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Headache? Here is How Chiropractic Care Can Help

By Dr. Molly Casey

Headaches and Chiropractic Care

Headaches are a common issue in American society today. The International Headache Society (IHS) began a classification in 1985 called the tension-type headache (TTH). TTH is among the most commonly reported headaches with some studies showing 30-78 percent of people experiencing them. It is estimated more than 1 billion people are affected yearly by these headaches. If you’re feeling stressed and spent during this time of stay-at-home orders, or you’re feeling maxed out and spent and you notice a headache coming on, these are the likely culprit.

Tension-Type Headaches

Tension-type headaches are often experienced as a tightness/dull aching that is in the back of the head and sometimes wraps around the forehead. Often people will describe these as if someone has their head in a vise-grip. The onset is frequently midday and gradual. Up to 80 percent of adults have a tension type headache at some point. Think of this type of headache after a long day at the office or stressful weekend full of events.


There are two types of tension headaches -- episodic tension headaches and chronic tension headaches.

Episodic TTH are those that occur and go away with longer than 15 days between occurrences.

Chronic TTH occurs, goes away, and returns within 15 days. These headaches can last for as little as 30 minutes or as long as a few days.

Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms associated with TTH beyond the vise-grip-like pain include, but are not limited, to:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Problems focusing
  • Overall feeling sluggish
  • Muscle aches

Causes of TTH vary, but can include decreased quality or frequency of sleep, increased stress levels, poor posture, holding the same position for a long period, anxiety and fatigue, increased alcohol and/or caffeine consumption, and jaw or dental problems.

Can Chiropractic Help?

Can chiropractic help tension-type headaches? For many, the short answer is yes. It is important to note that regular chiropractic adjustments improve spinal motion and facilitate optimal nervous system functioning and communication. When regular chiropractic adjustments are received, on the foundational level the body (your machine) is better off and has a better chance of expressing optimal health.

Headaches are classified as a neurological disorder. As adjustments positively promote nervous system communication and function, the body then has a better chance of fighting any neurological issue with regular chiropractic adjustments. If the actual headache goes away with an adjustment, then it’s fair to say that regular chiropractic care is helpful in the treatment of TTH.

When the spine is not moving as well as it is intended or has the ability to, it affects the muscles surrounding the spine and skull. Increased tension is present where it normally would not be with proper structural motion. This increased physical tension can elicit or exacerbate headache occurrence, presentation, and intensity. Getting regular chiropractic adjustments can often help decrease the pain and discomfort felt from improper or decreased structural joint motion.

If you or anyone you know and love is suffering from headaches, see chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic to help you find relief.

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