Chiropractic Research and Studies on Headaches and Head Pain

Tension headaches have been shown to come from neck joints which lose their normal motion and position. This type of problem can stem from trauma or from prolonged poor postures. The joints themselves become “stuck” and lose their normal blood supply and joint lubrication. These joints can then develop scar tissue and lose their normal range of motion. This results of reduced normal nervous system inputs to the brain and results of referred pain. This type of referred pain into the head is perceived as a “headache.”  These are often referred to as tension headaches or cervicogenic headache – which literally means coming from the neck.

The two studies below helped show the importance of normal neck joint health. When chiropractic  adjustments were given to patients which this problem, their headaches resolved.

  1. Boyer N, Dallel R, Artola A, Monconduit L; General trigeminospinal central sensitization and impaired descending pain inhibitory controls contribute to migraine progression; Pain 2014; Vol. 155; pp. 1196-1205.
  2. Watson DH, Drummond PD; Cervical Referral of Head Pain in Migraineurs: Effects on the Nociceptive Blink Reflex; Headache 2014; Vol. 54; pp. 1035-1045.

According to a study completed in 2005, a review of the published literature revealed good evidence that intensity and frequency of HAs are indeed helped by chiropractic intervention. They limited their review to cervicogenic headaches and spinal manipulation and noted the need for larger scale studies. The well-respected Cochrane database reported spinal manipulation (SM) as an effective treatment option with short-term benefits similar to amitriptyline, a commonly prescribed medication for migraine HA patients. Additionally, a great review of 21 different studies in  2011 showed that chiropractic spinal adjustments were effective in the management of headaches.

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):274-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008.

Need to schedule an appointment?

Learn how you can get free care for your accident.