Headaches after treatment

by Kerri, RN, CDE, ACM

Pterygoid pocket

Pterygoid pocket

Well written, helpful graphics and delightful commentary. Fearfully and wonderfully made indeed!!

I had a whiplash as a very young adult. I have had migraines since puberty (16), greatly improved with max dose beta blocker and now more infrequent.

When I get cervical adjustments, I am left with a headache?

Hello Kerri,
This may sound odd for a chiropractor, but when I hear of migraines, I look first to the jaw joint and only then the cervical spine.

Place the pulp of your index fingers just in front of the tragus of the ears. Is one, or both, tender? Now open and close slowly; do they open symmetrically in tandem? Ask someone to watch your teeth of the lower jaw as you open; do they jig to the side?

Then massage the masseter and temporalis muscles and, if you can find it, the external pterygoid in the pterygoid pocket. Are they inordinately tender? Is there referred pain to the eye, cheeks or deep inside?

If cervical adjustments give you a temporary headache, but overall it helps then for several weeks, then you may just have to accept it; more likely is that the right combination of adjustments must be sought.

Generally we think of the upper cervical spine for headaches but recently, not helping a patient, we found that just adjusting the first rib and nothing else is what fixes her headaches.

It's a bit of detective game, and what makes practice interesting; but perhaps frustrating for those who don't have enquiring minds and are willing to look elsewhere.

Sometimes, only one adjustment may be the solution, or the occiput instead of the atlas; everyone is different.

If you're not making progress, or your chiro won't listen, try seeing a different chirorpactor.

I hope this contributes; let me know.

Dr B



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