Chronic Migraines Helped with Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Chronic Migraine headaches are caused by many different factors. An important factor is the relationship between chronic migraine headaches and the upper neck. Specifically how the base of your skull connects to the top couple of vertebrae in the cervical spine. C1 and C2, or Atlas and Axis, as they are called, are the most freely moving vertebra in the entire spine. This gives us great range of motion in our neck but also means that when the body has trauma, it is an area that is likely to mis-align. A misalignment at the skull base interferes with nerve pathways, blood flow, and cerebral spinal fluid flow. Compromise to any of these systems can result in the symptoms of migraine headaches. At Areté Chiropractic we are experts in evaluating the alignment of the head and neck and how that affects spinal health and body balance. If a misalignment in the C1-C2 vertebra is a contributing factor to migraine headache, then reducing or correcting that misalignment will make a significant difference in how your body functions. We can often help people's bodies function better with less symptoms, or even recover completely.

Just ask Courtney! Courtney had been struggling with chronic headaches since she was about 12 years old. For the weeks prior to starting care at Areté she was struggling with DAILY migraine headaches. It made it difficult for her to live her life. She was also experiencing TMJ pain, constant neck, upper back, and lower back pain, and she would notice about once a day that her hands would fall asleep. You may be wondering what her headaches have to do with her hands. Nerves from the neck go into the shoulder, arm, and hand. So it was a pretty safe bet that Courtney's neck was a big piece of the pie as to why her body was expressing all these symptoms.

She has been under care for over six months now and has much less spinal pain, no numbness in the hands, and she only gets a migraine when her upper neck goes out of alignment!

Upper Cervical Care and Stress, Pain and the Immune System

You've probably heard the phrase "it's all in your head".  Since the brain is the master control center for all the functions of the body, there is a lot of truth to that statement! Research studies show that the way we think and feel about pain impacts the way our brains make us feel pain.  Over time, stress and pain make changes in the brain and body, and alter your immune system. This can slow down the body's ability to heal, and cause inflammation, depression, and even more stress and pain! 

So what can you do? Fortunately there are a lot of measures you can take to help. Staying positive, meditation, moving more, sleeping well, and eating better can all help overcome the vicious cycle of stress and pain. Upper Cervical chiropractic care is also a piece of the pie. Not only can it help with migraines, back pain, and neck pain, it also helps your brain know more accurately what is going on in and around your body.

Want to learn more about how this works? check out the video below! 

For more information about Upper Cervical chiropractic care or to schedule an initial evaluation, call 603.380.9184.


Craniocervical Foundation Provides Access to Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care with the help of Annie's Angels Donation

Arete Chiropractic is proud to be a partner of the Craniocervical Foundation, which provides access for people with head and neck injury or related conditions who would not normally be able to afford or access upper cervical chiropractic care, including active duty military and veterans.

This past Monday, Annie's Angels donated funds to the Craniocervical Foundation that would cover 25 visits to Arete Chiropractic through the foundation.  Annie's Angels ( is a local organization, founded by Bill and Diane DaGiau, whose primary mission is to help local families struggling financially through a life threatening disease, illness or disability.  We are honored and thrilled to have found allies in health in Annie's Angels, and to be able to provide upper cervical chiropractic care using these funds to impact the health and lives of those in need in our community. 

If you are interested in the Craniocervical Foundation or would like to give the gift of health with a donation, call 802-441-5223 or email INFO@CRANIOCERVICALFOUNDATION.ORG


Dinner with Doc on Meniere's

Vertigo, Dizziness, Ringing in the ears?

These are common symptoms of Meniere's Disease, a condition of the inner ear that can be significantly related to the neck. Join the doctors of Areté Chiropractic as they discuss the anatomy and disease process of this condition, as well as tips and tools to help you recover and get your life back.

Areté Chiropractic is an upper cervical chiropractic office in Portsmouth NH that provides gentle, specific, and effective treatment for head and neck conditions. Utilizing state of the art 3-D imaging, the doctors help many people recover from chronic conditions like: headaches, neck pain, migraines, vertigo, whiplash, and concussion. Join them at the Atlantic Grill to see if upper cervical care could be a solution for you.

May 24, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm

Atlantic Grill, 5 Pioneer Rd, Rye, NH 03870

Call the office at 603.380.9184 or click the button below to reserve your seat today!


