Positive Motion Chiropractic provides expert chiropractic adjustments for headaches in Los Gatos.

Headaches are horrible! The pain can feel impossible to get away from and it affects our mood, energy levels, ability to interact with people, productivity… Many people suffer with headaches on a frequent basis and might feel like it is just something they have to learn to live with.

At Positive Motion Chiropractic in Los Gatos we have successfully helped hundreds of patients come to realize that they didn’t have to put up with regular headaches. Dr. Pedersen has a personal reason for his passion in helping people stop have headaches.

Dr. Pedersen’s wife, Aryn, was told when she was an adolescent that “the women in our family just have migraines, that’s the way it is.” Her MD gave her the prescription medication Midrin to take at the onset of her prodromal migraines. It would decrease the pain, but had significant side effects.

She would get multiple severe migraines every week. She followed her MDs recommendation to medicate away her migraines for years.

As Dr. Pedersen was going through chiropractic school he suggested that Aryn start to see a chiropractor to see if they could help with her headaches. Aryn had never been to a chiropractor up until that point in her life.

She started seeing a chiropractor that Dr. Pedersen recommended and within a few visits her headaches were less frequent and decreased in their severity. Over a few months of chiropractic care she was headache free!

These days Aryn gets headaches a handful of times per year vs. multiple times per week. She hasn’t had to refill her Midrin prescription for a decade.

The body (your head included) wants to live in balance or homeostasis. It doesn’t want to be in pain or inflamed. The pain and inflammation are a sign of imbalance, pointing at a cause that needs to first be discovered and then corrected.

Life can be tough on our body. Car accidents. Childhood traumas. Poor posture. Bad ergonomics at work. All these biomechanics stresses lead to overload and imbalance in our joints and muscles.

There are many causes of headaches and not all respond to chiropractic treatment. Fortunately, many chronic headache sufferers are “miraculously” fixed when the neck, jaw, and upper back structures are balanced through chiropractic adjustments and myofascial treatment. [YouTube testimonial from Mona G.]

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are a fairly common type of headache. But that doesn’t mean they are not incredibly painful and disruptive. They are sometimes called cervicogenic headaches because they derive from tension in the neck or cervical spine. But what causes the tension in the neck?

Your head weighs over ten pounds. The weight of your head is meant to balance on top of your cervical spine, the vertebral bodies more precisely. And these vertebral bodies are meant to support the load of your head.

When your neck posture is correct your vertebra support the weight of your head and your muscles only function to make slight inputs to maintain this balance.

But when you’re sucked into your cell phone or computer monitor you end up with forward head posture which means the weight of your head is constantly falling off your neck. To counter this your neck muscles have to strain to keep your head upright.

Some of these neck muscles connect into your suboccipital region (the base of your skull). With poor posture and ergonomics and as your day progresses your neck muscles get tense and strained causing tension into the tissues that cover your brain, called the dura. This tension causes a “tension headache.”

Additionally, irrespective of poor posture and bad ergonomics, sometimes a patient will have stuck or fixated vertebra in their neck. These bony joints not moving freely can also cause their associated muscles to get tense or “guard.”

One of the things our expert chiropractors look for during your examination is taut and tender muscles at the top of the neck and base of your skull. These exam findings are a common sign of regular overuse and irritation of the neck muscles. When found they are a good sign that a patient will respond favorably to chiropractic adjustments and treatment.

Migraine Headaches

There are two main types of migraines headaches: prodromal and non-prodromal. Prodromal migraine headaches have a period of a few hours to days before the headache where a patient can experience symptoms such as:

  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Phonophobia (sensitivity to sounds)
  • Problems concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue and muscle stiffness
  • Depressed feeling
  • Irritability
  • Aphasia (difficulty speaking and reading)

About 30% of people experience the prodromal phase prior to their migraine headache. Those migraine sufferers who do not experience prodromal symptoms are classified as having non-prodromal migraines.

In about 25% of cases, migraine sufferers experience an aura prior to the actual head pain. Auras are mainly visual in nature and are described as flashing lights, an area of vision that is missing or bright colored lines. Sometimes a patient will experience a sensory aura where they will have numbness or tingling in one part of the body that slowly moves to another part of the body. The symptoms of an aura usually last from a few mints to an hour and classically disappear before the actual headache.

The actual migraine attack is the most debilitating part of migraines. The head pain usually occurs on just one side of the head, although it can move to other parts of the head during the headache. The pain of a migraine is typically described as:

  • Throbbing
  • Ice pick to the head
  • Unrelenting

While a tension or cervicogenic headache mechanism as described above seems straightforward it is less clear why some migraine headaches respond so favorably to chiropractic care. Usually it will be found on examination that a patient has tight and taut bands of muscle or fascia in the upper cervical and suboccipital regions.

