What Puts the Ache in Headache?

What Puts the Ache In Headache?

Presented by Health First Chiropractic


The ache in headache does not come from your brain- your brain cannot feel pain. During brain surgery a patient is often wide awake feeling nothing, even talking to the surgeons and nurses while his or her brain is being operated on. So what puts the “ache” in headache? It is the non-brain structures: blood vessels, membranes and cranial nerves in the brain and skull. When these structures are stretched, compressed, irritated, inflamed or infected, headaches often result.

The Chiropractic Approach

Why do millions of headache sufferers turn to the natural, drug-free chiropractic approach to health?1

That's because chiropractic has a unique healing approach- chiropractors are trained to analyze your body for a serious and often ignored condition that can damage your nerves, cause tissue inflammation, cause muscles to tighten and knot, weaken your body, cause fatigue and set the stage for sickness and disease. This condition is called a subluxation, a condition that may be causing serious harm to your body- sometimes for years- without your knowledge. A subluxation is a tiny distortion or misalignment in your spine and body structure that stresses your nervous system. Any physical or emotional stress that your body cannot withstand can cause your spine and body to develop a subluxation.

The Chiropractic Checkup

Using their hands, X-ray and other instruments, your chiropractor will determine if you have a subluxation and if found your chiropractor will give you a safe, gentle correction or adjustment to rid your body of the subluxation and the pressure on your nerves, brain and structural system.

Why does Chiropractic Work So Well?

Chiropractic has been a blessing to millions of headache suffers and the reason may be that most headache suffers appear to be carrying around subluxations in their bodies (and don't even know it). For example, one study of 6,000 long-term headache suffers (suffering 2 to 25 years) revealed that neck damage (whiplash, falls, etc.) was the most important factor in the cause of the headache and should be suspected in every non-specific case of headache.2  In a randomized controlled trial performed at the University of Odense, Denmark, those under chiropractic care decreased their use of painkillers  by 36% and the number of headaches hours per day decreased by 69%. 3 Headaches affect children too. For example, a 10-year-old girl with chronic, severe migraine (6 times a week for the past 3 years) was unable to go to school due to the severity of her condition. Neurologists could not help her. A chiropractic examination revealed a subluxation in her upper neck. After her third adjustment she was off her pain medications and by the third week she was back in school, started dance classes for the first time in 2 years and “began to smile again”. She was leading a normal and healthy life by the end of the 5th visit.4

How Long Will It Take?

Some patients report dramatic relief after just one adjustment. Others may take months of care to finally resolve them. Everyone is different in how they respond to care. An analysis of 47 studies of chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, and upper back pain revealed that it took (on average) 7.7 visits to see a 46.5% improvement in these conditions and 17 visits to completely resolve them.5 Many studies and clinical reports repeatedly reveal that anyone suffering from headaches should seek out chiropractic care. 6-9  

How Does Chiropractic Affect Headaches?

Chiropractors correct the cause of a patient's health problems, rather than give painkillers and other drugs which only treat the symptoms. A team of surgeons may have found one of the answers as to why chiropractic works so well. They discovered a small neck muscle that connects to brain membranes. When the neck is out of alignment, this muscle can actually pull on the brain! As the lead surgeon writes: “An increasing body of literature relates headaches to pathology affecting the cervical spine and a number of clinical trials have demonstrated that chiropractic is valuable for managing headache.”10

Anyone suffering from headaches (or any other condition) should make sure their spine is free from the vertebral subluxation complex- for the health of their whole body, not just certain parts.

References and Sources

  1. 1.Eisenberg DM Unconventional Medicine in the United States. NEJM. 1993;328:246-252.  2. Braaf MM, Rosner SJ. Trauma of the cervical spine as cause of chronic headache. Trauma 1975;15:441-446.  3. Nilsson N, Christensen HW, Hartvigsen J. The effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of cervicogenic headache. JMPT. 1997;20:326-330. 4.Bofshever, H. Encephalgia/migraine. ICPA Newsletter. Jan/Feb 2000. 5. Ressel O, Rudy R, BioVertebral Subluxation Correlated with Somatic, Visceral and Immune Complaints: An Analysis of 650 Children Under Chiropractic Care October 18. 2004 JVSR pp 1-23. 6. Simpson J, Hawken E Xiphodynia: A diagnostic conundrum Chiropractic & Osteopathy, 2007 15:13. 15 September 2007  7. Pauli,Y. The Effects of Chiropractic Care on Individuals Suffering from Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia: A Review of the Literature JVSR, January 15, 2007, pp 1-12. 8. Lovett,L and Blum,C. Behavioral and Learning Changes Secondary to Chiropractic Care to Reduce Subluxations in a Child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Case Study JVSR October 4, 2006, pp 1-6.  9. Blum CL, Cuthberet S, Williams S, Developmental Delay Syndromes and Chiropractic: A Case Report.  International Conference on Chiropractic Research.  Vilamoura, Portugal-May 17-19, 2007.  10.13. Hack GD. The anatomic basis for the effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulation in treating headache. Abstracts from the 15th annual upper cervical spine conference Nov. 21-22. 1998. CRJ. 1999;VI(1). Writer: Ted Koren, D.C.


    Disclaimer: Information contained in The Wellness Express newsletter is for educational and general purposes only and is designed to assist you in making informed decisions about our health. Any information contained herein is not intended to substitute advice form your physicians or other healthcare professional.


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