Help us make a SPLASH on social media this spring

Spring Social Media Splash.png

Areté opened its doors two years ago this spring and has been caring for people in the Seacoast area. Internet searches are how many of our patients find us, and this spring Areté wants make a splash in the Seacoast! Many people out there are suffering from neck pain, headaches, whiplash injury, concussion, lower back pain, sciatica, and many more of the symptoms that we help people recover from every day, but they don't know that upper cervical care could be a solution for them. That's where you come in. We are asking for your help to make this splash.

It can be as easy as liking our office Facebook page, or checking in when you're here.  Although, as human beings we learn best from seeing other stories and experiences, so a google review or video testimonial is a huge help.  If you're not sure how to check-in on Facebook or write a Google review, click the links below to learn how!

To thank you for your support, for each action you can earn ARETE BUCKS!  Areté bucks can be used in the office towards products or services.  Thank you for your help!

If you aren't sure how to check-in on Facebook or leave a Google Review - see the videos below to learn how!

Learn how to check-in on Facebook

Learn how to post a Google Review

Best Yoga pose for "That Spot" in Your Upper Back

"That Spot" in your upper back, yes, you know the one that I'm talking about.  As an upper cervical chiropractor, I see many, many people coming into the office with pain in that triangle of the upper back.  Right above the shoulder blade, and below the base of the neck, just to the side of the spine, is one of the most common areas we humans feel neck and back pain.

"That spot" is one of the most common pain points because of the anatomy that's there.  Unfortunately it's also one of the most difficult places to stretch.  There are three main muscles that in that area:  trapezius muscle, rhomboid muscle, and levator scapulae muscle.  Those muscles literally attach your shoulder to your body via your spine.  With the hunched over postures we all have sitting, and with chronic computer and devise use, this area is constantly overworked.

This pose is one of the best poses for opening up that area and allowing it to stretch by opening up that upper back and neck.  If you're not able to connect the hands behind the back you can modify by holding a strap or towel.  As an added benefit it will also stretch the hamstring of the opposite leg.  You can hold this for as long as needed, and repeat as often as needed.   So next time a family member or co-worker talks about "that spot" in their upper back that they just can't get, show them this pose! 

Living Pain-free without medication

Raya is a photographer and was suffering with pain in her left shoulder and through her rib cage, especially when she was working a long or stressful photo shoot. As you can imagine, this continuous problem was beginning to take a toll her body and get in the way of her ability to function while doing her job. 

After getting her spine checked and "getting her head on straight", Raya's body balance has been restored, relieving her nagging pain. She has been holding her alignment (meaning she does not need to be adjusted) for three months. She is able to power through those long photo shoots and stressful situations without resorting to medications and is out there sharing her passion with the world!

Protect your lower back in standing forehead to knee Pose

Standing poses are fantastic for improving balance and as an added benefit, this pose stretches those often too tight hamstrings.  Yet the standing forehead to knee pose is one that I see done incorrectly the most.  The chiropractor in me winces because I know how easy it is to compromise the lower back when this one is done incorrectly.  

If you are holding up that outstretched leg with your arms, and you know who you are, then you are at risk for straining your lower back.  With the weight of the leg in the arms and your lower back folded over, you're putting a lot of pressure on your spine, and the muscles in the lower back.  The group of muscles at risk is called your erector spinae muscles.  In an ideal world, the leg should actually be held up by its own strength and supported with the abdomen. 

Test yourself to see if you can stand on one leg and extend the other out without using your hands for support.  If you can, you're ready for this pose.  If not, then back off a bit: standing up right with the leg outstretched just at a lower angle or even with the knee bent.  In these modified versions you will still get the benefit of improved balance and increase muscle strength, all while your lower back is being protected! 

Help with Daily Headaches

Gail was referred to our office by another doctor who she had been seeing for chronic daily headaches.  Every morning Gail would wake up with a headache, and depending on how severe her head pain was she would plan her day around it.   When she came in, we identified a misalignment in her upper neck.  Her C1 vertebra, called the Atlas bone, was out of alignment and compromising the nerves at the skull base.  She was struggling with this problem for over 8 years!  After careful analysis and gentle correction, Gail is no longer waking up with headaches.   

Our favorite part is when Gail shared that she is allowing herself to look forward to her son's wedding.  She said that before care she didn't let herself look forward to his wedding because "what if she woke up with a bad headache that day".  Now she can confidently look forward to that day with her family.  

