Chiropractic for Headache Relief

By Robert J. Steiskal, D.C.

Estimates show that nine out of every ten Americans suffer from headaches—not a surprising figure in light of the typical American lifestyle. Many people consider a headache a normal occurrence: you pop a few pills, and it usually goes away. If it doesn’t, you double the dose. The problem with this “pill for every ill” approach is that a headache is not normal, and should not be accepted as a normal part of life. When people use drugs to ease their headache pain, they do nothing to eliminate the cause of the pain. They simply mask the symptoms and trick the body into believing that the problem has been corrected. Their actions can be compared to someone disconnecting the fire alarm instead of putting out the fire. They have eliminated the symptom (the alarm) but have not corrected the problem (the fire).

A whole generation of Americans has grown up believing that for every pain known to man, there is a “miracle cure” that will make it go away. For headache sufferers, the choices are impressive: tablets, caplets and capsules; regular, extra-strength and maximum-strength. Yet these remedies have one thing in common: they are all drugs. They inhibit the body’s natural recuperative powers, and they can have serious side effects. The National Institue of Health (NIH) states that over 80,000 people are hospitalized each year for over-the-counter reactions. At best, they bring only temporary relief and do nothing to correct the cause of the headache pain. Years of sophisticated advertising campaigns at a cost of millions of dollars per day have convinced many people that over-the-counter headache remedies are both safe and effective.

While there are many types of headaches, the two most common are the tension headache and the vascular (migraine) headache, which may occur separately or in a combined (mixed headache) form.


Tension headaches are associated with increased muscular tension, most commonly as a result of stress. The majority of people manifest stress in the muscles of the neck, upper back, and shoulder areas, which in turn refers pain to the head. These muscles become tight and develop tender localized areas of constriction and spasm called “trigger points”. The pain on a tension headache is usually a steady, persistent ache with a sensation of tightness throughout the neck and head. Researchers at M.I.T. have identified tiny muscles that are attached to the vertebrae in the upper neck and go up through the Foramen Magnum to attach to the dura (brain covering).


The most common vascular headache is the migraine, which results from changes in the blood vessels of the head and neck. Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors (including stress, certain foods, irregular sleeping or eating patterns, and so on). Migraine headaches are usually throbbing in nature, can affect one side of the head or both, and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, and sensitivity to light or noise.


Headaches are a major concern for millions of patients and health care providers alike; but there is an alternative to taking medication . . . modern day scientific chiropractic care.

Chiropractic offers an effective, drugless means of preventing, diminishing, and in many cases alleviating these headache syndromes. As a chiropractor, I am interested in the causes of your headaches, not just the symptoms. In most cases, a chiropractic diagnosis will reveal a subluxation of the cervical spine. In other words, a misalignment of two or more vertebrae of the neck region which is causing nerve pressure at the base of the skull. Extensive studies in the United States, in Australia, in Germany and in Canada have all reached the same conclusion: up to 90% of all headaches are caused by these vertebral subluxations.

If you are bothered now or have been bothered in the past by recurring headaches, call my office at (909) 986-3636 for an appointment. Don’t wait for the next headache to start before you decide to try chiropractic. I can provide a treatment program that will help.