Headache, Migraine and Chiropractic

There are many types and causes of headaches and migraines. Most causes involve physical trauma, dehydration, nutritional reactions, or emotional stress. A common cause of headaches and migraines is due to the spinal bones in your neck are straining to support your head. This affects nerves, muscles, and blood supply the head and may contribute or be the cause of headache. If you experience pain in your head or face and have neck stiffness or pain, then it is likely we can help you with Chiropractic adjustments.

How can Chiropractic help Headaches or Migraines?

On examination, I will locate which areas of your spine are not functioning properly. I will assess your posture, muscle tension, spinal curves, balance of movement, and your ability to move your neck. Additionally, we will discuss possible triggers or patterns that occur with your headaches. For example, certain foods or different seasons may be a trigger a headache. We shall also discuss your physical movements, pillow, bed, and repetitive movements at work or with exercise. After these examinations, I will determine if you are likely to benefit from Chiropractic adjustments and will guide you to expected timeframes for improvement. While we can’t guarantee to eliminate your symptoms, in most cases we are confident we can help reduce and control the frequency of your headaches and migraines.

What Happens

Chiropractic adjustments help normalise spinal movements which helps normalise posture, reduce tension, and take pressure of sensitive nerves. Most headaches are caused by nerve irritation from spinal bones directly below your head, however, I find best results when the whole spine is looked after. Hence, your Chiropractic care plan will involve your whole spine. We often have success in reducing symptoms in the first stage of care (3-5 appointments), however, Chiropractic is not a quick fix (like a drug) and our goal is to stabilise your spine so your headaches and migraines stay under control. We achieve this by achieving our goal of returning proper function to the spine through correct movements and strengthening the muscles that support your head.

Do I Need an X-ray?

In most cases – no. X-rays are useful to illustrate the structural integrity of the spine but it does not “show” where pain is. It may be useful to rule serious concerns out, however, these concerns are very unlikely, plus other signs and symptoms would alert us to these cases. If concerned, we can refer you for and x-ray.


Headaches and migraines affect an estimated 400,000 New Zealanders (Neurological Society of New Zealand) of which 300,000 (75%) will be women. It is the most common neurological condition in New Zealand accounting for approximately 10% of the population having a headache or migraine at some stage in their life.

Chiropractic is a team approach to enjoying better health. I will often recommend posture advice and specific exercises to help us get great results. You can further your understanding of your Chiropractic care by telling others what you experienced through The Life Clinic.

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I hope to help you soon.


Dr Matt Short – Chiropractor, P.G. Dip – Musculoskeletal Management Otago





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