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Migraines / Headaches

It has been estimated that each year, 50 million headache sufferers make 50 million office visits to U.S. health care physicians. This prevalence makes up roughly 15%-20% of the general population.


Of the cases of primary headaches, cervicogenic headaches (aka caused by dysfunction in the neck) and tension headaches (muscular tension and mental stress) represent about 55-60% or more of all headaches. Migraine headache symptoms can include temporary visual or auditory disturbances, intense head pain, nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and sound. It is also common (75% – 89% of cases) for migraine and tension-type headache sufferers to experience neck pain in association with these headaches.

What are the Possible Causes of Migraines and Headaches?

According to The Mayo Clinic “migraine causes aren’t fully understood… changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway, might be involved. So might imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system.” Other neurotransmitters beyond serotonin play a role in the pain of migraine, including calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP).”

What are the Current Treatment Options?

The current treatments have been limited to pain medication, anti- depressants, anti-seizure meds, anti-nausea meds, and botulinum toxin (Botox) injections (in as many as 31 locations of the head and neck). While these methods may reduce the suffering of the patient temporarily, they do not claim to correct the underlying cause of these headaches. These treatments also come with a risk of side-effects, and can trigger serious medication-overuse headaches.

How Can Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Help?

While traditional medical approaches focus on drug therapies to block pain, upper cervical specialists look for evidence of physical dysfunction that can lead to altered nerve transmission, restricted blood flow, and/or improper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid. Using a series of physical tests and specific x-ray imaging, they detect and correct the positions of the vertebrae surrounding the brainstem and spinal cord, facilitating the body’s return to normal function.

Thanks to the research by Dr. Raymond Damadian, a medical doctor and major contributor to the invention of the MRI, it is now understood that when someone has a misalignment in the upper neck, it actually changes the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as it travels from the spine back to the brain. CSF is the fluid that delivers nutrients and provides a protective cushion to the brain and spinal cord. Obstruction of this flow has been demonstrated to occur when the bones of the upper neck are misaligned and create a backup of CSF and increased pressure inside the brain.

When this misalignment was corrected by an upper cervical procedure, the studies showed that the pressure inside the head decreased and the CSF flow became normalized.
Misalignments of the craniocervical junction (upper cervical spine) are found to be common in patients suffering from migraine headaches, cervicogenic headaches and more.

One such article “…reports on two patients who presented with severe, long-standing migraine headaches and other complications following whiplash injuries. Both patients were examined in an upright MRI utilizing specialized software, which allowed for evaluation of CSF flow.

It was found that in each patient there was a misalignment of the 1st cervical vertebra (Atlas), as well as substantially reduced CSF flow between the skull and the neck. Both patients received an upper cervical correction directed at the C1 misalignment.”
Within an hour of the correction, both patients were rescanned, and normal CSF flow was restored. Additionally, the headache pain was nearly eliminated immediately after the correction in both patients.


The researchers stated:”Prior research has demonstrated a correlation between CSF flow obstruction and intracranial pressure headaches. This is a potentially significant clinical finding (CSF obstruction) that can lead to long-term and often unexplained complaints of unresolved headaches, neck pain, tingling, numbness, and a variety of other symptoms.”

This type of upper neck correction can only be performed by a specially trained group of doctors. While each case is unique, the goal of our approach is to restore normal function to the head and neck, and thus allow for healing to occur. The relief of these headache symptoms is an added bonus to this healing process.”

Give us a call to schedule a consultation and discover if upper cervical care is right for you.


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