Schedule an Appointment:
Book Online
Call 616-432-3103

Fast Relief for Headaches


Below you will find an easy to read transcript of Dr. Matthew Phinney’s interview on the razorcast™ monthly podcast. You can either watch the video to listen to the podcast or simply read the easy to follow transcripts below. Enjoy!

Podcast Interview:

RC: Hello everyone, this is Liz Harvey coming to you from our razorcast™ studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you cutting edge interviews from many of the leading industry professionals across the United States.

In today’s episode, we are speaking with Dr. Matthew Phinney. Dr. Phinney is the founder of The Chiropractor Doctors in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he is committed to improving the health and vitality of his community through chiropractic and wellness care. He is originally from Toronto Canada and he graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa. Dr. Matthew Phinney is widely considered to be one of the top Chiropractors specializing in holistic and alternative health in the country and he is also a contributing member of our national network of industry professionals.

Today we are going to talk about a very important topic: Fast Relief for Headaches.

RC: Hi Dr. Phinney. How are you today?

Dr. Matthew Phinney: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.

RC: Thanks for joining us.

Question 1: If someone has a bad headache, how can they determine the cause of it?

RC: So if someone has a bad headache, how can they determine the cause of it?

Dr. Matthew Phinney: Well, one of the things they can do (for those sitting at home right now if you’re actually there and you’re not driving and you’re not going to be distracted but if you have a second) is if you just take your hand and you just press on the back of your neck – sort of base of the skull into the upper back, sort of shoulder area. If you press into those areas and you feel tension, stiffness, tightness, soreness, spasm. And you press into those areas and it actually sort of like re-creates the headache or makes it feel almost a little bit worse, that’s one of the things that will tell you it’s likely a nerve pressure issue.

If you want to determine whether it’s muscle or nerve, that’s one of the first things you want to rule out. So if you press in there, if you press on that stiff, tight, sore areas in your upper back and neck and it’s muscle but it actually feels better and it goes away and the headaches go away, it doesn’t come back, well then, that’s a muscle issue and so you’ve ruled that out. But if you press in there and that makes it feel worse or the headache doesn’t go away, that’s typically a neurological issue and that’s something we can check in our office.

You have seven bones in the neck – seven cervical bones. They’re designed, they are meant to be in a proper position and alignment and then they’re also meant to move in a certain way. So that’s one of the things we do is we do motion study film so we can actually see where those problems are specifically coming from and then we know we can get in there actually with pinpoint accuracy and get in there and correct them.

Question 2: Is there fast relief to get rid of headaches naturally?

RC: Okay and is there fast relief to get rid of headaches naturally?

Dr. Matthew Phinney: Yeah. You know, we’ve seen patients and we see thousands of people that come in with headaches every single year. I’ve seen headaches go away with as little as one adjustment, sometimes it takes a few more. It really just depends on how long they’ve been going on for. Typically, the longer something has been happening or the longer something has been going on, usually the longer it takes to go away. Same thing is true – you know if you gain twenty pounds over the last twenty years, it typically doesn’t want to go away or it’s tougher to lose in the course of say a week or two weeks. So the longer something has been happening, the more wear and tear there is, the more scar tissue that’s built up, typically the longer it takes to correct.

But yea, there’s been many situations where I’ve had migraine sufferers come in, thirty years people have been suffering with migraines. They come in and it’s a couple of adjustments and it’s headache free. And I’m talking, people that were having migraines three, four, five days a week. And they are thinking and they’re saying to me, ‘Well why on earth hasn’t anybody told me about you guys or told me about chiropractic sooner!”

And that’s really why we do these podcasts, to get the word out because yeah they can resolve very very quickly and naturally through a specific scientific chiropractic adjustment.

Question 3: Should treatment differ for types of headaches?

RC: Wow that’s great and speaking of that should treatment differ for different types of headaches?

Dr. Matthew Phinney: You know, obviously, I guess there’s a very sort of long way around but to sort of answer your question quickly, for sure. The International Headache Association – I think they list about 129 different types of headaches. Categories are tension, cluster and migraine – so those are the three. One of the things we want to rule out and I mentioned this or talked about this earlier is we want to rule out if your headaches are being caused by a nervous system issue or a muscle issue. That’s typically about 90% of the time. The other 10%, there’s sometimes emotional triggers, different foods, but more often than not, nine times out of ten, the headaches are structural or functional in nature. So the headaches are there – they’re a symptom. They’re telling you something’s not working or doing what it should. And so that’s why we go through the exam. We want to see if your headaches – the headaches that you’re dealing with – are something that can be corrected.

