MIGRAINE HEADACHE: CHIROPRACTIC MAY BE THE ANSWER
BY: DR. JOSEPH J. MURPHY

You know the feeling all too well. The severe and incapacitating pain that seems to originate behind one eye or on the side of your head. The pain becomes so severe it's difficult to concentrate; difficult to carry on with your day to day activities, difficult to enjoy life. You call them "migraines" and you've been getting them for years. You've tried many different types of drugs and been to many different doctors, all to no avail. Nothing seems to really help with the pain.

Headaches are the second most common ailment causing people to seek chiropractic treatment. They are also one that often can be alleviated by chiropractic when all other methods fail.

Many people identify severe and incapacitating headaches as migraines. By textbook definition, migraine refers to a specific type of headache that's often unilateral (on one side of the head), in the same area may originate behind the eyes and is pulsatile and unrelenting. Often they can be preceded by a migraine prodrome (a smell, a taste, a flash of light, or some other indication that the migraine is about to happen). They may last in some people for minutes and some people hours. Often common analgesics or over-the-counter pain relievers are of no effect and even anti-migraine drugs many times do not work.

Although the vascular connection with classical migraines is well established in the literature, the actual cause and effect is not. From a chiropractic perspective this is why many migraine medications such as Inderal, Imetrex and Fiorocet have little or no effect in some sufferers.

I, as a well-established educated chiropractor on the subject of headaches, identify most patients who claim they have migraines as not having true migraines, but severe and incapacitating headaches that may have some migraine like qualities. Many people just refer to very severe headache as migraine regardless of its true nature.

Many times migraine headaches can be caused by irritation, pinching or choking of the upper cervical nerves that supply the musculature of the neck and head. Sometimes, migraines can be caused by pinching or choking of the lower neck nerves which supply the arms secondarily causing spasm and pressure of the rear neck muscles, also known as cervicogenic headache.

In my clinical experience, chiropractic has been shown to be vastly effective in many cases of headache where all other methods have failed including drug therapy. Patients undergo a series of chiropractic adjustments or manipulations often coupled with different types of phsio therapies, such as moist heat and ultrasound. After this is done repeatedly for a short period of time (it has a cumulative effect) it can unchoke or reduce the irritation of the cervical nerves that had caused the headache.

When a patient comes to our office, they are given a thorough and comprehensive evaluation, not just about the headache symptoms and signs, but also about their life style, their history, their nutrition and all of the factors that have some bearing on their health. After a proper diagnosis has been made, the cause has been found, and the patient is found to be a patient that will benefit from chiropractic care, they are given a custom tailored treatment plan with a beginning and end.

As the Suburban Chiropractic Center, myself and Dr. Kretz have gotten excellent clinical result in cases of unrelenting migraine headache. Although we can't help every single migraine sufferer, the vast majority of those that have been helped by no other methods have found relief with chiropractic care.

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