Treating Migraines with Neck Surgery? – Chiropractor in Wellington


Treating Migraines with Neck Surgery?

“Dr. Houman Danesh of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City explains, “Essentially the joints start rubbing against each other, and that irritates the nerve that goes from the back of your neck to the back of your head, and can offset and trigger a migraine.” That’s been known for a while, he said, but more recently doctors have developed ways of blocking the pain at the root of the nerve for more effective relief.” The reason this is interesting to me as a chiropractor come down to the first part of the quote:

Essentially the joints start rubbing against each other, and that irritates the nerve that goes from the back of your neck to the back of your head, and can offset and trigger a migraine.

The idea that joints in the neck can move abnormally, irritate nerves, and cause a problem like a migraine headache has been the crux of chiropractic theory for the last 120 years. While I’ve seen hundreds of migraine headache patients with great success in my own practice, the problem is that the profession as a whole hasn’t done a great job publishing that in the scientific literature (hoping to change that soon).

But back to the topic at hand.

Do we really need surgery to address this stubborn neck problem?

This may get other chiropractors upset, but for some patients the answer is maybe.

It seems like this procedure is still in it’s infancy and we don’t have much data on how well it works yet.

What I do know is that with as much success that I have in my practice with migraine type headaches, there is still an occasional patient that fails to respond to an Atlas Correction.

When you see a lot of patients that are at their wits end with headaches, you want them to get relief no matter the source. Almost anything is better than watching a patient have headaches, have their medication fail to work, and see the patient’s headache worsen from the medications that they are taking. This is the typical cycle of a chronic migraine patient. If this type of procedure can help them find a measure of relief, then I can’t help but hope that it works.

Is there a non-invasive solution?

If you’re a new reader to my blog, you’ll find several posts talking about how a Structural Chiropractic approach can help patients find relief from migraine headaches, so I won’t belabor those points here. What I will say is that our approach to correcting the alignment and mechanics of the head and neck, we are likely hitting many of the same mechanisms that’s allowing this surgical procedure to be successful.

The truth is that when considering an intervention, you have to consider how much risk and cost you want to accept given the amount of disability you are incurring from the migraines themselves.

One of the best things about the NUCCA procedure for Structural Correction is how gentle and non-invasive it is. When people experience an Atlas Correction in our office, most of them typically think that nothing happened…..and then people begin to see their body change afterwards. Their posture improves, blood flow rushes into the head, and in many cases, the pounding pain in the head will start to decrease.

Our success rate is very high. While I can’t and won’t ever guarantee someone a cure, NUCCA and Structural Chiropractic may provide a safe and effective solution for the chronic migraine patient.

Did you like this article? Feel free to share it with the people you care about and see if a Complimentary Consultation is the next step to regain their health. Dr. Chung is a practicing Structural Chiropractor in the West Palm Beach area. He has been published in peer reviewed scientific journals and is a sought after speaker in health and wellness. Follow his blog at or find him on twitter at @drjonathanchung


Real Patient Testimonials

I can’t say enough how much my life has changed under Dr. Chung’s care. After 10 years of chronic pain and being dismissed by my neurologist, I came to Dr. C. He was caring, and really listened. After only 2 visits, I have already had a tremendous reduction in my pain! I feel like a new person.
Clemence Heller
I can't say how much Dr Jonathan Chung has given me back a full quality of life. Migraines was my daily focus, brought my on by a minor car accident few years before. I thought I was going to live with pain medications for the rest of my life. After seeing 2 neurologist prior I was convinced that was my life. But I never stop searching for holistic approaches which led me to Keystone Chiropractic. Thank you.
Michelle Graham
Dr.Chung has been a huge part of my journey to getting back to how I was before my dizziness and vestibular issues. Under his care I am now better than how I was before and I am able to live a normal life again. He is passionate about his patients and he’s such a great person. I’m so happy he’s my doctor! His staff is amazing as well!
Sabrina Kopejz
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