Chronic Headaches and Migraines: A Solutions Oriented Approach with NUCCA

Chronic Headaches and Migraines: A Solutions Oriented Approach with NUCCA


How Common are Headaches?

According to the World Health Organization, headaches are extremely common. Almost everyone has headaches at some point in their life, but around 1 in 20 have headaches almost every day, while 1 in 7 people deal with migraines.

While some have headaches occasionally and think nothing of popping ibuporfin or aspirin, more severe headache sufferers are missing work, trying a number of stronger headache medications, searching for an answer.

Why do some people have chronic headaches or migraines and others don’t? The answer is simple. There is a reason. Too often, the approach completely ignores the underlying cause. The type of headache or diagnosis commonly just describes what the headache is like and gives it a name. The treatment is routinely aspirin, ibuprofin, acetominophen, Naproxen, Imitrex – medications designed to treat the pain while ignoring the very logical idea that there could be a physiological cause.

What Actually Causes Chronic Headaches & Migraines?

It is well accepted and written in medical literature that headaches can be caused by the following:

  1. Changes in circulation or blood flow around the brain.
  2. Inflammation or irritation to the brain and surrounding structures.

More importantly, what would cause changes in blood flow to the brain? What would cause inflammation or irritation to the brain and surrounding structures?

A recent article published in Neurology Research International, 2015 may point to a reason. This article describes the CCJ craniocervical junction (the joint between the occiput and atlas – or between the head and top bone of the neck) – “as a potential choke point for craniospinal hydrodynamics (head and neck blood flow,and CSF flow) and may play a causative or contributory role in the pathogenesisor progression of neurodegenerative diseases…including migraines.”

An article published in 2015 by Dr.Scott Rosa, states: Misaligments of c0-c1, c1-c2 (joints at the top of the neck) brought on by head and neck trauma can manifest in different outcomes. Some of those outcomes can affect or cause neural compromise, and/or some may contribute to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow obstruction as well as brain circulation compromise.

What is NUCCA?

NUCCA is a technique that specializes in properly aligning the head and neck (or the craniocervical junction CCJ, or c0-c1, or Atlas vertebra as mentioned in the above articles.) NUCCA is a gentle chiropractic technique that less than 1% of chiropractors are trained in. This technique uses before and after X-rays to show correction of these misalignments. Standard chiropractic X-rays can miss misalignments in this critical area.

Does NUCCA Help Headaches?

A study of migraine patients under NUCCA care for 2 months decreased their MIDAS score (a headache disability score) from an average of 46.7 to just 14.6.

Another upper cervical technique study followed patients over an 8 month period and patients that had adjustments showed complete resolution in 85 out of 101 headache patients. Some of the remaining 12 patients also showed some improvement. Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Tulsa, OK -a chiropractic office, keeps track of stats with their own patients and saw 98%of headaches improved and 83% of migraines improved.

My Own Experience

I have personally seen hundreds of people with headaches improve or resolve with specific upper cervical adjustments to the neck. Sometimes the changes can take weeks to months to notice, sometimes it can happen within minutes. I’ve seen people who had lost hope and tried everything else. They had seen every specialist and had given up hope. I’ve seen people with 20 years of almost daily headaches to finally living nearly headache free. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people will try NUCCA and if they do it’s often their last resort. It’s almost by chance that they find out about what NUCCA can do for them. In my experience, by correcting the alignment of the head and neck the vast majority of headaches can be helped and this should be the first step in finding a solution. In infrequent cases that don’t respond, more investigation must be done such as looking into food sensitivities, allergens, toxic chemicals, or hormones to name a few. The important thing to remember is that either way there is a cause.

The Bigger Picture

Misalignments of the head and neck, termed subluxations, can cause not just headaches but a wide number of other health issues. Anything from digestive problems to balance problems can have a strong relationship to the nervous system as it passes through the center of the neck,even if there is no pain located there. Headaches can be thought of as not just an isolated problem or diagnosis, but as symptom. It might be a sign that there is a head and neck misalignment affecting almost any other aspect of your health and physiology.

(This article refers to primary headaches. There can be other more urgent and serious causes such as meningitis, stroke,aneurysm, which must be treated without delay.)


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What makes our center really special is that we are among the few who actually specialize in the NUCCA technique, which is gaining momentum in the industry, and it is becoming a highly recognized standard.
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Balanced Health Chiropractic Center - Zeeland

300 South State Street #4
Zeeland, MI 49464
(616) 772-9255

Balanced Health Chiropractic Center - Grand Rapids

833 Kenmoor, Ste C
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 333-2322


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