Chiropractic Care for Headaches & Migraine Winnipeg

Headaches and Migraine

Headaches refer to pain or discomfort in the head or neck region, varying in intensity and duration. It may manifest as a dull ache, throbbing sensation, or sharp pain, often accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, or dizziness. Headaches can stem from various causes, including stress, muscle tension, dehydration, dietary factors, or underlying health conditions.
Types of Headache
Headaches are a common problem that many people experience. There are various types of headaches, each with its own set of symptoms and causes. Here are some of the most common types of headaches:
Migraines: Migraines are a severe type of headache that can cause excruciating pain, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Although the exact cause of migraines is unknown, there are some factors that can increase the risk of developing them, such as gender, age, and certain medical conditions.
Cervicogenic Headaches: These headaches start in the neck and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor posture, stress, or injury. Symptoms of cervicogenic headaches can include neck pain, headache on one side of the head, and stiffness.
Tension/Stress Headaches: These are the most common type of headaches and are often caused by stress, anxiety, or poor sleep. Symptoms of tension headaches can include a dull, aching pain in the head, neck, or shoulders, as well as sensitivity to light and sound.
Other types of headaches include cluster headaches, sinus headaches, and rebound headaches. If you experience frequent or severe headaches, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options.
Headache Causes
Headaches can manifest in various locations and types of pain, aiding doctors in diagnosis. They classify headaches as primary or secondary based on underlying health conditions, per the International Headache Society.
Primary headaches stem from head and neck structure issues involving brain areas, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, or chemicals. Examples include migraines, clusters, tension, and medication overuse headaches.
Secondary headaches arise as symptoms of medical conditions like pregnancy complications, infections, hypothyroidism, giant cell arteritis, stroke, or brain tumours. Pregnancy-related secondary headaches may indicate eclampsia or posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome.
Common Exercises For Headache Relief
Neck Retraction Exercise
Addressing chronic forward poor posture, which often exacerbates nerve irritation in the neck and contributes to headaches, this simple neck exercise aims to reverse the detrimental effects.
Maintain a neutral chin position and gently retract your chin backward, as if forming a slight double chin (albeit temporarily). Ensure your chin remains horizontal with the floor, avoiding excessive elevation toward the ceiling or dropping it too low.
The objective is twofold: to strengthen the muscles in the back of your neck and to reeducate your neck and brain about the adverse effects of forward neck posture, ultimately leading to long-term headache relief in Toronto.
SCM and Scalene Neck Stretch
The SCM (sternocleidomastoid) and scalene muscles, found along the side and front of your neck, tend to become tight and shortened in individuals who spend prolonged periods sitting or looking down, often contributing to headaches in Toronto.
To stretch these muscles effectively, start by sitting upright. Then, gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your opposite shoulder. Rotate your head diagonally upward in the opposite direction, and gradually turn your head toward the opposite shoulder while maintaining tension in the stretch.
Throughout this movement, you should feel the stretch engaging various points along your neck, targeting different segments of the SCM and scalene muscles. Pay attention to any areas of increased tightness or slight soreness, as these may indicate areas in need of additional stretching. Hold the stretch in such areas for a prolonged duration to maximize the benefits.
Shoulder Blade Retractions:
Begin this exercise by sitting upright with proper posture, ensuring your spine is aligned, and your shoulders are relaxed. Initiate the movement by drawing your shoulder blades together towards your spine, focusing on squeezing them gently without straining. Hold this retracted position for approximately 8 seconds, maintaining a controlled and steady movement.
Next, relax your shoulder blades and return to the starting position while keeping your posture tall and your core engaged. Be mindful not to slouch or hunch forward during the exercise. Repeat this sequence of shoulder blade retractions for a total of 10 repetitions to strengthen and engage the muscles around your shoulder blades effectively.
Consistent practice of shoulder blade retractions can help improve posture, alleviate tension in the upper back and neck, and enhance shoulder stability. Incorporating this exercise into your daily routine can contribute to overall spinal health and reduce the risk of developing shoulder and neck pain associated with poor posture or muscle imbalances.
Chiropractic Treatment for Headache
Chiropractic care offers a holistic approach to headache treatment by focusing on spinal alignment and nervous system function. Misalignments in the spine, known as subluxations, can contribute to headaches by causing muscle tension and nerve irritation. Through gentle spinal adjustments and manipulations, chiropractors can realign the spine, alleviate tension, and restore proper nerve function, providing long-term relief from headaches.
In addition to spinal adjustments, chiropractors may also incorporate other therapeutic techniques such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and lifestyle counselling to address underlying factors contributing to headaches. By addressing the root cause of headaches and promoting overall spinal health, chiropractic care offers a natural and effective alternative to conventional pain management strategies. With personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual's needs, chiropractors strive to improve quality of life and reduce reliance on medication for headache relief.


Yes, headaches can improve over time with appropriate management and treatment. Identifying triggers, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, and seeking professional guidance can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. However, persistent or worsening headaches should prompt medical evaluation to address underlying causes effectively.

Many individuals want to know what factors can trigger headaches, such as stress, lack of sleep, certain foods or beverages, hormonal changes, environmental factors, and underlying health conditions.

You should not ignore a headache if it is severe, sudden, or accompanied by additional concerning symptoms such as visual disturbances, confusion, weakness, or numbness. Additionally, if headaches are recurrent, progressively worsening, or interfering significantly with daily activities, seeking medical evaluation promptly is advisable to rule out underlying health issues.

Managing headaches often involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, stress management techniques, dietary changes, and, in some cases, medication. Providing information on relaxation techniques, proper hydration, regular exercise, healthy sleep habits, and over-the-counter or prescription medications can empower individuals to manage their headaches effectively.

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