Migraines and Chiropractic: Research and Results

When people think about chiropractic, they often think of the neck and back. Even with the close proximity of the neck to the head region, people seldom realize chiropractic is so effective at helping people who are suffering with migraines and headaches.

The truth is, chiropractic is so effective at helping with these issues, it’s unbelievable that society has not yet caught on to this.

Let’s take a look at what clinical and case studies have shown us.

Migraines and Chiropractic | Austin TX Chiropractor

Chiropractic and Migraine Research

In one series of case studies, the frequency of migraine episodes was reduced on average by 90%, duration of each episode by 38%, and use of medication was reduced by 94%. In addition, several associated symptoms were substantially reduced, including nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia. (1)

In a larger study, a group of 87 patients with common or classical migraine received chiropractic adjustments and the results were analyzed two years later via a headache questionnaire. Of the patients with common migraine, 85% of females and 50% of males were either improved or their headaches ceased altogether, while patients with classical migraine showed an improvement rate of 78% for females and 75% for males. (2)

In one of the largest randomized controlled studies on the topic so far, 72% of the chronic migraine sufferers had noticeable improvement with 22% of those having over 60% of their symptoms reduced. Frequency of migraines, length of time they had them and the need for medication were all significantly reduced. (3)

In a more recent study, chiropractic care was shown to reduce migraine symptoms significantly and when compared to other provider types, the chiropractic patients reported a greater reduction in pain associated with their attacks. (4)

Another study showed that chiropractic was at least as effective as various medications without the potential serious side effects those medications carry with them. (5)

Overall, the literature is ripe with case studies and despite the limited number of clinical studies on the topic, the results have been very encouraging. (6)

How Does Chiropractic Work for Migraines and Headaches?

Chiropractic works in helping migraine and headache sufferers due to the delicate anatomy of the upper neck. In addition to the lower portion of the brainstem, the main blood supply to a significant portion of the brain must travel through the tiny opening in the spinal column.

Misalignment of the spine, known as vertebral subluxation, occur commonly in the upper neck. That shift in spinal position interferes with the all-important nervous system messages as well as the blood supply to the brain.

Severe head pain is simply the natural response to a situation that is damaging to the body.

Is Chiropractic a Treatment for Migraines and Headaches?

While chiropractic is not technically a “treatment” for migraines or headaches, just as it is not a treatment for autism or other conditions, it does have dramatic restorative effects. Our nervous systems control and coordinate normal function and healing. Once stress has been removed from that system, the natural result is better healing and function.

The results speak for themselves.

To find out if vertebral subluxation is causing migraines or headaches in your life, give us a call at (512) 452-2525 so that our friendly team can schedule a consultation with the doctor.


1.  Tuchin P.J. A case series of migraine changes following a manipulative therapy trial. Australas Chiropr Osteopathy. 1997;6:85–91.

2Wight J.S. Migraine: a statistical analysis of chiropractic treatment. Am Chiropr Assoc (ACA) J Chiropr. 1978;15:S63–S67.

3Tuchin PJ, Pollard H, Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000;23(2):91-95.

4. Parker, G. B., Tupling, H. and Pryor, D. S. (1978), A Controlled Trial of Cervical Manipulation for Migraine. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine, 8: 589–593. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.1978.tb04845.x

5. Bronfort G, Assendelft WJ, Evans R, Haas M, Bouter L. Efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic headache: a systematic reviewJ Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001;24(7):457-466.

6. Vernon, Howard T. The effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of headache: an exploration in the literatureJournal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics 18.9 (1994): 611-617.

7. Additional Headache and Migraine case studies and research papers.