Headaches are far too common and can impact your daily life and productivity.

While they're annoying when occasional, persistent headaches are downright frustrating. But no one should have to live with a headache.

Frequent headaches are like your body's check engine light; they tell you something's off, and it's crucial to uncover the underlying cause.

Reasons for Headaches:

There is always a reason you are getting a headache, and it's our job to figure out why. 

Different causes include:

  • Dehydration
  • Excess clenching of your jaw
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
  • Improper respiration patterns
  • Tight or inflamed neck muscles
  • Trigger points in the muscles around the head and neck
  • Food allergens (dairy, wheat, gluten, etc.)
  • Stress
  • Sinister disease

Our first goal is to rule out the serious stuff and hone in on the exact cause. As a chiropractor, I am trained to identify and treat musculoskeletal causes of headaches and make lasting changes. 

The most common type of headache is musculoskeletal, which means it comes from the tight muscles, trigger points, or stiff joints around the head and neck.


This dysfunction comes from clenching habits or TMD, poor breathing patterns (more on both of those below), and stiffness in the neck from prolonged poor posture or movement patterns. These types of headaches typically respond to treatment quickly and have lasting results.

If we determine that your headache isn't musculoskeletal, we can help you make the right changes with diet or hydration or refer you to a specialist for appropriate testing/imaging.

There is always an answer for headaches; we need to find the cause and apply the most effective treatment.

Treatments for Headaches:

As I mentioned above, the most common causes of headaches are musculoskeletal, meaning they originate from the muscles and joints around the head and neck.

Musculoskeletal headaches are right in our wheelhouse and are something we successfully treat.

For musculoskeletal headaches, we have many tools to help relieve them:

Chiropractic adjustments help restore motion to restricted joints, and soft-tissue release and dry needling help loosen tight muscles and trigger points. DNS helps restore proper muscle activation and movement patterns to make lasting changes.

Is clenching the culprit for your headaches? 

One of the most common causes of frequent headaches and migraines is tension headaches related to clenching of your jaw.

Because your mastication (chewing) muscles are located on the side of your face and in your temple region, when you clench, you are actively using these muscles all day and night.


Over time, this causes the muscles to tighten up and become a headache producer.

Most people aren't aware that they clench, so it's important to get in the habit of checking to see if you are clenching. 

You might even be clenching right now as you read this. One indication you are clenching is if you wake up with headaches or jaw pain.

The fix is actually pretty simple: get in the habit of thinking every time you check your phone, look in a mirror, or use whatever cue you come up with, "Lips together, teeth apart, and tongue on the roof of your mouth.” 

Releasing the tension from your jaw can significantly impact headaches and migraines!

 Is how you breathe causing your headaches?

Anyone who has been a patient here knows how important respiration is.

Did you know that how you breathe can contribute to your headaches?

When we breathe up through our shoulders, neck muscles called the scalenes pull on our ribs to elevate the rib cage. The scalenes are supposed to be our secondary breathing muscles (usually only used when you breathe heavily from exercise or in a fight or flight situation), but because of our sedentary lifestyles, holding excess tension in our core from sucking in our stomachs, and stress, we resort to poor respiration patterns all day.

Over time, this stresses our neck muscles, causing headaches. 

Again, we want to let the tension go, relax the stomach and shoulders, and breathe down and around, nice and low, through our stomachs. 

We can help with headaches, and they don't have to be your normal.

If you or someone you know struggles with them, share this blog and encourage them to schedule an appointment with me here in Rochester! I'm dedicated to helping keep you doing what you love pain-free!

Nate Skare

Nate Skare

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