Many headaches are attributed to stress and tension in the neck and shoulders. Chiropractic
manipulation has been shown to help relieve muscle tension, neck pain and headaches in many studies.1,2,3,4
There haven’t been as many studies on chiropractic manipulation for headaches as there have been for the low back, but in my clinical experience, I have seen my adjustments really help my patients with neck tightness associated with headaches. I know many other doctors have seen beneficial effects of their manipulation to patients with headaches. The quick stretch of the muscle, using the bones as long levers, causes the muscle to relax and thereby relieving tension pulling on the adjacent bone. This is how an adjustment from a chiropractor can and often does alleviate tension-type headaches.
Corum, M., Aydin, T., Medin Ceylan, C., & Kesiktas, F. N. (2021). The comparative effects of spinal manipulation, myofascial release and exercise in tension-type headache patients with neck pain: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 43, 101319
Espí-López, G. V., Zurriaga-Llorens, R., Monzani, L., & Falla, D. (2016). The effect of manipulation plus massage therapy versus massage therapy alone in people with tension-type headache. A randomized controlled clinical trial. European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine, 52(5), 606–617.
Espí-López, G. V., Rodríguez-Blanco, C., Oliva-Pascual-Vaca, A., Molina-Martínez, F., & Falla, D. (2016). Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension-type headache? A randomized controlled trial. European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine, 52(4), 447–456.
Côté, P., Yu, H., Shearer, H. M., Randhawa, K., Wong, J. J., Mior, S., Ameis, A., Carroll, L. J., Nordin, M., Varatharajan, S., Sutton, D., Southerst, D., Jacobs, C., Stupar, M., Taylor-Vaisey, A., Gross, D. P., Brison, R. J., Paulden, M., Ammendolia, C., Cassidy, J. D., … Lacerte, M. (2019). Non- pharmacological management of persistent headaches associated with neck pain: A clinical practice guideline from the Ontario protocol for traffic injury management (OPTIMa) collaboration. European journal of pain (London, England), 23(6), 1051–1070.
Yours in Health, Dr. Josef Patterson