Treating headaches and migraines can be a multifaceted approach with many different options. Idaho Joint and Spine & Dr. James Whitaker are proud to be serving headache and migraine sufferers in Boise, Kuna, Meridian, Nampa and the surrounding areas.
In treating headaches and migraines, Dr Whitaker believes in using an individualized approach which may include a combination of:


As a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) or an Osteopathic Physician, Dr James Whitaker excels at Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (or OMM), also known as Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (or OMT). OMM is hands-on care that involves using the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Using OMM, Dr Whitaker is able to move your muscles and joints using techniques that may include stretching, gentle pressure, and inhibition therapy. Dr Whitaker believes that structure influences function. If your body is not properly aligned, it cannot function properly. Using OMM, Dr Whitaker can correct underlying problems that may be working to trigger migraines or headaches.

Learn more about OMM HERE.


Dr Whitaker is trained as a certified massage therapist and he believes that massage can play a vital role in your treatment plan. We work closely with two highly trained massage therapists who understand how to treat tight and painful muscles that can trigger headaches and migraines. Learn more about our massage therapists here!


There are two categories of migraine medication: Abortive and Preventative.  Abortive medications are designed to stop a migraine from progressing once they have already begun.  Preventative medications work to stop a migraine from ever happening.

In dealing with the medication management aspect of headache and migraine care, there is a wide range of options.  These include the broad categories of:  Triptans, Analgesics, Ergots,Stimulants, Muscle Relaxants, Narcotics, Blood Pressure Medications, Antidepressants, Anti-Anxiety,  Sleep Aids, COX-2 Inhibitors and NSAIDs.  Their methods of delivery range from a pill to an injection to a nasal spray.

Dr Whitaker stays up on the latest research in headache and migraine medicine and can help you find the medications that are right for you.

For a more comprehensive list of possible medications, click HERE.

Cefaly for Chronic Migraines

Cefaly is a device that uses neurostimulation of the trigeminal nerve to reduce the number of attacks of migraine. Learn more about it by clicking on the picture below:

Botox for Chronic Migraines

See our Botox for Chronic Migraines – Idaho Joint and Spine page for more information!

Nerve Blocks

Another option for those who suffer from migraines and headaches is a nerve block.  There are many types that each work differently.  Some of these include:  occipital nerve block, supraorbital nerve block, and sphenopalatine ganglion block.  Read more about nerve blocks HERE.

A greater occipital nerve block is the most common type of nerve block performed for headaches and has been found extremely effective in aborting an attack.

Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a group of nerve cells closely associated with cranial nerve # 5, the trigeminal nerve. This nerve has been found to be involved in headache disorders. The SPG is located behind the bony structures of the nose.

Sphenopalatine GanglionA sphenopalatine ganglion block is a nerve block. For more information on other nerve blocks, see the previous section on this page, Nerve Blocks. In this particular nerve block, the SPG is bathed in an anesthetic agent. This gives the SPG a chance to rest and reset and has been found to be effective in chronic cluster headaches and migraines, lasting days to weeks. For some patients, it can even stop a migraine that is already full blown.

The American Headache Society has a great two part article series with information on this procedure.


Trigger Point Injections

A trigger point is an area in a muscle that is hyper-irritated.  It is a band of tightness in the belly of a muscle or at the myotendinous junction that when pushed produces pain, not only in the area being pushed, but in specific patterns.  These patterns are caused referred pain.

Trigger points located within the muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders can cause a condition called myofascial pain.  This pain can be found in patients with Migraine, Tension-type, post-traumatic, and other headache disorders.

A Trigger Point injection is a procedure in which an anesthetic agent is injected into the trigger point.  This can help resolve myofascial pain and ultimately headaches and migraines.

To read more about trigger point injections, click HERE.

LifeStyle Changes

There are many triggers for migraines and headaches that can be minimized simply by making some changes to your lifestyle, habits, and diet.

Some of these include: dehydration, skipping meals, caffeine intake, stress levels, sweets and food choices, food sensitivities, exercise and stretching, alcohol, sleep patterns, lighting, and smells.

Making some small changes to any of these can decrease the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines. Dr Whitaker is aware that these changes can be difficult and can help you to find your triggers and also help you find ways to avoid them.

Supplements and Alternative Therapies

Part of creating a personalized treatment plan involves looking at a supplements as well as any alternative therapies that may be appropriate.

Read HERE for a pamphlet on Alternative Therapies for Headache Treatment by the National Headache Foundation.

Many supplements (aka nutraceuticals) are found to be highly effective in managing migraines and headaches.  Some of these include: RiboflavinCoenzyme Q10Magnesium CitrateButterbur, and Feverfew. In adding nutraceuticals to your diet, the key is to know which one to start with, only adding one at a time, knowing the correct dosing, and knowing the possible dangers or side effects.  Each individual is different in their supplement needs and Dr Whitaker is well trained in finding the right supplement and amount for you.

Some of those therapies may include acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, electrical stimulation, and many others.  While we do not offer these in our office, Dr Whitaker is well versed on these options and can help you find the best treatment options for you.