Migraines are preventable with Chiropractic care

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Posted 08.01.2019

Chiropractic helps prevent migraines

Let’s jump straight to some key points

  1. Research has shown that Chiropractic can help prevent migrainesBook in here if that’s all you needed to know!
  2. There are many medical and pharmaceutical approaches for patients with migraines2
  3. You should always seek a professional opinion i.e. from your GP or Chiropractor if you have not yet been diagnosed with migraines or are having ongoing issues.

I love finding the relationship between cause and effect, and I do not think migraines are from a lack of paracetamol in your life. This article mainly concerns point number one, and will be of interest to you if you do not think the pharmaceutical approach is right for you or your family, or have tried it yet it is not working. Points number 2 and 3 are extremely valid, and I personally do advise patients to see their GP and take medications if required, and I will follow that advice myself if required.

However it is not what I am passionate about, otherwise I would have gone down that route in my career. So if you are still reading this you will likely want to know a bit more, and we are about to go into some depth concerning cause and effect which may be quite confusing at the first read through.

Probably 80-90% of patients booking in to the Clinic here in Duffield present with lower back pain or neck pain. In the consultation with every patient who has neck pain I will ask about headaches and migraines, and I find that often (I would estimate roughly 30%) those people will be suffering with these to some extent.

This is a ‘problem to symptom’ extrapolation, and as you can see not everyone with a neck problem will get migraines or headaches. If we approach it from the other way (a symptom to problem extrapolation), when a patient presents to me with migraines as their main issue, I will find a neck or spinal problem 97%* of the time (*I actually cannot recall ever seeing someone on their initial assessment who is suffering with migraines who did not have a spinal issue at some level but will leave some room for error!). What do we know so far…

  • Neck pain = Migraine?
  • Migraines = neck problem?

So to try and clarify before we move on, not everyone with a neck problem will get migraines and headaches (but it is likely), however based on clinical experience I will find a spinal issue with everyone* who has migraines when I see them on their first assessment.

  • Neck pain = Possible migraines
  • Migraines = neck and spine problem

Now before we think we are in the clear, let me confuse you again by saying that even if you don’t have migraines, headaches or symptoms – I am again 97% confident I will find a problem somewhere unless you have had a course of high quality treatment and rehabilitation previously. So..

  • Migraines = neck or spine problem
  • Symptom free = neck and spine problem?

And before we go on I will throw one more element into the mix to confuse the situation even further. There are times where you have no spinal problem or neck issues, with or without Chiropractic treatment and rehabilitation, and yet still have migraines!

  • No spinal problem = Migraines and headaches??

Welcome to the wonderful world of multifactoral issues, sub-clinical findings and a network of causes and effects, hidden factors and underlying issues, masquerading problems, and so on.

Congratulations if you are still reading I am going to try and reward you by clearing this up as best I can! The variables we know so far:

  1. No symptoms + no Chiropractic treatment = neck or spine problem which the body is tolerating
  2. No symptoms + preventative Chiropractic check-ups = any previous spinal problems corrected so can’t be impacting on your overall health.
  3. Migraines or headaches + no Chiropractic treatment = Neck and spine issue underlying with migraines
  4. Migraines and headaches + Chiropractic treatment = Option 1: spine problem resolved and no more migraines
  5. Migraines and headaches + Chiropractic treatment = Option 2: spine problem resolved yet persistent migraines = other problem causing your migraines (rules out spinal problem as primary causative factor).

How do you know if Chiropractic can help your migraines?

Treatment of the spine - Chiropractor

If you are suffering with migraines then you will be in variables 3-5 above. If you are stuck in variable 3 above AND have a Chiropractic neck issue which is causing your migraines, you will need to resolve your migraines in spite of this. This doesn’t mean it cannot be done, but you have to try other approaches to get your body to tolerate the primary issue. And in terms of the cause and effect principle if your neck is causing your migraines, and you choose to take medications, you are only getting rid of the effect, not the cause.

When you choose to come and see us for a course of treatment we always aim for variable 4 – everyone is happy and the migraines have gone! Even if you are found temporarily with variable 5 (option 2 from above) it just means we need to explore other options to resolve your migraines, but then at least we know where we stand and can plan further.

Variable 5 is not necessarily a bad thing. It may seem so at first i.e. ‘Chiropractic has failed to resolve the migraines’, but let us think a bit bigger. We know that there are many triggers for migraines – let us consider someone who is getting migraines from caffeine for example, and they also have a neck issue which is contributing to their migraines. If they give up caffeine they might still be getting migraines. One would initially assume that therefore caffeine isn’t an issue. If that same person has their neck and spinal issues corrected, first and still has migraines, and later on gives up caffeine, that might be the combination to becoming symptom free!

One thing is certain, you will never know which outcome will occur if you never book in to see us at the clinic. Ever wondered why your car keys are in the last place you look for them? You don’t carry on looking for them after you find them, you keep on looking and then stop when they are in your hand! You don’t solve your migraines until you solve them, and that means you don’t want to be stuck with variable 3 as the cause could be right there but not looked at.

Research has shown that Chiropractic can help prevent migraines1 which is what the outcome refers to with option 1. However at Duffield Chiropractic Clinic we appreciate the complexity of problems and at the end of the day the main research outcome is for yourself, have you solved the problem which is causing your migraines?

coffee migraines

There is a hidden option that we touched upon above with the combined approach of needing to have Chiropractic and cut out caffeine (for example). This is hidden option 3 which means we need to explore everything else as well. And we might as well do that at the same time rather than waiting. Personally if someone was asking my advice about their headaches and migraines and had received a course of Chiropractic treatment for their spine, I would want to assess their jaw (for TMJ issues), review their diet (caffeine intake and sugar levels), explore functional muscular issues, provide rehabilitation for strengthening, assessment of ergonomics, consider acupuncture and then have a think about anything else such as their quality of sleep and managing stress levels. I have even had a patient who was getting headaches due to a problem with his big toe but that story is for another day!

Our approach at Duffield Chiropractic Clinic is to always find out what you need. We don’t give you ‘Chiropractic’, we give you a systematic assessment to find out the real cause and effect that is relevant to you. You can find out what to expect if you want some more information before you book in to see us.

Andrew Harlow – Derby Chiropractor

Duffield Chiropractic Clinic




Andrew made me feel comfortable immediately, listening carefully and giving me time to explain my concerns. He asked questions to elicit the exact nature of my problems and after treatment gave me advice on how to avoid problems in the future, His understanding, patience, and holistic approach has ensured I got better after treatment and also am able to keep active and fit. - Kate Tollervey

I have seen a lot of people over the years and like Andrew’s approach as he is extremely logical and always finds the root cause of the problem. Very happy to be back on the golf course. - Sam Warrington

Andrew dealt with me in a professional manor and was incredibly knowledgeable and thorough in his treatment. Highly recommended. Thank you very much. - Christine Charles

I have been treated by him over the last 6 years and have always been very impressed. - Robert Cooper