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  • Writer's pictureDr. Alex Tapplin

Headaches: Can Chiropractic or Physical Therapy Help?

There is evidence to support the use of physical therapy and/or chiropractic care for certain types of headaches, particularly tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches.


A systematic review of the literature published in the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy in 2011 and in 2016 found that spinal manipulation, which is a common technique used in chiropractic care, was effective in reducing headache symptoms in patients with tension-type headaches. The study also found that soft tissue treatments and other manual therapy techniques were effective in reducing headache frequency and intensity.


A randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy in 2019 found that physical therapy was effective in reducing headache frequency, duration, and intensity in patients with tension-type headaches. The study found that a combination of manual therapy, exercise, and education was more effective than exercise alone in reducing headache symptoms.


A systematic review published in the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy in 2016 found that dry needling was effective in reducing pain and disability in patients with tension-type headaches. The study found that dry needling was more effective than sham treatment or other forms of manual therapy, such as massage or stretching.


One study published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation in 2016 investigated the use of High Intensity Laser Therapy for patients with chronic tension-type headaches. The study found that HILT was effective in reducing headache frequency, duration, and intensity, and improving quality of life.


We use a comprehensive approach to the treatment of headaches here at Valley Spine & Sport. Let us know if you have any questions using the chat function here or book an appointment if you're ready for headache relief.

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