Headaches and Migraines:
Can Chiropractic Help?
Where can you find migraine and headache relief?
My chiropractic patients describe excruciating headache and neck pain that shuts them down for hours at a time in a closed room. The migraine causes headache, nausea, light and sound sensitivity and they feel miserable. It always sounds to me like migraines and common headaches are some of the worst “common” pains imaginable, perhaps next to childbirth.
How and where can one find headache relief?
What causes migraine headaches anyway? Can chiropractic help? It was once thought that migraine headaches were caused due to chemical changes in the blood vessels present in the brain. Some recent research has suggested that the chemical changes that cause migraine headache do not occur in the brain’s vessels, rather these chemical changes may occur in the brain itself. Serotonin pathways are also suspected of being involved. Some migraines are thought to originate in the brainstem which lies at the very top of the spinal cord.
I have found that headache is one of the most responsive problems that can be helped with chiropractic care.
It is estimated that 17% of people suffer from migraine headaches. Drugs are by far the most common treatment for migraine headache. It is important to remember though, that medication does not “cure” the headache or the reason you have a headache. It simply may relieve the pain temporarily until the next headache comes along. Then more medication must be taken.
Patients often ask me if chiropractic can “help” headaches or give migraine headache relief. What most people, (except my chiropractic patients) don’t realize is that headaches themselves are merely a symptom. They are not, in fact a disease to be cured. For effective changes to take place, what must be detected and “cured” is the cause of the headaches. Headaches may be caused by many factors and if one is to help a headache sufferer, the cause must be determined. Non-migraine headaches can be caused from sources as varied as food allergy to brain tumor and it is important to keep in mind, pain relief medication will not cure these headache causes.
Chiropractic is a little known but highly effective holistic, alternative treatment for many kinds of headaches including migraine headaches. Following is an exerpt from “JMPT”, a highly respected medical journal that shows chiropractic as highly effective in the treatment of migraine.
“One hundred and twenty-seven Migraine patients (at least one Migraine per month) were divided into two groups for comparison. Group 1 received chiropractic adjustments at specific vertebral subluxations determined by the treating practitioner; group 2 served as controls and received inactive treatment (electrical stimulation with no current delivered). Subjects receiving chiropractic adjustments reported substantial improvement in migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use following two months of treatment. One in five participants reported a 90% reduction in Migraines, and half reported significant improvement in Migraine severity.**
Migraine headache relief is one of the most common “side effects” of chiropractic adjustments in my office. I call it a side effect because often a patient will arrive at the office with another physical complaint altogether and not even mention to me that they have migraine headache. Then much to their surprise, it goes away. What a great and healthy side effect. By removing pressure and tension on the nerves, spinal cord and brainstem through gentle chiropractic adjustments, headaches can often be truly “cured.” Of course, don’t tell this to the pharmaceutical industry and their clever marketing department. In my research for this article, I came across a drug ad that showed a woman who suffered from migraine headache actually ripping her face off! This clever graphic image trick did however underscore how badly migraine sufferers can feel. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So many have been helped naturally, without drugs. So many have been helped with chiropractic and achieved lasting results. Which choice will you make?
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**Tuchin PJ, Pollard H, Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for Migraine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb. 2000: Vol. 23, No. 2, pp91-95.
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