By Dr. James McErlain, D.C.
Chiropractors successfully treat thousands of headache sufferers every day, as many as 25% of the individuals seeking chiropractic care do so for the treatment of headaches. According to the American Migraine Foundation, 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraines. One in four families has an affected member. Combined medical costs, work time-loss and decreased productivity are estimated to impact the U.S. economy by more than $20 billion annually. There is no known cure for migraines. Current treatments aim to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of the headaches when they occur. Chiropractic treatment is one option for migraine sufferers.
Migraines account for approximately 10% of all headaches. Researchers have found that 3.4 million females and 1.1 million males suffer from 1 migraine attack per month. Migraines follow a hereditary course, with 70% of migraine sufferers having other family members who are also affected. Migraine headaches often have coexisting muscle tension and cervicogenic factors which contribute to the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.
The pain generated by migraines has a throbbing quality and usually involves one side of the head initially. The headache tends to reach its peak intensity after about 30 minutes. Migraines are commonly accompanied by nausea and vomiting. During severe attacks, sensitivity to sound and light may occur forcing the individual to seek a dark and quiet room mandatory. The duration of the headache can vary from a few hours to 1 to 2 days.
Migraine headaches are categorized into either “common” or “classical” migraines.
Classical Migraines differ from common migraines in that the actual headache is preceded by neurologic disturbances which indicate a migraine attack is about to take place. These include alterations in the visual field (zigzag lines, blind spots, etc.), numbness or tingling of the lips or hand, problems with balance and even loss of consciousness. These neurologic disturbances generally last 15 to 30 minutes and resolve before the headache begins. In some cases, the neurologic disturbances may persist several days after the headache has resolved.
Research based treatment for Migraine
Clinical trials conducted on chiropractic’s effectiveness in the management of migraine headaches have shown remarkable improvement in many cases.
Spinal manipulation, the primary treatment modality of most chiropractors, has been studied in the context of migraines. A large study involving 127 participants was reported in the February 2000 issue of the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.” In this study, the subjects who received two months of chiropractic treatment experienced significant improvements in migraine frequency, duration, disability and medication use compared to the control group. Twenty-two percent of the participants reported more than 90 percent reduction of migraines.
This study compared chiropractic spinal manipulation to amitriptyline that is a medication often prescribed for the treatment of headache. The researchers found that “spinal manipulation seemed to be as effective as a well-established and efficacious treatment (amitriptyline), and on the basis of a benign side effects profile, it should be considered a treatment option for patients with frequent migraine headaches.” The researchers also found that in the weeks immediately following treatment, patients who had received spinal manipulation had a 42% reduction in headache frequency, compared to only 24% of those who took amtriptyline. The chiropractic group had fewer headaches even after treatment had ceased.
In other words, the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment in the treatment of migraine headache should be considered by patients suffering these symptoms.
If you or someone you love suffer from migraines, you understand the debilitating effects this condition has on everyday life. Migraines interfere with daily life schedules, work, and time with loved ones. There is no need to continue to suffer. Dr. McErlain can help you live migraine and pain free. Contact the team at Jupiter Healthcare for your free consultation today.
Reliable migraine relief is within reach!
Your path to wellness begins with a relaxed consultation with Dr. McErlain. We take the time to listen and get to know you in order to understand how we can help. Our thorough examination uses the latest computer technology and onsite radiology to accurately pin point the cause of your problem. Once your findings are studied we’ll sit down and discuss in language you will understand the cause of your pain and how to fix it fast.
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