Many people have a headache now and then, but a migraine is a much more serious as it can involve disabling pain and other symptoms. Most medical solutions to migraines are drug-based, but at Canberra Spine Centre we use the latest research to determine the most effective non-drug based treatments for patients with this crippling disease.
What is a Migraine?
Migraines often come with early warning signs that include visual disturbances, tingling in a single limb, or an ache beneath the eyes and forehead (Pain Med 2008; Epub). These prodromal symptoms are followed by the migraine proper, often involving intense pain, light sensitivity, nausea, and vertigo.
According to Headache Australia, more than 3 million Australians suffer from migraines with more women suffering than men. One study implicates female sex hormones, along with environmental and cultural factors, as the cause of this gender imbalance (Med Hypotheses 2008; Epub).
The negative effects of migraines can be enormous. In Taiwan migraines are responsible for 3.7 million annual sick days, at a loss of at least $4.6 billion (J Chin Med Assoc 2008;71:74-8).
Limitations and Dangers of Migraine Drugs
Chronic migraine suffers experience issues beyond their pain and nausea. Migraine sufferers often take migraine medicine and additional prescription medications. They also suffer from a spectrum of gastrointestinal and psychiatric issues (Headache 2007;47:65-72).
Migraine diagnosis is uncertain and the condition is undertreated, which can lead to self-medication (Headache 2008;430-41).
Unfortunately, medicine-based migraine treatment often uses medications with potentially harmful side effects. Some studies indicate that these drugs only make migraines worse as time goes by, but that nearly half of the ‘impact’ of such drugs may be attributable to the placebo effect and not the drugs (J Pediatr 2008;152:527-33).
Chiropractic care often eliminates or reduces the ‘Triggers’ that can cause Migraine.
Chiropractors have long known that spinal conditions can lead to episodic migraines (JVSR 2006;1-9).
Specific spinal causes include reduced neck mobility, forward head posture, and the action of certain facial and occipital muscles (Headache 2007;47:662-72). Muscle injury is also associated with migraines. (J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2007;37:33-9).
In addition, if there is restricted movement in the neck, or if spinal bones (vertebrae) are not moving evenly through their range of motion – chiropractors call this vertebral subluxation – nerves may become irritated, and sensitise other nerves, leading to a migraine.
Research shows that chiropractic care can have clear benefits for migraine sufferers whose migraines are related to dysfunction in the cervical spine (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007;30:408-18).
The Chiropractic approach to alleviation of migraines
Many health-care practitioners recommend a physical treatment for neck problems that cause migraines. In an in-depth analysis of clinical trials, Harvard Medical School researchers compared results for physical therapy, massage, and other nondrug options as remedies for headache.
Results showed that spinal manipulation helped with tension-type headaches with migraine-like symptoms (Headache 2005;45:738- 46). This type of care was determined to be safe, without serious negative events, in a review of more than 19,000 patients (Spine 2007;32:2375-8).
Supportive measures that may help
- In addition to spinal manipulation, chiropractors may recommend supportive measures to help migraine sufferers to recover good function and thus help alleviate their symptoms. These include: relaxation activities (eg. meditation, guided relaxation, guided imagery), neck exercises, warm baths, and rest in a dark room.
- Other therapies may be of assistance in helping migraine suffers, such as: acupuncture, massage, biofeedback and hypnosis.
- Some supplements and herbs may also benefit migraine sufferers, such as Butterbur (Petasites hybridus), Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), Vitamin B3 and Magnesium.
See us at Canberra Spine Centre
If you suffer from migraines, don’t just wait around for you next one and try to cope. Instead, take control by talking to your doctor of chiropractic at Canberra Spine Centre to see if chiropractic care can help you. At Canberra Spine Centre we provide holistic advice and treatment for a variety of health issues including migraines.