When was the last time you woke up saying, “Wow! I feel great!”? How long has it been since you were headache-free? Close your eyes and imagine what it would be like to start and end your day without a headache. Maybe you’ve had headaches for so long that you accept them as something you have to live with. The truth is, you don’t have to live with headaches.
Because headaches are so common, some people think that getting a headache is just a normal part of life! They couldn’t be more wrong! Headaches are a definitive sign that something has gone wrong.
There are many types of headaches: migraine, tension, and cluster. A frequent and overlooked cause of headaches is the malfunction of spinal bones in the neck and upper back. When bones of the spine lose their normal position or motion, sensitive nerves and blood vessels to the head can be affected. When spinal nerves and related tissues are stretched or irritated, they can produce throbbing headaches. Aspirin and medications may cover up these warning signs, but do not correct the underlying structural cause.
Many people find relief and correction with chiropractic care. If a thorough examination reveals reduced range of motion, loss of normal spinal curves, or mechanical restrictions, chiropractic care should be considered.
Many patients report headache relief almost instantly. Others find that the correction of their problem takes longer because their spinal problem has existed undetected for many years. Every patient responds differently. Regardless of how you respond, enjoy the drug-free results millions have enjoyed by consulting a chiropractic physician.
Research Validating Chiropractic Treatment for Headaches
A new report released by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation (as performed by a chiropractor) is an effective treatment option of tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. The report, titled “Evidence Report: Behavioral and Physical Treatments for Tension-Type and Cervicogenic Headache,” was authored by Douglas C. McCrory, M.D., MI-ISc; Donald B. Penzien, PhD., and Rebecca N. Gray, D.Phil. Based on a literature review of several headache treatment options, a panel of 25 multidisciplinary experts concluded that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for cervicogenic headaches (those that originate in the neck) and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly-prescribed medication.
The researchers at Duke examined the quality research for physical methods, such as acupuncture, cervical spinal manipulation, and physiotherapy, and behavioral methods, such as relaxation, biofeedback, and stress management training, of treating the two types of headache – tension and cervicogenic.
Researchers concluded the following:
“Cervical spinal manipulation was associated with improvement in headache outcomes in two trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache. Manipulation appeared to result in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache when compared with an attention-placebo control. Furthermore, when compared to soft-tissue therapies (massage), a course of manipulation treatments resulted in sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity.”
For tension-type headaches, the researchers point to a study that compared manipulation to amitriptyline, a drug commonly prescribed for headache. Said the researchers from Duke, “Despite the uniform and relatively low dose of amitriptyline, however, adverse effects were much more common with amitriptyline (82% of patients) than with manipulation (4%). During the 4-week period after both treatments ceased, patients who had received manipulation were significantly better than those who had taken amitriptyline for both headache frequency and severity. Although amitriptyline is usually continued for longer than 6 weeks, the return to near-baseline values for headache outcomes in this group contrasts with a sustained reduction in headache frequency and severity in those who had received manipulation.”