Top 3 Most Common Causes of Headaches and How To Treat Them Naturally

Headaches are very common but they are definitely NOT normal. Did you know that only 3-4 headaches a year are considered normal? More than eight million Americans visit their doctor for complaints of headaches each year.

In today’s blog I want to breakdown the 3 most common causes of headaches and how you can treat it naturally without the use of medications.

  1. Medication
  2. Foods
  3. Posture

If you suffer from headaches you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

 What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? Although medication is a popular treatment there are better more conservative alternatives.

1. Medication

Did you know that one of the top side effects of “headache” medications is headaches? Medication overuse headaches to rebound headaches are caused by regular or long-term use of headaches medication to treat different types of headaches, most commonly migraines. You may be someone who has been taking headache medication for a long-time now and find yourself still suffering from headaches.

2. Foods

There are several types of food that you may have in your diet that could be contributing to your headaches.

  1. Caffeine
  2. Artificial sweeteners
  3. Alcohol
  4. Chocolate
  5. Foods containing MSG
  6. Salty foods

3. Posture

Forward head posture is a common problem today. For each inch your neck bends over the neutral position of your spine it causes an extra 10 lbs of stress on your neck. Which means that eventually you could be adding an additional 60 lbs on our neck. As you can imagine this not ideal for the health of our spine! It can often times lead to trigger point pain which can especially manifest in the back of the neck and can refer pain into the head and shoulders. That referral of pain can lead to conditions such as tension headaches and migraines. Forward head posture can lead to much more than just muscle pain, including pain that stems from the joints, discs, nerve roots and other nearby structures.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Treat and Manage Headaches

Some of the most effective treatments for headaches and migraines are unfortunately also the least used. Did you know that spinal manipulation therapy (chiropractic adjustment) administered by a licensed Chiropractor is one of the most effective and least invasive treatments for headaches?

Chiropractors can assess, diagnose, and treat headaches. They can also help decrease the intensity and frequency of migraines. Some of the treatment options may include:

  1. Manual therapy
  2. Soft tissue Therapy
  3. Modalities
  4. Rehabilitation
  5. Lifestyle changes and education
  6. Referral and co-management

It’s important to take headaches and migraines serious and consider visiting a Chiropractor if you often have headaches. You can also consult a Chiropractor if you are looking a more conservative and holistic approach to manage your headaches.

Top 4 Exercises To Improve Thoracic Mobility

By now you should be convinced that improving and maintaining thoracic mobility is a great idea for many different reasons. The rounded back (thoracic kyphosis) epidemic is upon us and this postural habit starts at a very young age and is detriment to our health. Everyone at some point in time has experienced an episode of upper back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain just to name a few. On average adults spend most of their day sitting at work, watching TV, using their phones, and driving. We usually do our activities sitting down, rounded through the thoracic spine, which puts unwanted added stress to our spine.

The thoracic spine is built for rotation, flexion and let’s not forget extension. It’s designed to be highly mobile or at least it should be. Because of its mobility it must be used and must be moved.

In order to increase mobility we have to know that it first exists at all. If not we’ll attempt to rotate and bend with something more familiar the lumbar spine. That’s bad news!

In other words your thoracic spine is an important area of your body to have good mobility and range of motion and is probably the reason you experience unwanted aches and pain.

Benefits of Improved Thoracic Mobility

  • Lack of kyphosis (Rounded upper back)
  • A less painful more stable low back
  • More lung volume
  • Healthier shoulders
  • Greater range of motion
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased back aches, pain and stiffness

Today I want to share with you 4 exercises to help promote mobility in the thoracic spine. I recommend performing each exercise daily to reap the most benefit.

Cat/Camel Stretch

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
  2.  Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat.
  3. Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back.
  5. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
  6. Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
  7. Repeat 5-20 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.