Alternately, sometimes a patient has TMJ and jaw issues. They might grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism. Sometimes they clench their teeth as a way to deal with stress. Imbalance in the muscles around the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and the joint itself can be a cause of migraines.

Our chiropractors assess the TMJ and its integral muscles during the initial examination. There are non-drug and non-surgical methods for correcting imbalances in these structures. Our chiropractors routinely get referrals from dentists in our area to help people with TMJ pain.

Regardless of the length of time someone has had their headaches, the type of headache, severity, or past treatments, a consultation with one of our expert chiropractors can help you find lasting relief from your headache suffering. We offer a free 15-minute consultation to determine if your clinical presentation and our treatment options are a good fit. You can schedule your consultation right now using our real-time online schedule.

Treatment Options for Headaches

There are many methods for treating headaches. At Positive Motion Chiropractic we believe that the most elegant solution is always the one that is simple, addresses the root cause, and is the least invasive.

Many people take drugs and even get injections to deal with headaches. These options come with great costs and risks. At Positive Motion Chiropractic we believe in utilizing these options only in emergencies or after trying more conservative alternatives that have failed to produce results.

At Positive Motion Chiropractic our treatment approach for headaches is simple and effective:

  1. Correct the underlying joint and/or muscle imbalances.
  2. Speed up tissue healing and reduce inflammation to give accelerated pain relief.
  3. Teach the patient how to reduce the chance of recurrence.

Utilizing this framework we provide rapid pain relief, fundamental joint and muscle changes to correct the root cause, and also help the patient avoid having to keep returning for care.

Here are some of the techniques and tools we use when we treat our professional and Olympic athlete patients. Guess what? They are the same techniques and tools we use with every one of our patients. (follow the links below to learn more about each type of treatment)

Chiropractic adjustments

There are 210 bones in the human body and in-between them are joints. Just like the hinges on a door can get rusty and stuck, the same thing can happen with your joints (no, they don’t rust). But your joints can become fixated and lose proper motion they become stiff, inflamed, and painful.

A chiropractic adjustment helps to restore normal motion back to your joints. There are many different ways to perform a chiropractic adjustment, including by hand and using an instrument called an Activator. Chiropractic adjustments utilizing an instrument don’t involve “cracking sounds” or twisting of the neck.

Myofascial therapy, Graston, Fascial Distortion Model (FDM)

Muscle stabilize and move the bones of your body. Fascia, or myofascia, encases your muscles in a thin, yet tough covering. This slippery covering allows muscles, tendons, nerves, and other structures in your body to effortlessly glide over and past each other. But through trauma, repetitive motion injuries, and postural stresses, these fascial layers can become stuck to each other through adhesions (think microscopic scar tissue).

Without addressing these myofascial adhesions the movement restrictions and pain can come back shortly after getting a chiropractic adjustment or massage. But by working on and getting rid of these myofascial adhesions we are able to restore normal motion and help create lasting improvement in a patient’s function.

We utilize various myofascial techniques, including Graston technique (a form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or IASTM), FDM (Fascial Distortion Model) and cupping (static or with motion). These soft tissue therapies when directed at the right body tissues combined with specific chiropractic adjustments are core to the results we consistently see at Positive Motion Chiropractic.

Cold Laser Therapy

When patients need every chance to get back to 100% ASAP we have another tool at our disposal. We utilizes cold laser to help speed up metabolic rate, decrease inflammation, and help control pain levels. Athletes who don’t have any time to waste in getting back to 100% frequently use cold laser therapy in their treatment protocols.

Cold laser treatment is painless, takes around fifteen minutes per session, and is a great adjunct to chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapies like Graston.

Postural Correction

What you do regularly has a very real impact on how your body functions and feels. If you regularly slouch and collapse into poor postures over time your body will lose function and hurt.

We all know good posture is important, but most people have been told two myths about correcting posture:

  1. You need to think about your posture ALWAYS.
  2. You need to strengthen your postural muscles – if they are stronger you will have better posture.

At Positive Motion Chiropractic we have literally travelled the world to learn from the greatest experts how to teach people to have beautiful, effortless, and functional posture. We do this in group classes and individual instruction. It is fun and interesting to learn and the results are phenomenal.


Most people spend the majority of their day at a workstation. If that workspace is not set up for you to win then your body will lose. You will notice decreasing flexibility, limited range of motion, and over time strength declines. And your body will start to hurt. First felt as nagging tension and soreness.

Poor ergonomics can definitely cause headaches. Especially headaches that come on in the afternoon or as you spend more hours at your desk.

To provide lasting positive changes for our patients we look at their ergonomic setup and make simple, but effective, recommendations to maximize the comfort and function of their workspace. Our ergonomic evaluations are invaluable and performed at no extra charge for patients who can benefit.

If you got this far reading about causes and treatment options for your headaches you deserve to take the next step and get a world-class evaluation and recommendations by an expert chiropractor. You’re in luck. You can secure your appointment right now using our real-time online schedule.