Headache Treatment and Dry Needling

Headache Treatment and Dry Needling

One of the most common conditions we treat within our clinic using dry needling is headaches. There are many forms that range from tension headaches to chronic headaches to migraines. With the majority of headaches, including the various types of migraines, the musculature of the upper neck and back of the head is commonly involved and much of the time can even be the cause. If you are looking for headache treatments that work we offer a few options below. 

Headache Treatment Options

Female business woman holding her head

Chiropractic adjustment is an extremely powerful tool, especially in the upper cervical region. In fact, there are entire techniques and disciplines within chiropractic care that are built around the careful manipulation of this region. Restriction of these upper cervical joints will cause further spasm of the muscles and due to their proximity to the brainstem and cranial nerves can cause many of the nerves of the head and neck to become irritated and even entrapped. 

Adjusting this region to clear out the restriction of these joints is always the first step. Due to the severity and chronicity of the headaches, the musculature of this region may still be very hypertonic and irritated and thus, it is also important to address it individually. Dry needling is hands down the most powerful way to affect the musculature in this region. 

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling utilizes a very thin metal filament without any injectable compound to penetrate a spastic muscle or trigger point in hopes of downregulating its tone. The needle is inserted into the skin, deep down into the inflamed area. This direct and profound stimulus is such a jolt to the mechanoreceptor that it can cause a hard reset of the entire control panel that is regulating its tone. This allows for a local relaxation of the tissue and thus the resolution of the painful trigger points. 

How is Dry Needling Administered

female patient receiving dry needling treatments

There are multiple different approaches to dry needling that vary strictly around the application. The type of application that we utilize at Knoxville Spine and Sports is the ‘Set it, and leave it’ approach. Patients with chronic headaches have the dry needles are inserted in the suboccipital region, a very thin filament is used to puncture the individual muscle in question. This is commonly a suboccipital muscle, levator scapulae insertion, or upper trap insertion. 

Most people are only vaguely aware of the needle going in and once it is in the muscle will hardly be aware of it at all. These needles will be left in from 3-5 minutes and moving or engaging that muscle is discouraged during this time. 

Why You Should See A Headache Doctor

Headaches are very complex disorders indeed with multiple layers. Therefore, it makes sense that to address them, you need a multifaceted approach. Address the joint mechanics by adjusting the area and treat the residual musculoskeletal dysfunction with the most effective trigger point therapy on the market, dry needling. This one-two punch is sure to help your symptoms. Call Today to schedule an appointment with our specialist at (865) 337-5574