Given the fact that it was Migraine Awareness week 7th – 13th September, and that our principle Chiropractor, Dr Wayne Whittingham composed the first PhD in the world on Chiropractic for the treatment of Headaches, this month’s focus has been on Migraines!
You may or may not be aware that migraine is not just a headache, it can be relentless; an intense pounding and throbbing pain that can steal your energy and ability to function.
Migraine is the most common neurological condition affecting people of all ages, social classes, races and culture.
During Migraine Awareness Week, the United Chiropractic Association highlighted the benefits of Chiropractic care in both the prevention and treatment of migraine headache. Migraine is often managed by medication but some patients do not tolerate acute and or prophylactic medicine, whilst other people may wish to avoid medication all together, Chiropractic is an alternative that should be considered.
A clinical trial (*1) in Australia found that 75% of migraine sufferers experienced either ‘substantial’ or ‘noticeable’ improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment.
One of the authors of the research, Dr Peter Tuchin said
“Around 22% (of patients) had substantial reduction which means that more than 60% of their symptoms reduced during the course of the treatment”
“What makes this a really strong result is that this was a chronic group – the average length of time they’d had migraines was 18 years. To get a change of that sort of magnitude in a really chronic group was amazing”
Chiropractic treatment appears to affect the changes in the function of the blood or nervous system in specific areas of the brain and chemical balances within the body have been related to the cause of migraine attacks.
The cervical spine (the neck) is designed to have a C-shaped curve (known as lordosis). This design serves a specific purpose as the neck is responsible for bearing the considerable weight of the head.
A subluxation, or misalignment, in the neck can irritate the nerves that travel between the brain and the spine.
Such a misalignment can interfere with the normal workings of the central nervous system and leave the body vulnerable to chemical imbalances in the brain.
Migraine triggers vary but can include:
Periods of stress
Foods (Such as chocolate, caffeine, processed meats, cheese, nuts, wine and many more)
Hormonal changes (E.g. menstrual cycle)
For most people there is not just one trigger but a combination of factors which individually can be tolerated but when they all occur together a threshold is passed and a migraine is triggered.
Chiropractic treatment can help with many contributory factors and after effects including relieve of restriction in movement of the neck, muscle tension in the neck, upper back and shoulders and helping correct any postural issues that may influence the occurrence of both migraine and tension headaches.
Chiropractors can also offer advice on lifestyle issues, exercise, nutrition and managing stress.