Many people are not aware that chiropractors can evaluate and treat headaches. Let’s look at some common types of headaches, their causes and how chiropractic care can help.

Types of Headaches

To figure out which type of headache you are dealing with, chiropractors will ask you questions about how often you get headaches, how long they last, what they feel like, if there is anything that “triggers” or starts them and if anything helps them go away. We will also examine your head and neck to see if tight muscles could be contributing to your headaches.

Tension headache.

Tension headaches are very common and can be caused by emotional or physical stress, which leads to tension in the neck, shoulders and/or base of the skull. Many people describe these headaches as feeling like a “tight band” around the head. Tension headaches can be acute—that is, they come on quickly and last a short time—or chronic, where they last three days or longer after coming on quickly or developing over a longer period of time. Chronic tension headaches may be “episodic,” meaning they come and go frequently within a certain period of time; a patient may complain of “three tension headaches a week,” for example. This type of headache commonly comes on after a stressful day or at the end of a work day. Often, patients find relief for tension headaches with chiropractic adjustments, myofascial release and/or massage therapy. In addition, chiropractors may recommend ways to reduce physical, emotional or mental stress.

Migraine headache.

Migraine headaches feel like an intense throbbing or pulsing pain and can affect one or both sides of the head. Migraines can occur with or without an aura, which is described as visual disturbances such as flashes of light or blind spots in the vision. Some patients report nausea, light and/or sound sensitivity with a migraine. Migraine headaches usually happen more than once (a recurring headache) and last from four hours to three days. We may find that joints in your neck are causing or contributing to your migraine. If this is the case, chiropractic adjustments and working on the muscles of the head and neck can often reduce the intensity and duration of the migraine.

Cluster headache.

Cluster headaches are a type of headache that generally causes intense pain over or around one eye or one side of the head, and sometimes causes a runny nose or eyes. Unlike migraines, which often come on gradually, cluster headaches typically come on suddenly and often wake a person from sleep. They can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, and it’s possible to have as many as eight in a single day! Cluster headaches come in a series, or cluster, over a period of weeks or months and are more common among men than women.

Sinus headache.

Sinus headaches are caused by pressure that builds up in the sinuses, often because of a cold, allergies or weather changes. There are chiropractic techniques for the sinuses, neck and skull that can help decrease sinus pressure. A chiropractor may detect an obstruction that has an impact on your sinuses. For example, sometimes when a neck vertebra is out of alignment, it may affect drainage from your sinuses. So before you reach for an over-the-counter sinus medication, talk to your chiropractor about how chiropractic adjustments help relieve sinus pressure naturally. Chiropractors may also provide nutritional counseling or recommend massage therapy.

Causes of Headaches

The most common causes for headaches are muscle tension, often brought on by mental or emotional stress or poor posture. Other physical causes for headaches include high blood pressure, hormone fluctuations, eye strain and increased pressure in the skull. There are specific chiropractic adjustments that have been shown to help lower blood pressure. If it is suspected that your headaches might be coming from increased pressure inside your skull, we may request that you get an MRI or CT scan to get a better picture or refer you to your primary care physician.

Another common cause for headaches that many of us don’t think about right away is chemical exposure. Chemical exposure may come from certain foods we eat, medicines and supplements we take and chemicals in our everyday environment (household cleaners, skin care products, air pollution). Many people have headaches caused by sugar, food additives, medicines etc. Your chiropractor can help you figure out what “chemicals” you’re around every day that might be causing or contributing to your headaches.

Research supports that chiropractic treatment can be an effective treatment option for headache pain. If you suffer from frequent headaches, schedule an appointment today.

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've been coming to see Dr. Bob since 1984 for my back pain. After each visit, the vast improvement lasts about one whole month. Even after all these years, Dr. Bob continues to provide outstanding care for me, my children, and my grandchildren. I've referred several people to HealthWise Chiropractic, so they too can see the results I have. My favorite part of my visits is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and doctors and, of course, the results I get that improve my daily living."
    Danny S.
  • "About ten years ago I was at the gym, I bent over and couldn't get up, the pain was horrible. I contacted Healthwise and Dr. Mike gave me an emergency appointment that evening. He did a complete physical and x-ray before he started any treatment. After my first treatment I was able to stand up and walk with minimal pain. With a few visits I was back to normal. I continued treatments as needed for the next several years.
    I see Dr. Bob regularly to stay fit and pain-free. He tests my strength and weakness to determine the best treatment. Our open discussion led him to help my acid reflux. I now exercise and walk as is essential for a septuagenarian.
    I told Dr. Bob that I was starting to get knee pain that I thought was arthritis; I didn't think chiropractic care could help. He told me about new equipment to help. I look forward to improvement.
    I was a skeptic of chiropractic care, now I would recommend HealthWise to anyone with chronic/simple pain. It worked for me. It can work for you!"
    Sherry B.
  • "I was very miserable with constant pain in my leg while knowing it had something to do with my back. My friend surprised me with an appointment with Dr. Bob. After being treated by Dr. Bob I knew right away it was exactly what I needed. I learned a lot through my conversations with the doctor. I am really thankful to Dr. Bob and his staff."
    Ed L.
  • "I had a very limited understanding of chiropractic care until I tried it for the first time 12 years ago. I came in with severe pain in my neck, which prohibited me from moving my head. I was greeted by a kind staff, had an exam and x-rays done on my first appointment followed by an adjustment. I felt so much better after my first adjustment and by following the treatment plan my headaches and migraines improved. My overall health has improved because of chiropractic care. Dr. Bob helps make sure that I am taking the right supplements to optimize my health and fitness performance. They have helped me with allergies, knee and shoulder pain, and earaches. I had no idea when I began my chiropractic journey just how much help the doctors and staff at HealthWise would be at improving my quality of life."
    Britt H.
  • "I have been a patient at HealthWise Chiropractic for over 20 years. In the past and currently I am seeing Dr. Bob, however, I have seen all docs at Healthwise. My general issues are usually seasonally related to sinus and allergies. Recently I have been receiving treatment for my hip and lower back. Dr. Bob zeros in on trigger points and quickly relieves my pain. He is a wealth of knowledge and offers help and suggestion on my health issues. The staff is friendly and helpful. I leave feeling better and I believe helps to keep my body aligned and energized. I have also come in after falls, injuries and surgeries. I truly believe my adjustments at the time added to a quicker recovery."
    Liz B.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Bob for two and half months. . I see him for an adjustment every two weeks. I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in January 2021 while working in Florida for my continued lower back pain and chronic bilateral hip bursitis. Because my pain was mostly relieved with continued adjustments, I decided to continue with treatment when returning to Wisconsin. I have been very happy with my continued pain relief/adjustments at HealthWise. I highly recommend anyone with chronic back and neck pain to try chiropractic adjustments here at HealthWise. It will make your life better."
    Marianne V.
  • "Really enjoyed the different things that they can do for you and your pain management. Would highly recommend."
    Rhiannon P.
  • "I enjoy coming, getting readjusted and any additional therapies. It has made my life healthier and less stressful. If I have questions, they are answered at that visit. The staff is very professional, personable and friendly. I always look forward to my next visit with them. I am glad to be part of Healthwise Chiropractic family:)"
    Marcella L.
  • "Dr. Mike is fantastic! He is very personable….will take time to really to your needs… I enjoy my visits…the maintenance has helped tremendously…..and he is there when the emergency pops up! Excellent Chiropractor!"
    Ann W.

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