If you are one of the more than 37 million people in the United States who suffer from migraine headaches, you probably have tried various treatments. In fact, about 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraines, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Migraines are characterized by headaches, as well as other symptoms, such as dizziness and nausea. When a migraine occurs, cranial blood vessels expand (vasodilation) as opposed to a regular headache where those same blood vessels narrow (vasoconstriction). Surrounding tissues in the brain become swollen and quite painful.
There are two types of migraines. Common migraines are accompanied with sensory disturbances that include flashes of light, blind spots, and other vision changes, or tingling of the hand or face. Classic migraines are not accompanied by these sensory disturbances.
Migraine alone is 19th among all causes of years lived with disability, according to the World Health Organization. What’s more, headache in general is third among reasons for people in the United States and Canada to seek chiropractic care.
The first step in any effective migraine treatment is an appropriate diagnosis.
Chiropractic Care as an Effective Treatment for Migraines
The good news is that chiropractic treatment is effective for treating many different types of headaches, including migraines!
Chiropractors mainly work by hands-on manipulation of the spine. Irregularities or misalignments in parts of the spine can lead to muscle tension and irritate nerves that control blood flow to the head, which, as you might expect, can lead to a migraine.
Chiropractic treatment is gaining popularity among medical professionals as a way to help patients reduce the frequency of their migraine headaches.
Chiropractic treatment for migraines is unique because it incorporates multiple methods to treat the source of migraine headaches rather than just trying to dull the effects after a migraine has already started.
Chiropractic Treatment Reduces Frequency of Migraines and Reduces Migraine Pain
Chiropractic care has a long history of positive results for migraines!
Studies show that patients who receive chiropractic treatment for migraines experience pain reduction. One recent study assessed the effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for the treatment of migraine headaches. This study found that participants who received chiropractic care for migraines had significant improvements in their migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use.
Another study recently reported that participants who received chiropractic treatment for migraines reduced the number of migraines they had by more than half. This same study also revealed positive results for people who went to a chiropractor for their persistent migraines.
“Ultimately, patients got better, on average,” said Dr. William Lauretti, leading researcher for the latter study.
As was the case with similar studies of migraine sufferers, after multiple visits with the chiropractor, participants in these studies reported that their migraines were less frequent and they experienced pain reduction. Medical researchers also found that these patients had good overall outcomes when chiropractic treatments were combined with other treatments.
Researchers who have run multiple studies on chiropractic care and migraines underscore the importance of patients having a wide range of options for migraine relief. Some people want to reduce their dependence on medications, so they opt for low-risk alternatives, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care, according to researchers.
In one large study that involved 87 patients who suffered migraine headaches and received chiropractic adjustments, the results were overwhelmingly positive. These study participants were analyzed two years later via a headache questionnaire. Of the patients who had common migraine — 85 percent of women and 50 percent of men were either improved or their headaches ceased altogether. Patients with classical migraine showed an improvement rate of 78 percent for women and 75 percent for men.
Potential Side Effects of Chiropractic Treatment
Dr. Lauretti of the New York Chiropractic College pointed out that chiropractic manipulation can have side effects, such as temporary soreness and, ironically, a headache. However, researchers concluded that chiropractic care along with exercise and physical therapy can be very helpful at reducing the incidents and level of pain, as well.
The combination approaches that include physical therapy, relaxation techniques, and stress management may be more effective than spinal manipulation alone, according to researchers who have studied the effects of chiropractic care on migraines.
Choosing the Rights Approach to Chiropractic Treatment
It is crucial that patients choose a multi-modal or multi-faceted approach to managing migraines and their symptoms. For maximum effectiveness, it is important that a treatment regimen of any type be individualized and comprehensive.
This could mean that your chiropractor works as part of a larger team of medical professionals to find the right combination of treatments (chiropractic care, massage, prescriptions, nutrition, physical therapy, etc.) for your migraine.
That is where our chiropractors at NewEdge Wellness Center come in! We invite you to contact NewEdge Wellness and let us be part of your migraine treatment plan as we work toward helping you feel good again!