Headaches, Migranes & Chiropractic Care

Headaches & migranes are very common. Studies show that chiropractic care can help reduce the frequency of headaches & migranes.

A transcript of the video follows.


Headaches & Migranes Video Transcript

Do you suffer from headaches or do you know someone who does?

If you do, know that you are not alone. The head is actually the most common sight of pain in the body. Headaches can range from mild headache, pain, or tension that comes and goes through to constant, intense throbbing pain so bad. You have to crawl into bed with all the curtains pulled and a bucket by your side to throw up in.

Some people find it difficult to describe their headache or their head pain, however others commonly describe their pain as throbbing, squeezing, constant, unrelenting, or intermittent. The pain may be in one part of your face or skull, or it may be generalized involving the whole head. Headaches may arise seemingly out of the blue, or they may be associated with particular types of activity such as computer use or during or after exercise. A headache may start abruptly or it may come on gradually over time. It may reoccur time and time again exactly the same, or it may get worse and worse each time you have one. A headache is often associated with nausea and vomiting. This is especially true with migraine headaches.

Headaches, like any pain in the body is a sign that something is not quite right.

Your brain will create for you the sensation of pain if it thinks there’s something wrong or if it thinks there’s a potential problem. For example, your brain will give you a headache if you have taken too much medication, letting you know that there is some chemical toxicity going on, and some headaches are a warning of life-threatening illness. Such headaches are usually associated with fever, a stiff neck muscle weakness, or changes in sensation on one side of the body. Changes in vision, vomiting, or change in behavior. But for most people, headaches are not a sign of life-threatening illness and are more the consequence of lifestyle and daily behavior.

We know now from a lot of neuroscience research studies, when your spine is not moving properly, this changes the way your brain perceives what’s going on in and around your body. The way it integrates all sensory information and the way it controls your body. The movement of your spine is, in other words, very important for your brain to know where you are in space.

And since you cannot see your spine with your eyes, your brain relies on the information it receives from the small muscles closest to your spine and skull. If the segments of your spine are not moving properly, what chiropractors call being subluxated, this may for some people manifest as headaches.

Others may experience back pain. Some babies may experience colic, and for some kids they may not be fully aware of their bladder at night and may end up with bedwetting, and I could go on and on and on.

Research has also shown that when a chiropractor then gently adjusts these subluxations, those spinal segments that aren’t moving properly, it helps the brain to more accurately see what is going on in and around the body.

This helps your brain to accurately feel or see what is really happening in your body so it can properly control and regulate what is going on. It doesn’t have to guess or make stuff up anymore about what movements you should be making, what your autonomic system should be doing, and what symptoms you should or shouldn’t be feeling.

Remember, pain is something your brain creates for you if your brain thinks there’s a threat of tissue damage, or even just if there is a potential threat of tissue damage.

So when you get adjusted by your chiropractor, if your spinal dysfunction was manifesting as headaches, these may improve. If your spinal dysfunction was manifesting as back pain, then this may get better. Or if it was manifesting as colic or bedwetting, then these symptoms could improve as well, and so on and so on.

So let’s look at what the research shows us about chiropractic care and headaches.

Researchers have reviewed all the randomized control trials that have looked at the effects of chiropractic care or spinal manipulative therapy on headaches. In these studies, they have compared chiropractic care to sham care or other interventions, and the results show that chiropractic care does help some people with headaches and migraines.

In one study conducted in Australia and published in 2000, the researchers looked at 127 people suffering with migraines.

The researchers looked at the effects of two months of chiropractic care compared to two months of no chiropractic care and recorded the participant’s migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use after two months. They found that the chiropractic group got better compared to the control group with all their migraine outcomes that they looked at.

They found that for about one in five people, their migraine almost went away completely after two months of chiropractic care.

For half of the study participants, their migraine frequency significantly reduced. The results of this study suggest that a large number of migraine sufferers respond really well to chiropractic care.

We don’t know for sure who will respond well, and we don’t know how much of an influence the placebo effect has, but for some people, when they get under chiropractic care, their migraines almost completely resolved within just a couple of months.

Looking at another study published in 2010 80, patients with chronic cervicogenic headaches received eight weeks of chiropractic care. Another group of 80 patients with chronic cervicogenic headaches received eight weeks of light massage. The researchers compared the patient’s pain scales relating to the headaches and the neck pain and also the frequency of headaches and their medication use. They also looked at whether it made a difference seeing a patient once or twice a week, and they followed them up over a 24 week period.

What they found was that patients receiving chiropractic care improved significantly compared to the control group that was receiving massage. Pretty much all of the pain and disability scores were better in the chiropractic group, and for some of these pain scores, the improvements lasted the full 24 weeks.

The chiropractic group also had fewer headaches and took less medication by the end of the follow-up period.

There appeared to be a small beneficial effect from being seen more often, but the results of this study weren’t conclusive when it comes to frequency of care. The chiropractic group in this study were over three times more likely to have a significant improvement in their headache symptoms compared to people receiving light massage.

So for some people, if their spines are not functioning well, it can cause headaches or migraines. But for others who have spinal dysfunction, what chiropractors cause subluxations, it may cause back pain or neck pain, and for others it may cause clumsiness or reduced sports performance. Or changes in your mood or completely other symptoms such as colic, bedwetting, or high blood pressure.

The thing is, we don’t yet know exactly how subluxations are going to affect you. We need to do a lot more research to figure this out. But in the meanwhile, why don’t you consider chiropractic care? Make sure your spine is functioning well so you can operate at your best.

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Part 2

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Part 3

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