Headache and Migraine
Chiropractic and Headache
Headache and neck pain sufferers make up as much as one third of patients seeking treatment from doctors of chiropractic.
Several studies have linked loss of normal neck alignment to the presence of chronic headache pain. The researchers concluded that the loss of this normal alignment leads to greater muscular effort to support the weight of the head. This leads to muscular fatigue and tension-type or Cervicogenic headache. *
The headache from a migraine, with or without aura, has the following characteristics: Throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain, Often begins on one side of your head and may spread to both sides with intense pain in the temples, and can last from 4 - 72 hours. Migraine headaches are frequently disabling and totally prevent normal activities of daily living.
Complementary or alternative therapies are increasingly being used by patients to treat headache pain, and spinal manipulative therapy, chiropractic adjustment, is among the most common of these.
* Headache 1993;33:90-95.; J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992;15:418-29.
Chiropractors have a long tradition of success in managing headaches. The techniques employed at Banic Chiropractic Clinic have been shown to produce statistically significant improvement in neck curve and reported pain. These results are stable at long term follow-up. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 Mar-Apr;26(3):139-51.)
It has been reported that spinal manipulation has an effect comparable to commonly used prescription medications for relief of tension-type and migraine headaches. Several randomized controlled clinical trials have demonstrated positive results in headache treatment.(J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001 Sep;24(7):457-66.)
A recently published study by Nilsson, DC, MD, out of Denmark, revealed that chiropractic neck adjustments have a significant beneficial effect in cervicogenic headache. The group receiving adjustments reduced use of painkillers by 36%, reduced headache hours per day by 69%, and reduced headache intensity by 36%. (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics [1997, 20(5):326-330])
Several clinical trials indicate that spinal manipulation therapy may help treat migraine headaches. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011; 34: 274-89.)
In another study, people with migraine headaches were randomly assigned to receive spinal manipulation, a daily medication (Elavil), or a combination of both. Spinal manipulation worked as well as Elavil in reducing migraines and had fewer side effects. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1995 Mar-Apr;18(3):148-54.)