Getting a Headache After Adjustment

Is it normal?


So I sometimes get the question, Dr. Todd, why do I get a headache after an adjustment? I thought you guys were supposed to fix headaches. Well, I do get that occasionally.

The most common thing, people come to me for headaches very, very frequently. That's regular patients I've been seeing for over 20 years who occasionally have too much stress and get a headache or an unusual event or they drink too much caffeine or something and get a headache or they fall and injure themselves, get a headache. They get adjusted, it goes away. That's definitely the most common thing with a headache is it chiropractic, done the way we do it very frequently, most of time relieves headaches. On the other side of the coin, sometimes people come in to me with no headache and they get a headache after an adjustment and they wonder what the heck's going on here? Why am I paying you for this to get a headache, right? Very frustrating. I definitely, definitely understand that. Once you understand what's happening in the body, it's really going to help you understand what's happening in your body. That was like Austin Powers. He says, "Allow me to introduce myself." Anyway, so sometimes I do that and I'm not always super clear in what I want to say. However, I'm really, really good at correcting headaches. But sincerely, sometimes people do come in with no headache, they get adjusted, and they get a headache.

So why is that happening? Well, the truth is that headaches we know from a lot of research are to do with blood flow to the brain. So that's why chiropractic has such an influence on those headaches. A lot of times, with an adjustment, we... Well, not a lot of times. Almost every time, if it's done correctly, we get increased blood flow to the brain. Chiropractic is very, very different from medicine. We can't put it in the exact same category. The purpose of chiropractic is to remove interference with your body's own innate health expression. The purpose of medicine is often exactly the opposite. When we get a headache, we take a drug to shut down the symptom of the headache but do nothing to address the cause of the headache. So that's very different. In chiropractic, we're restoring normal alignment of the spine to restore normal nervous system control of the body. But what often happens is we get increased blood flow to the brain, which can definitely cause a headache. When people do get a headache from an adjustment, they're almost always newer patients. It might be their first week, their first couple of weeks, or their first adjustment.

Let's talk about blood flow to the brain and what exactly is happening with that adjustment. So we know that a subluxation that's a fancy word for a misaligned vertebra, and it chokes off life from flowing through the nervous system. It also cuts out blood flow to the brain. So let's talk about how that works. So this is a side view of the neck. And so what happens is when there's a normal curve in the neck, this is the vertebral artery that goes through. That's the main artery that supplies blood flow to the brain, as well as the carotids up front here. So those supply blood flow to the brain. So when the curve is in the neck and normal, and when the spine is in alignment, those arteries are relaxed, and the blood is pumped normally from your heart up into your brain, feeding your brain with normal, very, very important blood. When the spine goes out of alignment, especially when we straighten that, it stretches and chokes on the spinal cord, but it also stretches and chokes on the blood vessels themselves. So we're going to look at a cross-section.

This is the research of Dr. Alf Brigg. He's a neurosurgeon. He's since passed, but his research is amazing on what happens to the spinal cord in different positions of the spine. So on this side here, I don't know how well you can see this, but the concept is very important. This is when the spine is in a curve and relaxed right here. So these fibers are relaxed and functioning normally. This is what they're supposed to look like right here. If you look at this, this is with the neck straightened. It stretches the cord out. It's like if you were to take a garden hose and stretch it out, his research shows it's about 28% longer than normal when the neck is not in a curve. It's choking off life in the body. So the same thing happens with those blood vessels. So we're starving the brain of life-giving blood when we lack a curve in the spine. So what we're doing with chiropractic is restoring normal alignment to the spine to allow that blood and brain flow to function the way it's supposed to. So if we look at it, this is actually a patient here. So this green line represents normal.

The curve in his spine is abnormal. It's reversed right through here. So the spine is actually compressed. That's compressing these discs and joints here. It's compressing and stretching the spinal cord and those blood vessels that supply normal blood flow to the brain are compromised. So when we start to restore that normal alignment, we get normal blood flow to the brain. And if that happens very quickly, which often happens with a chiropractic adjustment, it doesn't mean it's permanently aligned. But for that day, sometimes a couple of days, that new alignment creates a lot more blood flow to the brain. Also, if they've been stuck a long time and we get them moving, those joints may save your life. It's absolutely essential for you to function normally for the rest of your life. But sometimes, symptoms come from that. I often say I'm not an aspirin with hands. My job is not to instantly take away the pain. It's to restore life. And sometimes, when we go through rehabilitation, and we go through traction, and we do the things that we need to do to restore our normal alignment, it can create symptoms. And I think of, I've been to the hospital quite a bit and seen people on cancer treatments.

When people are on chemotherapy and things like that, they don't even question the fact that they are vomiting their guts out. Chemotherapy brings them just to the brink of death to kill their cancer barely faster than the rest of their body. And when they get a treatment that severe, their bodies go through symptoms. Well, this is no less important than that chemotherapy because this is the... The spine is the center of life for your body. So if your spine is getting unhealthy, if you get a couple of adjustments and you get sore, or you get a migraine or a headache, even if it's the worst one you've ever had, that is not a reason to say, "Well, it didn't work for me." It's a reason to double down and do the work you need to do so your spine's not in that shape. It's never healthy spines that get a headache after an adjustment. It never is. It's always the spine that's in the worst shape. Some of my colleagues studied exactly what I'm talking about.

Very good friends of mine, Dr. Katz, Dr. Fedorchuk, Dr. Lightstone, Dr. Banach, and Dr. Podoll, did a study on cerebral blood flow to the brain. This study is called "Increase in Cerebral Blood Flow Indicated by Increased Cerebral Arterial Area and Pixel Intensity on Brain Magnetic Resonance Angiogram Following Correction of Cervical Lordosis." So if that sounds like a bunch of gobbledygook to you, it kind of is, but not to me it isn't. So what they're talking about is this. This is what they did in the study. They took a group of people and measured their blood flow. They compared blood flow in people with normal necks and normal curves to people with abnormal necks and abnormal curves. There was 50% less blood flow to the brain when the curve was abnormal. 50% less blood flow when the curve is abnormal. Problem? Most definitely. So a couple of adjustments may start to restore blood flow to there, but what's even more important than that, anyone can point out a problem. So raise your hand as viewers if you hate when people just point out a problem with no solution. Well, these doctors, they're very skilled. They use chiropractic biophysics, the same system that we use that is the most scientifically proven method in the world to restore normal curves to the neck.

So what we need to do is exercises, adjustments, and traction. That's what they do, the same protocols that we use to restore normal curves to the neck. So what they found is over 200% increase. They more than doubled the blood flow to the brain by restoring the curve to the neck. That's an amazing thing, doubling blood flow to the brain. So not only does the patient get almost always in way less pain, way less nerve pain down the body, we know tonnes more benefits to restoring normal curve to the body. And I can go through study after study after study, but what we're talking about now is why do I get a headache sometimes after an adjustment? And so sometimes that blood flow gets restored up into the brain and things change. Not everything feels great. It's like, if I'm going to go for a run today, that may be great for my body, but it may not feel that awesome. So some things that we do for our health don't feel that great temporarily. By the way, people say, all these numbers to studies, people say, "Well, that may be just a coincidence."

I'm kind of a number nerd, so forgive me. So the P is less than 0.001. What that means is that the probability of this happening due to the random chance that these people randomly had more blood flow to their brains for no reason is less than one in a thousand. So restoring the normal curve to the neck and normal alignment to the neck will often make you feel great initially, immediately feel better and feel better and better and better. But that's not always the case. Sometimes you may get a headache. You may get some neck soreness. You may get some neck stiffness. That is not a reason to let up on the throttle. It's a reason to double down and make sure that your spine's healthy so that you can live the life you're made to live and be a blessing to your generation and to the next generations below you. So I hope that helps why do I sometimes get a headache after an adjustment? Go have an amazing day.

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