Why Does Chiropractic Help Migraines?

imageMigraines Facts

Migraine is the second most common type of headache, affecting both children and adults. Women are three times more likely to suffer from a migraine. Migraines also run in families. They have a mild onset and then gradually get worse. Symptoms often associated with a migraine can include headache, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and noise, and an aura.

An aura is the feeling right before the migraine starts and can last up to an hour, which 25% of patients will experience. Some common triggers for migraines are stress, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, lack of food, weather changes, bright lights, loud sounds, alcohol, and certain foods or drinks. Migraines develop when there are changes in blood flow in the brain, which causes pain in or around the head. It can occur from obstruction of nerves which sends pain signals from the eyes, scalp, forehead, and jaw to the brain.

This will lead to a release of substances that cause painful irritation in the blood vessels of the brain, brainstem, and the surrounding tissues. This irritation is responsible for the throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.  Migraines over time become chronic. Chronic migraines occur 15 or more days per month for more than three months. Even though migraines are not life-threatening, they can have a major impact on one’s productivity and quality of life. Management can include medication and methods to eliminate triggers. Other recommended treatments include exercise, yoga, relaxation, stress relief, and nutritional counseling. Chiropractic has been shown to help people suffering from migraines and other headache disorders.

Case Study

The woman in this study had been suffering from migraines for 12 years. The migraines occurred four times a week and were so severe they would leave her bedridden
for days. The migraines would cause vision disturbances, vomiting, nausea, teeth grinding, spasms, jaw tremors & neck pain. She could not care for her family or even take care of her own personal hygiene during these episodes. Medications did not help her.

The chiropractor examined her and found structural shifts in her upper neck. She had postural changes, pain, and tight muscles in her neck and upper back. X-rays and other testing confirmed these findings. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.
Following upper cervical chiropractic care, she experienced complete resolution of her symptoms. The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this patient population.


Resolution of Chronic Migraines Following Atlas
Orthogonal Chiropractic Care: A Case Study & Selective
Review of the Literature. Matthew H. Sweat DC, BCAO
& Eric Nemzou DC. Journal of Upper Cervical
Chiropractic Research ~ Volume, 2020.