the other, a similar biomechanical “lesion” or problem occurs
(often referred to as a “subluxation”). You can take all the ibuprofen, Aleve,
Tylenol or other perhaps stronger, prescription medication for the headache,
but it is not logical that the biomechanical problem at C1 and/or C2 is going
to change by inducing a chemical change (i.e., taking a pill). All you’re doing
is masking the symptoms for a while, at best.

            Many people find that after a
several chiropractic adjustments, their headaches are significantly improved.
This is because restoring proper biomechanics to the C1/2 region reduces the
abnormal forces on the vertebrae as well as any abnormal pull or traction of
the posterior cervical muscles on the dural attachment. It has been reported
that the function of this muscle/dura connection is to resist excessive
movement of the dura towards the spinal cord when we look upwards and forwards.
During neurosurgery, observation of mechanical stress on the dura was found to
be associated in patients with headaches. In chronic headache sufferers,
adjustments applied to this area results in significant improvement. There is
no other treatment approach that matches the ability that adjustments or
manipulation have in restoring the C1/2 biomechanical relationship thus,
helping the headache sufferer. Another treatment option that has been shown to
benefit the headache patient is injections to this same area. However, given
the side effects of cortisone, botox, and other injectable chemicals, it’s
clear that chiropractic should be utilized first. It’s the safest, most
effective, and fastest way to restore function in the C1/2 area, thus relieving

            We realize that you have a choice in
where you choose your healthcare services. 
If you, a friend or family member requires care for 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.

Our chiropractors are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of headaches. To schedule an appointment with a headaches doctor in San Francisco call 415-392-2225.

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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3 thoughts on “How Does Chiropractic Help Headaches?

  1. Peoria chiropractic

    Well said! It’s surprising to most people, doctors and laypersons alike, to find out that many headaches have origins in the neck region. It takes a shift in thinking to understand that a problem in one area of the body can cause pain in another (similar to the way that a heart attack can cause pain in the left arm), but it makes all the sense in the world.


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