The Lowdown on Migraines, and How Chiropractic Can Help in Ottawa
Migraines are extremely painful, recurring headaches that are sometimes accompanied by other symptoms such as visual disturbances (seeing an aura) or nausea. If you have a migraine with aura, you may see things such as stars or zigzag lines or have a temporary blind spot before the headache starts.Even if you don’t experience an aura, you may have other warning signs in the period before the headaches starts, such as sleepiness, or depression.
Many patients rely on pain medications to manage migraines but did you know those medications may actually be causing you more headaches? A recent study found that medication overuse causes daily headaches in 1 in 50 people. Fortunately, there are other options that greatly benefit those suffering from migraines and other types of headaches.
Britannia Chiropractic Clinic has a unique approach that recognizes that we are a vertical structure living in a world of gravity. The hips and pelvis provide a level platform for the rest of the vertical spine and the structures that are connected (ribcage, shoulder blades, arms and neck). When the pelvis is unleveled, it causes a distortion in the vertical spine. This puts strain on certain ligaments causing pain and inflammation.
Our approach is to firstly balance the hips and pelvis, restoring the level platform. The rest of the spine and other structures naturally respond by wanting to self-correct and we support this process. So, even in cases of neck pain and headache, we will improve the structure of the base of the spine alongside improving the upper back and neck region. We have found this to be the most effective, safest and natural approach and produces outstanding results with minimum intervention.
In my experience, most neck problems have slowly built up over time, and can be directly related to a response to a distortion pattern in the hips and pelvis. Following Newton’s ‘action-reaction’ law, when the hips and pelvis skew in one direction, the shoulder plane skews in the opposite direction, upsetting the mechanical alignment of the cervical spine, straining ligaments, tendons and muscles in the area. This all ultimately interferes with normal nerve system function, leading to headaches among other things. Neck pain and migraines are most effectively treated by working towards balancing the hips and pelvis, then the shoulders and neck will align easily and the pressure is taken off the neck so the tissues are able to heal completely. This also ensures that the neck and migraine problem will not re-occur.
The specific Chiropractic adjustments we perform here reset the tension in the ligaments to normal levels, restoring the natural movement of the bones and releasing the surrounding muscle tension. This reduces the local inflammation and pain and restores the normal blood flow to the brain.
Cases studies have suggested that chiropractic is beneficial for migraine treatment in pregnant women and children but a 2000 study was one of the first randomized, controlled trials assessing the efficacy of chiropractic for migraine.
The study involved 127 participants between the ages of 10 and 70. All had been diagnosed with migraines, and had a minimum of at least one migraine per month. Half of the patients received chiropractic adjustments, while the other half served as a control group.Treatment consisted of two months of chiropractic spinal adjustments,with a maximum of 16 adjustments. Over the course of the study, participants completed headache diaries noting the frequency, intensity, duration, disability, associated symptoms, and medication use for each migraine.
The treatment group showed statistically significant improvements in average responses for migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use when compared to the control group. Twenty-two percent of participants reported more than a 90% reduction of migraines after the 2 months of adjustments.The results of this study support previous information that some people report significant improvement in their migraines after chiropractic adjustments.
Given that a high percentage of people with migraines report stress as a major migraine factor, it appears likely that chiropractic care affects physical conditions related to stress, thereby reducing the effects of the migraine.
A more recent study published in 2012 demonstrated that chiropractic care reduced pain severity in migraine patients by an average of 68%. In other words, chiropractic patients had their pain levels drop from an average of 5 to 0.5 on scale of 1 to 10.
Should you want more information on how Chiropractic can help migraines, or to schedule a time for a Chiropractic Structural Examination, contact us at (613) 726-8830.
Jahangiri JN, Vatankhah N, and Baradaran HR. Reduction of Current Migraine Headache Pain Following Neck Massage and Spinal Manipulation. Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2012; 5(1): 5–13. Tuchin P, Pollard H, Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2000; 23 (2) 91-95.
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