Are headstands safe for your neck?

Headstand or Sirsasana Pose:

As an upper cervical chiropractor, I get asked if headstands are safe for people's necks all the time.  My answer is yes, but with some very important distinctions.  The first distinction is that this posture is ALL about how you get into it and how you get out of it.  Standing on your head isn't actually the hard part, I promise!  What is difficult and can compromise your neck and body is getting up there and getting down.  When going into this posture, the most important aspect is that you have a solid base created by your shoulders and forearms.  The secret is that you should have almost no actual body weight on the crown of your head.  Your body weight is supported by the upper body, not your head and neck, which is why, when done correctly, a headstand is not going to hurt your neck.  Coming in and and out of the head stand is all about core engagement so that you are shifting weight appropriately and being sure to protect your neck during this movement. 

The health benefits of body inversion are well documented, and done correctly with attention to detail, headstands are beneficial for your body.

So... happy head-standing!

Vertigo, TMJ, and neck pain helped with Upper Cervical Care

Jeremy came in 6 months ago with severe bouts of vertigo. He had a concussion during a hockey game 3 years prior and had been struggling with vertigo for the last two years. The symptoms had progressed to the point where he wouldn’t be able to get off the floor or leave the house for days because he was too dizzy and nausea and couldn’t trust his balance. Jeremy experienced constant whooshing in his ears with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and dysfunction (TMD). He also had neck and low back pain and stiffness.

Jeremy has been under upper cervical chiropractic care now for six months. He has not had any bouts of vertigo since starting care and his neck pain, jaw pain, whooshing in his ears and his low back pain are all much improved. Jeremy is back outdoors hiking and doing the things he loves again!

Reverse Warrior: Engage your abdominal muscles to spare your spine!

Reverse warrior posture is one of the foundation poses for many yoga practices and is one of my favorites.  It just feels so good to get that deep stretch through the side body while strengthening your legs.  Although as with all yoga poses, alignment is crucial for this posture or lower back injuries can be created or exacerbated.  There is so much going on in this posture that it can be easy to forget to engage your abdomen as you lean back and yet it is crucial to remember this to protect your lower back.    

In this posture you are not just leaning to one side but your also leaning back.  This oblique movement can be compromising to your lower back and should be avoided if you have a recent injury.  Even with the healthiest backs, remember that this movement starts and ends in your abs! 

Low Back Pain and Headaches Improved with Upper Cervical Care

We all know that pain and fear of injury can stop us from doing the things in life that we really want to do and make us feel...well...just not like ourselves. Ryan came to us experiencing low back pain, which was keeping him from exercising. Ryan was becoming frustrated because when he would exercise, his low back would flair up. He was also getting headaches two to three times a week and neck pain. Ryan’s upper cervical spine was corrected and immediately he felt the pressure off his low back. He has now had four upper cervical corrections and his low back pain, neck pain and headaches are all dramatically improved just by getting his head on straight! Is your head on straight?

Whiplash Relief with Upper Cervical Care

Craig was in a bad head-on motor vehicle accident about five years ago, which had suffered from bad whiplash.  When he first came in about eight months ago, he felt unstable in his spine, he had left arm pain, numbness and tingling, as well as low back and neck pain.  Also after the accident, he found that he couldn't work out with being in pain or injuring himself. After the first four weeks of corrections, Craig was reporting dramatic improvements and was able to get back in the gym. Now he has been holding his alignment for about six months - meaning he hasn’t needed to be adjusted! He has his confidence back and is feeling strong!

Give Yourself the Gift of Health This Season and Help a Child in Need

Have you been thinking about trying Chiropractic care for a while but haven't taken the plunge? This is the perfect opportunity! Each holiday season, we partner with Annie's Angels to help local families in need with our Angel Tree. We are passionate about building our community and giving back, which is why we are offering a discount on our services in exchange for a gift. 

Not only can you help a child in need by donating a gift, but you will be giving yourself a gift as well! 

November 27th until December 18th, bring in a gift around $20-$25 and receive the following:

  • New Patients will get 50% off their initial evaluation
  • Current Patients will get a $50 credit toward an office visit
  • One offer per patient

If you aren't a patient with us and are interested giving back AND in finding out if we can help, call the office and we'll give you the gender and age of a child in need and book you in for your first appointment where we'll take your health history and spinal exam. 

So give yourself the gift of health and help a child in need this holiday season. 

