Chiropractic Care for Headaches and Migraines

Did you know that 80% of headaches are neck related?
Headaches and migraines are common pain events for many people, and they are often recurring. A variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications may control headache and migraine pain, but they only mask the pain without addressing the cause. These medications may also have side effects, especially with long use. Hoping to find a more natural and holistic solution to chronic headaches, many people turn to chiropractic.

Chiropractic can play an important role in treating migraines and headaches. Clinical studies   suggest that chiropractic may have a measurable role in the prevention of migraines and headaches. Through adjustments of the spine and neck, migraines and headaches can often be reduced or prevented. Nerves control vascular system tension, and chiropractic adjustments reduce irritation of the nervous system beginning with its roots in the spine, also improving vascular flow. 

A recent study found that the INDIRECT annual cost for headache in the USA ($19.6 billion) was only slightly less that for back pain ($19.8 billion). 

Research shows that spinal adjustments– the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal adjustments resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication. Also, a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal adjustments are an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication. 

Dr. Rodwin also practices a technique whereby she is able to adjust your cranium (skull) bones, which is very effective in treating headaches and migraine symptoms.

Book your chiropractic appointment with Dr. Barbara Rodwin today!

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month of January highlighting tips on Headaches and migraines!

Acupuncture has been studied as a treatment for migraine headaches for more than 20 years. Acupuncture helps reduce days with migraines and may have lasting effects, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. After completing the study, all of the participants reported fewer days with migraines than before the study began. All of the participants also reported improvements in the frequency and intensity of migraines. In a 2008 study, the primary outcome measure chosen to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for migraines was 50% reduction in migraine attack frequency. Further analysis revealed that the acupuncture maintained significant improvements in all parameters except for headache severity from the first month follow-up to the long term follow-up. Book your acupuncture appointment today with Dr. Barbara Rodwin or Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl!

Similar very positive findings can be said about the effectiveness of massage therapy in treating headaches and migraines as well. In one study, the massage therapy group (30 minute treatment, 2x/week for 5 weeks, focusing on the neck musculature) had statistically significant improvement in pain (71% reduction) compared to the control group (no treatment). Another study from New Zealand was conducted over 13 weeks – a 4 week baseline period, 6 weeks of treatment and 3 weeks of follow-up. Migraine frequency was reduced in the massage group (45 minute treatment, 1x/week for 6 weeks, focusing on neuromuscular and trigger point areas of the back, neck and shoulders) after treatment (by 34%) and at follow-up (by 30%) compared to the control group (kept a headache diary – values were 7% and 2% respectively). Interestingly, intensity of migraine attacks remained unchanged in both groups and sleep quality was improved in the massage group. Massage participants exhibited greater improvements in migraine frequency and sleep quality during the intervention weeks and the 3 follow-up weeks. During sessions, massage induced decreases in anxiety, heart rate, and cortisol. If you experience headaches and migraines, book with one of our Registered Massage Therapists today!

Naturopathic Perspectives in Treating Headaches and Migraines

Naturopathic Doctors recognize that headaches and migraines are the result of other disturbances within the body; hence treatments with pain-relief medications often just act to suppress a much deeper, underlying trigger. Naturopathic care aims to treat this underlying trigger. Changes in circulation and the micro-vessels of the cranium can lead to swelling or vasodilation of these blood vessels and an increase in pressure.  This can be triggered through tension (psychological or muscular), histamine release (through allergenic triggers including food or environmental sensitivities) and increases in inflammation or platelet clumping.  For more information and to take a deeper look at what’s triggering your headaches or migraines, talk to Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl, our Naturopathic Doctor.

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