If you're prone to headaches or migraines—or even just have one once in a while—you know how awful they can be. A headache disrupts your day or night and makes it hard or impossible to concentrate on any task. Learn some of the common causes and read how chiropractic can help alleviate this painful and common ailment.
Stats on Headaches
Headaches occur across populations and are extremely common—according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 47 percent of the worldwide adult population has experienced a headache at least one time in the past year. Research shows that women experience headaches more frequently than men, although scientists and researchers aren't exactly sure why.
While there are more than 200 kinds of headaches, the "Tension Type Headache" is the most frequently seen. Episodic tension headaches reportedly affect 70 percent of some populations and 1 to 3 percent of adults suffer from chronic tension headaches. A tension headache causes pressure and dull pain around the forehead, sides or back of the head.
Migraines are the most severe type of headache and can completely debilitate the sufferer. Other symptoms of migraine headaches:
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
Trauma, Toxins & Thoughts
There are many different causes of headaches, but as chiropractors, we look at the three Ts: trauma, toxins and thoughts. Trauma consists of accidents and injuries; toxins from chemical exposure, everyday skin and beauty products, food additives and alcohol; thoughts are emotional and mental factors like stress, anxiety and depression.
Treating Headaches with Chiropractic
These three Ts also contribute to subluxations in the spine—chiropractors treat these subluxations, which prevent proper communication from the brain to the body. When a subluxation occurs, one or more spinal vertebrate move out of position, and stress or irritation is placed on nearby nerves, preventing the body from healing properly.
Multiple studies have found a correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the reduction of migraine and headache symptoms. A case study, published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, details the experience of a 52-year-old woman who had suffered chronic migraines for many years, typically experiencing an episode once a month, lasting around 15 hours. The patient received chiropractic spinal manipulative treatment (CMST; a.k.a., chiropractic adjustments), and at a six-month follow-up, the patient reported zero migraines since the CMST.
Make an appointment to talk to a chiropractic doctor about chiropractic and headaches and migraines.
Read on to learn more:
Chiropractic spinal manipulative treatment of migraine headache of 40-year duration using Gonstead method: a case study (Abstract), Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 2011
Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Headache (Abstract), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2009
A Controlled Trial of Cervical Manipulation for Migraine (Abstract), Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine, Dec. 1978
A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine (Abstract), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2011
The efficacy of spinal manipulation, amitriptyline and the combination of both therapies for the prophylaxis of migraine headache (Abstract), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1998
A Twelve Month Clinical Trial of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Migraine (Abstract), Australasian Chiropractic & Osteopathy, Jul. 1999