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Migraine Headaches


We are returning to another variety of conditions that are commonly referred to as headaches in this edition of Speaking of the Spine! Two weeks ago, we discussed cervicogenic headaches, a secondary headache caused by dysfunction in the neck. This week, we will cover migraines. Many people have heard of a migraine, but few people understand what differentiates a bad headache and a true migraine. According to the International Headache Society, migraines differ from other types of headaches due to accompanying nausea, vomiting, photophobia (sensitivity to light), and/or phonophobia (sensitivity to sound)(1). Along with those specific symptoms, migraines also traditionally have at least two of the following characteristics: located on one side of the head, pulsating/throbbing quality, moderate to severe intensity, and aggravated by routine physical activity (1).


This description of a migraine is quite debilitating and makes it easy to empathize with patients who suffer from this intense form of a headache. According to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis, patients who received chiropractic adjustments significantly decreased both the number of migraine days per month and the intensity of the migraines compared to those who used medications or other forms of intervention(2). Another study focused on chronic migraine patients (described as having over 15 episodes per month) and found when compared to sham adjustments, patients who received real adjustments, on average decreased their number of migraine days per month from roughly 23 days down to 3 days(3).


Along with chiropractic care, there are other strategies available to help address migraines and ease your suffering. If you know of someone who has not tried chiropractic care and experiences migraines, have them schedule an appointment with Dr. Kennedy.


Sources


  1. Harris, S.P. (2005). Chiropractic management of a patient with migraine headache, Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 4(1), 25-31, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0899-3467(07)60109-8.

  2. Rist, P.M., Hernandez, A., Bernstein, C., Kowalski, M., Osypiuk, K., Vining, R., Long, C.R., Goertz, C., Song, R. and Wayne, P.M. (2019), The Impact of Spinal Manipulation on Migraine Pain and Disability: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 59: 532-542. https://doi-org.palmer.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/head.13501

  3. Cerritelli, F., Ginevri, L., Messi, G., Caprari, E., Di Vincenzo, M., Renzetti, C., Cozzolino, V., Barlafante, G., Foschi, N., Provinciali, L. (2015). Clinical effectiveness of osteopathic treatment in chronic migraine: 3-Armed randomized controlled trial, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, (23)2, 149-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2015.01.011.



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