Give you an example, I had a young patient she was a hair stylist and she had been getting headaches off and on for the past probably about three months before coming in. And so we went through the consult, we went through the exam, we took the motion study films and you know what? Everything in her neck, everything in her upper back, everything looked really really good. You know her diet was good, she exercised, she was drinking plenty of water, she was doing all the right things and what we found (she was a hair stylist) is she started using a different type of hairspray. So what happened was she was actually allergic. There was silicon in the hairspray that she was using and that was triggering those headaches. And so that’s a situation where obviously we’d say “Okay well, let’s get rid of it.” And she stopped using that hairspray and the headaches went away.

So I’m not saying that we can help every single type of headache but the majority of them, 90% of them, nine times out of ten, we can. But it’s knowing specifically what needs to be adjusted, when and where.

So yeah, treatment, to make a long story short, should differ.

Question 4: Can chiropractic care relieve migraine headaches?

RC: Good, okay and can chiropractic care relive migraine headaches?

Dr. Matthew Phinney: Yeah again, just to sort of touch on my last example, we see tons of headache sufferers. Migraines probably being one of the main ones. They can be debilitating and yeah we have a tremendous success rate with people that have been dealing with migraine headaches. Migraines with or without aura, they’re usually the most common type of acute re-current headache and the population that’s having these the most is actually children. You know we’re seeing more and more children having headaches, migraine type headaches, then ever before. And I think a lot of it stems from the handheld devices that we’re using – cellphones. You know, I have kids coming into the office and they don’t even (you know sometimes not all of them but some of them) lift their head up. They’re just looking down at a cell phone or they’re playing a video game the entire time they’re there. And so yeah, that comes with proper education and teaching people, hey that’s not a good position for your upper back and neck to be in.

Question 5: What are best tips to prevent headaches?

RC: Alright and what are some of your best tips to prevent headaches?

Dr. Matthew Phinney: Well one of them, obviously, is good posture. You know, especially if you’re sitting at a desk all day long you want to make sure that you have a chair and a ergonomically designed work station. So eye level should be at the top two-thirds height of the monitor. Feet should be flat on the floor. Hips and knees at roughly a ninety degree angle so you’re sitting up nice and straight. And one thing we’ll actually recommend for a lot of patients in our office is we’ll have them on what we call a vestibular disk or proprioceptive disk – especially if they’re sitting for extended periods of time. So that’s something that really helps people sit up straight because if you don’t sit up straight, you end up falling off the thing. So that works on mobility but also stabilization of the posture because more and more people hunching over as we get older. We want to keep people up nice and tall.

The other big thing would be exercise. Great way to prevent headaches. Keeping blood flow, keeping limber, keeping circulation throughout the body. So nature’s natural prescription to stress is exercise.

The other thing is proper rest. So not getting too much or not getting too little. Oversleeping or under sleeping often times can be tied to headaches.

And then obviously getting your nervous system checked, getting your upper back/getting your neck checked, cervical spine checked. When we look at a spinal nerve chart which is a nerve chart that outlines the different areas supplied by the nerves and then the common possible effects or conditions that are seen. The most common effect of conditions we see with pressure on the nerves and nervous system at C1 which is the very top portion of the neck right under the sort of skull there is headaches.

Sinus headaches, allergies, chronic tiredness, dizziness, blood pressure issues, homeostatic center for blood pressure regulation is there as well which can also be a secondary cause of headaches.

So by balancing the body out, getting it working the way that it’s supposed to, often times these headaches that people have been suffering with will go away. Which is fantastic.

RC: Great, well thank you so much Dr. Phinney. We know you’re extremely busy so I just want to thank you for your time and help today.

Dr. Matthew Phinney: I appreciate you having us on.

Listen to the podcast here.


Call our office to book your next appointment, and discover why The Chiropractic Doctors are consistently rated 5 stars by your neighbors!


This article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Matthew Phinney.

If you enjoyed this article, check out these other articles about Headaches:
Try this for Fast Headache Relief!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram