by Kristy Donnelly, D.C.
Almost three-fourths (3/4) of adults have experienced headaches in the past year, and many of them are considered disabling.
According to the World Health Organization, collective headache disorders which includes migraines, cervicogenic headaches, tension headaches and medication-overuse headaches, are the third highest cause worldwide of years lost to disability.
This means that not only are headache sufferers in pain, but they also have a lower quality of life and are forced to miss work. In addition, people who suffer from a chronic headache disorder are more likely to also have anxiety and depression.
Many people turn to Acetaminophen or Tylenol, with side effects of nausea, stomach pain, itching, headache, rash; or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, which has side effects that include upset stomach, heartburn, nausea, headache and dizziness.
But many studies have found that a safer and more effective option could be seeing a chiropractor. A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics involving 683 patients1 with chronic headaches evaluated chiropractic adjustments for chronic headaches through a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. The study found that adjustments have a better effect than massage on cervicogenic headaches and are comparable to prescription medications for tension-type and migraine headaches.
In another study2 specifically evaluating how migraines respond to adjustments, a group of 87 patients diagnosed with common or classical migraines reported an average of 90% reduction in frequency and 38% reduction in duration of each migraine episode.
Many other studies have been performed over the years with similar findings of headache symptoms decreasing after seeing a chiropractor.
Although headaches can have multiple causes, many are related to muscle tension in the neck. This is why chiropractors are frequently able to help. Especially in today’s world with too much technology leading to cervical postural imbalances, chiropractors are able to help identify and correct postural misalignments, and ease joint irritation and muscle tension.
In addition to performing spinal manipulation, chiropractors can also offer advice on posture, ergonomics and exercises. In the case that we are not able to help, we can also make any necessary referrals to pain management doctors or neurologists.
So before risking side effects of medication, give us a call!
1 Bronfort G, Assendelft WJ, Evans R, Haas M, Bouter L., “Efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic headache: a systematic review,” J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001 Sep;24(7):457-66., last accessed 7/4/2018
2 Chiropractic and Migraines: What the Research Tells Us by Dr. Steve Tullius, last accessed 7/4/2018