Chiropractic Care for Migraines – Does it Work?
Migraines affect approximately 37 million Americans. By the time patients consider chiropractic care for migraines, they are out of patience with other treatment options.
In this post, I will review some of the literature about chiropractic care and migraine treatments, side effects, and recommendations of what you can do to reduce migraines at home.
Receiving Chiropractic Care for Migraines
If you have never been to a chiropractor, all treatments revolve around the functionality of a well-aligned spinal column. This is where a bulk of vital nutrients, hormones, cells, and nerves travel and broadcast to the rest of the body. Misalignment can block the easy flow of fluids that carry these chemical components, leading to a host of health concerns.
Chiropractic treatments involve:
- Stretching the spine and muscles
- Moving and aligning the spinal column and hips
- Use of x-rays and other laboratory studies to analyze the spine
- Use of devices like shoe inserts, straps, braces, and other tools to keep the spine aligned
- Provide advice on nutrition, exercise, and stress management
What the Research Shows
There hasn’t been a lot of research done to look at chiropractic treatment for migraines or other types of headaches; however, there are a few notable findings.
- A study analyzing 22 clinical trials with more than 2600 patients with several types of headaches, including migraines, showed that chiropractic treatment was a good preventive measure for migraines
- Another study showed that 22% of migraine patients reported a 90% decrease in their attacks after chiropractic treatment
- In Australia, a study done in 1999 consisting of 127 migraine patients reported that those who received chiropractic care were less likely to use medications because severity and frequency of attacks were significantly decreased
- In the Australia study, 80% of patients said that stress was a major trigger, leading scientists to believe that chiropractic care helps the body react better to stress
Every migraineur is different. You are totally unique in your symptoms and triggers. That’s why it’s hard to give a generalized list of things that could help prevent migraines. The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following:
- If you work in a sedentary, fixed position, you should get up and stretch every 30 minutes to an hour; stretching should include moving the head and neck through a range of motion that will keep it flexible.
- Low-impact activity may help with reducing migraine severity; however, you should avoid rigorous exercise if you get dull, throbbing head pain.
- Don’t clench your jaw when you’re in pain. Don’t let your upper teeth touch your bottom teeth, unless you’re swallowing. The stress on the jaw can make the pain worse
- Drink lots of water since dehydration is one of the most common triggers among all migraineurs.
Chiropractic care for migraines is a good complement to your migraine treatment. Small-scale studies have shown significant improvement in severity and frequency of migraine attacks. Remember that your health is in your own hands. You must do things outside of the doctor’s office to try to get control of your symptoms. This self-management will empower you, while simultaneously helping you cope with the stress of having migraines.
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