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Migraines and Neck Pain

Migranes

If you suffer from migraines, chiropractic treatment may be the answer you have been looking for!

If you suffer from migraines, you’re certainly not alone. They’re relatively common, affecting an estimated 10% of the population. What can be done to get rid of migraines? According to a recent study, chiropractic care may hold the answer.

One hundred and twenty-seven migraine patients (at least one migraine per month) were divided into two groups for comparison. Group 1 received chiropractic adjustments at specific vertebral subluxations determined by the treating practitioner; group 2 served as controls and received inactive treatment (electrical stimulation with no current delivered). Subjects receiving chiropractic adjustments reported substantial improvement in migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use following two months of treatment. One in five participants reported a 90% reduction in migraines, and half reported significant improvement in migraine severity.

One popular theory:  Migraines result from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Often a trigger, such as certain foods or hormones, can cause blood vessels to dilate in the brain. The vessels become inflamed, thus irritating surrounding nerve fibers. The nerve fibers then send messages back to control centers in the brain, which continues vessel dilation, thus kicking off a vicious cycle of violent pain.

Chiropractors believe that some migraines originate in the spine. Often a misalignment of the vertebrae, or subluxation, can irritate the nerves that travel the length of the spine to the brain. This misalignment makes a person more prone to chemical imbalances in the brain. Some researchers say that realigning the vertebrae—a chiropractor’s specialty—relieves the pressure against inflamed nerves and can in turn relieve the headaches.

For migraines caused by subluxation, chiropractors recommend gently stretching of the neck—rolling and sudden movements should be avoided. To prevent subluxations, pay attention to your posture. For example, if you sit for long periods in front of a computer, move your body around frequently. Also, sleep on your side or back, and use a firm pillow that supports your neck.

Tuchin PJ, Pollard H, Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb. 2000: Vol. 23, No. 2, pp91-95.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is a fairly common condition. Most people will experience it at some point in their lives with women reporting slightly higher instances of chronic pain. Pain medication often is the first line of defense against neck pain but it doesn’t solve the problem and many drugs carry the risk of harmful side effects. Chiropractic treatment for neck pain, including spinal manipulation, spinal adjustments, and ultrasound, is a non-invasive and drug-free therapy.

Although a chiropractor will use many of the same criteria as a physician when diagnosing neck pain, a chiropractic medical history tends to place greater weight on the fact that the neck is merely one part of the integrated biomechanical system that is the human spine. Systems such as accompanying shoulder or arm pain are considered in context of the underlying issue of chiropractic neck pain.

Spinal manipulation and spinal adjustments are an important part of the treatment program for chiropractic neck pain. This drug-free therapy simply involves the chiropractor using his or her hands to treat subluxations. A subluxation occurs when one or more vertebrae move out of position, thus creating pressure and irritation near the spinal nerves. Spinal manipulation and spinal adjustments can fix the subluxation, relieve pain in the soft tissues, increase circulation, and stimulate the body’s nervous system.

Contrary to popular belief, spinal manipulation and spinal adjustments are not painful. When you seek chiropractic treatment for neck pain, the treatment is precise and gentle. Chiropractors are trained as experts in the spine and how to manually return motion to restricted spinal joints. They do not merely “pop” or “crack” bones until something “snaps” back into place.