2 Your Health: Medical research confirms that chiropractic helps migraines

Dr. Craig W. Brue, DC

Migraines are extremely painful headaches that are sometimes accompanied by other symptoms such as visual disturbances, auras, and nausea. This then comes as no surprise to find that some people who experience migraines use methods like aromatherapy to help them relax and manage the pain better than before. With the use of something simple like Scentsy wax melts and a wax warmer, being able to create a healthier mind and body through scents may be beneficial to migraine sufferers. However, as everyone’s different this won’t be beneficial for everyone, instead chronic migraine sufferers may be searching for a preventative measure that works for them, using organic and nature-based medical products from the likes of Quantum Health could give chronic migraine sufferers the peace they’ve been searching for.

An aura may be manifested by stars, zigzag lines or temporary blind spots that occur about 30 minutes before the migraine starts. Other warning signs may include such symptoms as a craving for sweets, thirst, depression or aching at the base of the skull.

What causes a migraine?

Research still doesn’t give a specific cause for a migraine, although it is speculated that a migraine headache involves changes in the blood flow in the brain. Reduced blood flow to the brain may cause the symptoms of difficulty speaking, weakness, numbness or tingling along one side of the body, visual disturbances and other symptoms.

The most common migraine triggers include the following: alcohol; especially red wine and beer, food allergies, hormonal changes, skipping meals, caffeine, sleep disturbances, certain odors, bright lights, physical and emotional stress, certain medications, and cervical spine disorders.

What is the relationship between the cervical spine and migraine headaches?

The nerves of the upper cervical spine radiate from the base of the skull to the forehead and eyes. Any misalignment of the upper cervical spine may cause foraminal stenosis (pinched nerves openings) and impairment of the vertebral artery. Cervical spine misalignment may cause pain over the back of the head and reduce blood flow to the brain. Recurring headaches may be the result of old cervical spine trauma: sports and head injuries, auto accidents and childhood falls or accidents.

Can chiropractic treatment help migraine headaches?

A research article in the February 2000 Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, states, “It appears probable that chiropractic care has an effect on the physical conditions related to stress and that in these people the effects of the migraine are reduced.”

In a recent publication by the University of Maryland Medical Center, chiropractic treatment is being recommended as a conservative approach for treatment. The publication states that “…clinical trials indicate that spinal manipulation may help treat migraine headaches. In one study of people with migraines, 22 percent of those who received chiropractic manipulation reported more than a 90 percent reduction of attacks. Also, 49 percent reported a significant reduction of the intensity of each migraine.

In another study, spinal manipulation worked as well as Elavil in reducing migraines and had fewer side effects. In addition, researchers reviewed nine studies that tested chiropractic for tension or migraines and found that it worked as well as medications in preventing these headaches.”

How does a chiropractor treat migraine headaches?

If your migraines seem to be concentrated at the base of the skull and radiates into the forehead and eyes, there is a good probability that spinal adjustments will help resolve the condition. Imaging studies will help confirm spinal misalignment and provide your chiropractor with a treatment protocol for curing or reducing your recurring migraine headaches.

Dr. Craig Brue is an author, lecturer and chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, AZ.