Chiropractic and Migraines

One of the easiest things you can do to begin the journey to reducing migraines is by keeping a migraine diary to identify any triggers. If you have completed a migraine diary your chiropractor will monitor this and recommend lifestyle changes.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care can not only reduce headaches and migraine pain, but it can change the root cause of these issues at the level of the spine and cause changes in the brain. In a study done by Tuchin et al, 127 migraine sufferers underwent two months of chiropractic care or no intervention. The clients who received chiropractic care showed reduced headache frequency, duration, pain levels, and disability. In fact, one in five participants migraines are almost completely gone within the two months.
In your migraine diary the following details should be noted:

  • Date.
  • Start time: First thing after waking up in the morning, during the day, or in the evening.
  • End time: Length of migraine.
  • What was eaten before migraine started.
  • How much water was drunk in the hours before the start of the migraine.
  • Lighting before migraine started: flashing lights, driving at night, working in artificial lighting, using a computer for prolonged periods.
  • How was your sleep the night before the migraine started?
  • Weather changes on the day.
  • Stage of menstrual cycle if applicable.

 The Do’s and Don’ts

Have a consistent sleep scheduleAvoid too little or too much sleep Avoid interruptions to sleep Avoid daytime naps
Routine aerobic exerciseAvoid emotional and physical stress
Either have regular small amounts of caffeine, or none. Avoid excessive or fluctuating caffeine intake especially after 3pm. Avoid alcohol. 
Have a balanced dietAvoid skipping meals

Sleep, melatonin and migraines

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle. Melatonin is naturally secreted in our bodies due to incoming light information. Blue light inhibits the secretion of melatonin. This can affect the sleep wake cycle. Melatonin has shown to reduce episodic migraines but not chronic migraines. Hence, ensuring a consistent sleeping schedule with avoidance of sleep interruptions, and avoiding daytime naps can possibly help with migraines.
Chiropractic clients often describe that their sleeping patterns are more consistent under chiropractic care.


Brennan, K. C., & Charles, A. (2009). Sleep and headache. Seminars in neurology, 29(4), 406–418.
Ferreira, M. C., Bevilaqua-Grossi, D., Dach, F. E., Speciali, J. G., Gonçalves, M. C., & Chaves, T. C. (2014). Body posture changes in women with migraine with or without temporomandibular disorders. Brazilian journal of physical therapy, 18(1), 19–29.
Hardeland, R., Pandi-Perumal, S. R., & Cardinali, D. P. (2006). Melatonin. The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology, 38(3), 313-316.
Haas, M., Spegman, A., Peterson, D., Aickin, M., & Vavrek, D. (2010). Dose response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. The spine journal, 10(2), 117-128.
Tuchin, P. J., Pollard, H., & Bonello, R. (2000). A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 23(2), 91-95.