How Dry Needling Therapy Can Treat Migraines and Headaches

How Dry Needling Therapy Can Treat Migraines and Headaches

Chiropractic Towson MD Acupuncture

Migraines can be incredibly painful and disruptive and it can feel like nothing works to ease that pain. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 90% of migraine sufferers are unable to work or function normally during a migraine. If you suffer from migraines, you know they’re so much more than “just a headache” and they can leave you feeling helpless. Good news: chiropractic treatment for migraines can help migraine sufferers feel better faster so they can get back to their normal lives.

In this article, Dr. Warren works with a patient who suffers from chronic, intense migraines that last 2-3 days leaving her incapacitated. All of the chiropractors in our office are expertly trained to treat migraines. Dr. Warren uses dry needling to treat migraines in conjunction with soft tissue work and an adjustment. This patient is able to experience some relief immediately with the full migraine resolving the following day. That’s a huge improvement on dealing with intense pain non-stop for 2-3 days.

Why Do Migraines Hurt So Much?

When a migraine occurs, the blood vessels in your head expand and the tissue around your brain swells. This swelling is very painful and for many migraine sufferers, it can head to vomiting, visual disturbances, and increased sensitivity to light. Migraines are so much more than just a headache and for many people, painkillers don’t have much of an effect on them. When a migraine strikes, seeing a chiropractor for chiropractic treatment can provide much needed drug-free pain relief.

Dry Needling For Migraines

The patient, Maria, comes into our office to get dry needling for her chronic migraines that cause her intense pain. As she says, she has done some acupuncture but the dry needling we do in our office is different. Acupuncture focuses on placing needles on energy or meridian lines while dry needling done by a chiropractor has a more musculoskeletal approach focusing on placing needles in muscles that are tight or in pain.

When Maria comes in with a migraine, her chiropractic treatment consists of dry needling, soft tissue work, and an adjustment. We start with dry needling and Maria lies on her front with her ankles propped up. Dr. Warren cleans her neck and upper shoulder area and begins to feel for muscle tension and rotation in the cervical spine. He does this because for dry needling to have the most impact possible, the needles have to be placed in the areas of the muscles that are holding the most tension.

Dr. Warren places some needles right along Maria’s hairline before moving down closer to the cervical spine for the next row of needles. Maria is not in pain during dry needling and she’s comfortable chatting with Dr. Warren. Like many dry needling patients, Maria feels a twitch where the needles are placed but she isn’t in pain.

It’s important to note that there are many different chiropractic treatments for migraines. Chiropractic treatment is very personalized and your experience with one chiropractor will likely be different from another. Dry needling for migraines is a very effective procedure so it’s very likely that we’ll recommend it if you come into our Towson office with migraine pain.

Dr. Warren checks in with Maria throughout her dry needling treatment to make sure her nervous system isn’t getting heightened too much to where it creates an uncomfortable response. The goal of a dry needling is to stimulate the nervous and musculoskeletal system by needling specific trigger points and ligaments.

Our goal is to create a vascular (blood flow) and neurogenic (nerve) response that desensitizes the inflamed nerves and speeds up the healing process. This response alleviates pain in the soft tissue and helps restore mobility. Relaxation is key to this process and that’s why you see Dr. Warren leave Maria to relax with the needles in place.

Once dry needling is complete, Dr. Warren moves onto soft tissue work on suboccipital muscles located at the base of the neck. He holds pressure over tense areas to match the tension instead of pushing really hard on those areas. With this method, the tension melts away slowly and even though it may take a bit longer than other techniques, the gentle release it provides improves adjustment results for patients.

After this deep tissue work is complete, Dr. Warren stretches and engages muscles in the cervical spine area. Maria’s chiropractic treatment is complete after a neck adjustment and a first ribs adjustment. Every treatment is somewhat different depending on needs but this gives you a good idea of what chiropractic treatment for migraines looks like.

In the past, Maria’s migraine has completely resolved the day after having this chiropractic treatment for migraines which is a substantial improvement on her usual 2-3 day migraines. Do you suffer from migraines like Maria does? Click here or call (410) 296-7700 to schedule your chiropractic treatment for migraines!




7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm


Kalkstein Chiropractic
200 East Joppa Road #300
Towson, MD 21286
(410) 296-7700