Call the office to schedule! 

Name *


Warrior three pose or Virabhadrasana III is a more advanced posture and requires the practitioner to have a solid foundation and balance.  This is a pose that is wonderful for strengthening: ankles, legs, back, core, and shoulders.  It is also a pose that if done incorrectly can cause some problems in the body, especially for the hip of the standing leg and for the lower back.  For the ideal benefits of this pose make sure that your foot, knee, hip, shoulders, head and arm of the raised leg are in a straight line, and that the raised leg, toes, hip points, and fronts of the shoulder all point towards the ground.  

This pose also helps with focus, concentration and invigorating the body.   

Remember that keeping a body moving is an important part of keeping a body healthy! 

Happy Practicing. 


Car accidents can be traumatic and life changing. They can leave you with chronic headaches, neck and back pain, and rob you of your ability to concentrate and complete day to day tasks. Janelle was in a car accident and suffered with those symptoms for over a year before finally finding relief with Upper Cervical Care.

One of the most common injuries car accident victims experience is whiplash, which occurs when the tissues supporting the head and neck are damaged and the bones in the neck are forced out of alignment. No one wants their neck cracked or twisted after getting whiplash, but the technique we use involves gentle adjustments that cause no additional trauma to the neck and give the body time to heal.


When you body has a recurring symptom that doesn't resolve medication can be helpful to get you through the day to day, it masks the symptom but you should ask yourself... WHY?   Why can't my body self correct this?  Why does the problem continually recur?  With migraines often the causes can be many factors from environmental triggers like chemicals to life stress but often a big factor is also neurological and structural. 

At Arete Chiropractic, we work at correcting the underlying problem that causes migraines. For many, this is a misalignment of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. These vertebrae are located at the base of the skull. The C1 (atlas) provides protection for the brainstem. If misaligned, however, pressure may be placed on the atlas resulting in various symptoms such as migraines.

Also, a misalignment in this sensitive part of the body may restrict blood flow to the brain keeping it from getting enough oxygen. It could also result in reduced drainage of cerebrospinal fluid, thus causing pressure to build up.

Regardless of the way in which the misalignment causes or contributes the migraines, a correction can help to resolve the issue.   Watch the story below of a woman who's entire life was affected by chronic daily headaches.  

Surgery Cancelled after beginning Upper Cervical Care

Have you ever stopped being active because of pain?  Check out Lauren's story.    Being in constant pain is draining.  Regardless of if you have had specific head or neck trauma or if you are in the category of years of pore posture, neck pain runs the gamete from annoying to debilitating.  Pain in the neck can arise from many of the various structures in this complex part of the body.  One of the most common is due to degeneration of the vertebra and joints causing bone spurs or bony growths.  Here we're going to break that process down.  When a trauma occurs and a joint in the neck is locked out of place (most commonly the 1st cervical vertebra) it then changes how that joint and the rest of the joints in the neck move.  When there is altered movement at a joint it creates inflammation and instability.  The body's response to instability is quite brilliant in fact, it's going to lay down more bone to try to stabilize that area.  This response is a natural process in the body, and like we said it's pretty brilliant because it takes DECADES for bone to degenerate to the point where it is drastically affecting function.  When the human body was evolving and our life expectancy was 40 this process was not a problem.  However if we want to stay pain free and active into our 70's-80's or even 90's we need to restore that joint motion as best we can!  This is where gentle specific upper cervical chiropractic can help your body feel better and function better.  Just ask Lauren.  

Warrior Two Pose for Strong legs, Open Hips and Engaged Core

Warrior two pose or Virabhadrasana II is one of the most common yoga poses you might see at your local class.  Yet often I see this pose done slightly incorrectly that can cause significant aches and pains in time.   One of the most common mishaps is when the knee tracks two far over the ankle.  This causes sheering forces on the knee and can create strain.  Also if your torso is not balanced over the hips this is going to increase strain in the lower back and looses a huge benefit of the posture.  The biggest benefit of this posture is to create a strong foundation with your legs. 

This posture will tone and increase the strength in your legs and thighs.  It also is a great posture to open up and stretch the hip and groin muscles.  Additionally with the torso over the hips and the chest open it will strengthen the back muscles and open the front of the chest.  All of us on computers drastically need that these days!  So next time your getting into this pose be mindful of these tips to get the maximum benefit and prevent injury.