Most of us are no strangers to headaches. Whether it was from an illness, dehydration, or simply out of the blue, you’ve likely experienced it in your life. It’s estimated that at least half of adults experience at least one headache each year. Migraines, a particularity severe form that manifests in many different ways, affect 37 million Americans. That breaks down to 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children that experience migraines.

While a headache from dehydration will respond to drinking water, many other kinds need some additional treatment. Over-the-counter pain killers might help you power through a mild headache, but more serious ones may require a prescription. Even then, the headache wasn’t caused by a medication deficiency. They can help make a headache tolerable, but don’t address the underlying cause.

Finding the cause

Due to the numerous types of headaches, the causes vary greatly and, in many cases, are unknown. One article estimates that 70% of headaches arise from the neck. Problems in the cervical spine can lead to irritated nerves and tight muscles.

Dysfunction in one area can send pain to other parts of the body. This is known as referred pain. Like a heart attack sending pain to the left shoulder and arm, problems in the neck can send pain signals to the brain that it interprets as a headache.

Treating the cause

If the problems lies with the neck, then medications will only mask the symptoms. While only a neurologist can diagnosis a migraine, being evaluated for neck issues is something a chiropractor can do for you. And if they find a problem, chiropractic adjustments may help.

A review of the literature found that adjustments showed an improvement in just 3 weeks when compared to muscle relaxers or usual medical care. Another collection of cases and studies found an improvement for migraines and over longer periods of time. This makes chiropractic an important complementary option when it comes to headaches.

Headaches and migraines are complicated conditions. Addressing the cause, if possible, is the best course of action in treating and preventing them. Evidence suggests that many headaches are coming from issues in the neck. Getting yours checked by chiropractor may help.