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Chiropractic Treatment of Migraine

By Joanna Karpasea-Jones
 
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Chiropractic treatment is a viable alternative to pharmacological treatment for migraine and intractable headaches, and could be considered if:

• The patient's use of migraine medications is contraindicated.
• The patient has found the medications ineffective.
• The patient would prefer not to use medications.
• The patient is pregnant or breast feeding.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care is a method of adjusting the bones in your body to improve your nervous system function and allow healing from various ill health problems. Joints can be realigned to relieve pain such as backache, sports injuries and migraine.

Does it Work?

A recent review in the Journal of Headache Pain showed that female migraine sufferers who had been diagnosed by a neurologist had a 50 percent improvement in the severity of their migraines, compared to only a 13 percent improvement for women undergoing physical therapy.

In another study carried out in Australia, the patients were divided into three groups, one group had cervical manipulation done by a chiropractor, the second group had it done by a physical therapist or doctor and the third group had cervical mobilization done by a physical therapist or doctor.

They found that all three groups benefitted from the treatment. Chiropractic adjustment was found to be as effective as physical therapy and treatment by a doctor, despite doctors being doubtful of its use before the trial. Twenty months later, all the patients were followed up and they all showed further improvement.

The review also looked at other forms of alternative therapy such as massage therapy. They concluded that chiropractic treatment, relaxation, massage therapy and physical therapy may be equally as effective as drug treatments for migraine. (1)

Help for Pregnant Migraineurs

Women who suffer chronic migraines may find they go into remission when they get pregnant, or that the migraines ease. This is because pregnancy produces more endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.

Hormones are also more stable during pregnancy. Women cannot get menstrual related migraines when pregnant.

Add a Comment20 Comments

Shelly Slader

I had never heard that a chiropractor can help reduce headaches. I have dealt with migraines for years now. They don't come often but when they decide to show up you can bet that I'll be in bed for the day. I should find a chiropractor and talk to him about my options. http://www.transformationchiropractic.com

July 30, 2014 - 1:51pm
Alina Nancy

Chiropractic care can also benefit migraines because it emphasizes healthy eating and sleep in addition to just pills.
Chriopractic care opens the pathway for the body to heal itself ,the most common side effect of chiropractic is relief of symptoms.Headaches are not normal period , be wise not to ignore them , chiropractic may be a solution for you.
home chiropractic

May 2, 2013 - 8:15am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Good that you are feeling better.

However, two alternative explanations are: i) simple placebo effect, and ii) the natural history of the disorder.

Hopefully point ii) will see your neckache go away in due course.

December 12, 2011 - 10:47am
Joanna Karpasea-Jones

Actually, it's 4 weeks without one now I think about it :)

December 12, 2011 - 8:40am
Joanna Karpasea-Jones

Just want to announce that I did manage to recover from neuralgia with chiropractic care.  I haven't had a neuralgia attack for about 3 weeks (before that it was constant and had lasted over 17 months), my headache is gone.  I have neck ache that he said is muscular and advised me to put a hot compress on it, but I have no daily headache and feel tons better than before.

If it comes back in the future I can go back to him, but I've signed off for now and feel happy that I can have Christmas without headache, unlike last year.

December 12, 2011 - 8:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Poor little "anonymous"...the earth is still flat and the blood flows through the body by the force of the moon...good luck with that!
Michael T Breneman DC

November 16, 2011 - 11:21am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Crikey - I didn't realise they still teach that stuff at Life?

November 16, 2011 - 8:12pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I think that there is a lack of good quality evidence for chiropractic for any condition. Remember it was invented by a greengrocer. That's greengrocer, folks - not scientist.

November 14, 2011 - 11:07am
Joanna Karpasea-Jones (reply to Anonymous)

Well, vaccines were invented by a vicar and you believe in those, right?  I'm having chiropractic treatment for neuralgia now and I don't have a headache today (I have had one for 17 months) so I think it is working.  I can also move my head more easily and I'm stronger because I can push the chiropractor away from me and I wasn't able to on the first consultation.  I feel so much better and that's only after two sessions.  The doctors wanted to give me anti-seizure drugs for it which make one in 500 people suicidal, as I have a history of depression I said no.  All their options are drug options and as I already take medication for osteoarthritis I didn't want to take anymore medication.  The doctor didn't want to do surgery on me, he said it was too risky, so after 17 months of pain almost every day, I decided to try and chiropractor and so far I am improving and am really pleased with my care and the amount of time the chiropractor devotes to my care.  That's why I wanted to write this so that others in similar situations might also benefit like I have.

November 14, 2011 - 12:40pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Joanna Karpasea-Jones)

JKJ,

I appreciate what you say and I guess you write in good faith. (That is, your partner isn’t a struggling chiropractor on the back streets of Iowa.) Anyway, have you considered that your improvements and the visit to the chiropractor may not be causally linked? It’s common for people to attribute causation to things that co-occur, but that doesn’t mean chiropractic actually has provided a cure. It may simply be that you are getting better all by yourself.

The best way to test the effectiveness of chiropractic is by RCT. Those, unfortunately for chiropracty, tend to show chiropractic works around the level of placebo. There is research that purports to show chiropractic works above and beyond placebo, but it is generally of the lowest level, such as case studies by chiropractors published in the ‘journal’ JSVR. Most scientists consider the basic principles of chiropracty to be biologically implausible.

A further question for you: does your chiropractor crack your neck? (They’ll call it upper cervical manipulation.) If they do, you might want to look up ‘risks of chiropractic’ in Dr google. It may shock you.

Regarding the vicar: Did she/he then go off making vaccines in their garden shed and hawking them around neighbourhoods whilst proclaiming they were a figure like Jesus Christ? I doubt it. But that’s roughly what D Palmer did. Until his son BJ ran him over and took over the family business. (Yes, that’s business!)

November 16, 2011 - 8:11pm
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