A national research study conducted by a major American health services company in 2013 aims to investigate alternative treatment options for patients who live with chronic migraine conditions. One of the practitioners who participated in the study is a Pennsylvania chiropractor who reported that she performs close to 5,000 treatments per year on patients who seek relief from headaches.
Chiropractors are no strangers to headache complaints; after all, the orthopedic issues that they often deal with are related to injuries involving the back, head, neck, and shoulders. Incidentally, many patients who see chiropractors experience headachescaused by their bone and tissue conditions. However, many chiropractors are now reporting visits by patients whose primary health complaint is related to chronic migraine conditions.
Spinal Conditions and HeadachesCertain spinal injuries such as herniated cervical discs are known to cause headaches, particularly when the vertebrae affected are in the C1-C3 range. Pain that originates at the neck will often turn into a headache due to proximity of cranial and facial nerve clusters. Patients who already suffer from migraines are likely to suffer episodes triggered by cervical and spinal pain.
Since chiropractic sessions often involve spinal manipulation, it is not unusual for patients to report that their headaches are also alleviated. This likely means that the tension and pressure headaches they experienced were caused by their injuries, but it does not mean that migraine conditions can be cured with chiropractic sessions. There is no known cure for migraines; however, there are some clinical studies that illustrate the benefits of chiropractic treatment when it comes to providing migraine relief.
The Neurological Factors of MigrainesChiropractors approach the well-being of their patients from a neurological point of view, particularly as it relates to the alignment of the spine. This approach assumes that the human body has a biological ability to heal a number of disease conditions as long as there is no misalignment of the spine.
Medical researchers have found strong evidence of neurological, vascular and brain chemistry factors that may interact and cause migraines. To this effect, chiropractic sessions may address a significant portion of the neurological factor, and there are a few case studies that show that spine realignment treatment has greatly contributed to the reduction of migraine episodes in some patients.
Along with the positive results reported by some patients, others report some side effects such as:
- Feeling stiff
- Localized pain
- Short-term headaches unrelated to migraines
- Mild fatigue
Many of the migraine patients who seek chiropractic treatment are interested in reducing their medication intake. Others also believe that chiropractic sessions can help them to relax and adopt more comfortable postures. In the end, some researchers think that the stress relief provided by chiropractic sessions is the main causal agent for the relief reported by chronic migraine patients.
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