Foam Roller T-spine Extension Mobilization

  1. Put the foam roller under your upper back / thoracic spine. Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Place your hands behind your head.
  3. Let your head fall to the floor and try to wrap yourself around the foam roller, extending the thoracic spine over the roller. 
  4. Roll, slowly up and down the vertebrae, pausing on any painful parts (do not roll the neck or lower back, focussing solely on the thoracic spine).

Foam Roller Kneeling Downward Rotation

  1. Start in an “All 4’s” position (quadruped).
  2. Take your right hand and slide it on the ground across and under your left arm as far as possible.
  3. As you drop your right shoulder to the ground in an attempt to reach across your body, it should bring out a light stretch to your mid back.
  4. Hold this stretch for a few seconds and perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Foam Roller Prayer Stretch

  1. Start in a kneeling position.
  2. Sit your hips back on your heels and push your hands out in front of you (one hand on top of the other).
  3. Next, let your chest drop down to the floor. Continue to reach with your arms together overhead while you let your breath out slowly.
  4. Try to sink your chest towards the ground.

The exercises shared today are not a one time fix for improving mobility. They will not fix any stiffness or aches in one session. If you do notice a small change in movement quality after performing these for the first time you should consider adding these corrective exercises into your daily routine. Consistency is key for progression in mobility, especially in this region of the body.


As a Chiropractor I hear a ton of misconceptions and myths about back pain that ABSOLUTELY blows my mind. Back pain is among the most common cause of disability in today’s world and just about everyone will experience back pain in their lifetime. You are not alone! Even as a back expert I experience bouts of back pain too. In today’s article my goal is to weed through the clutter of myths and misconceptions on low back pain and show you the facts/truths. If you are among the millions of people who suffer from chronic low back pain it’s so important to know what is truly going to help your back pain get better. It’s as simple as just knowing what works and what doesn’t work to help you heal faster and believe it or not the healing process starts at home.

Before we get started I just wanted to let you know if you are someone who is tired of suffering from chronic pain and hasn’t had improvement or has seen every healthcare professional out there and you’re about to lose hope – you’ve come the right place and I am so excited to have you. What you know and how you treat your pain with ultimately effect how you heal. Don’t let the following myths about pain management keep you from feeling better.

MYTH #1: I have a bad back, so I should stay in bed and rest.

I am just going to start off with this statement – MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE! Prolonged bed rest is actually associated with higher levels of pain, greater disability, poorer recovery, and greater absence from work. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m in pain and any movement hurts”. I hear you but just remember pain is a signal not a hindrance. In most cases, stretching, walking, swimming are some ways to help keep you mobile and get you through back pain better than bedrest ever will. Say it with me out loud – movement is medicine!

MYTH #2: I need an X-ray or MRI to cure my back pain.

Thankfully in most cases diagnostic imaging is not necessary. A thorough clinical assessment (medical history and physical exam) by a Chiropractor is usually enough to identify the problem and get you back to normal. Chiropractors are well equipped to know how serious your back pain really is. TRUST me more often then not your back pain is curable without any imaging!

MYTH #3: I need surgery to cure my back pain.

There is a small percentage of people who may need a referral to the surgeon but this option should only be considered once a trial of conservative care (pain management treatments) was not successful. Most back pain, even chronic pain is not treated with surgery. Don’t be so quick to turn to surgery because once you go under the knife you can’t go back. Take time to try different natural, drug-free interventions such as Chiropractic care. I promise you will be shocked at the results.

MYTH #4: I hurt my back, so I’ll probably have a bad back from now on.

Remember pain is very common, but with a good pain management and back pain prevention protocol you can have a healthy back even with a history of back pain. Staying active, mobile, flexible and maintaining good posture (with sitting, lifting and bending) are great ways to keep your spine healthy and prevent further injury. Try to avoid lifting heavy objects and smoking, maintain a balanced diet and control your weight. Keep in mind most back pain goes away in a few days. If your back pain persists talk to your Chiropractor.