The short answer is yes, chiropractic care may relieve migraines. (I know it’s tough to find online material that takes a definitive stance on this.) If you’re reading this, you or a loved one likely knows the pain all too well. You’ve left work in mind-numbing pain. Your wife spends many days in bed, unable to open her eyes to the light, too nauseous to move.
In my experience, chiropractic care is a strong supplement to a migraine-treatment regimen. To address this often debilitating condition that affects 12 percent of Americans, we must first understand its causes.
How a chiropractor may ease your migraine pain
Chiropractic care relieves tension and corrects spinal misalignments, which often aggravate nerves and constrict blood flow to the neck and head. It’s a safe, non-invasive alternative to potentially addictive prescription medications, often given to ease such severe pain.
Problem: Misaligned vertebrae aggravate nerves and misfire pain signals to the brain.
Solution: Realignment restores proper nervous system function.
Problem: Muscle tension in the upper back, neck and head causes migraines and headaches.
Solution: Therapy eases tension.
Problem: Restricted blood flow deprives the neck and head of oxygen and nutrients.
Solution: Treatment decompresses blood vessels.
A variety of medical conditions cause migraines and chronic headaches. Some experts believe multidisciplinary care may be the best course for the many complex causes of migraines. In addition to chiropractic care, this may include physical therapy, massage, exercise, relaxation and meditation, stress management, diet, and even aromatherapy.
Chiropractic therapy positively affects every bodily function, using hundreds of techniques to correct the spine, joints and muscles to address individual vertebrae responsible for channeling nervous system activities. A chiropractor also will work with you to identify and address your individual migraine triggers.
10 painful facts about migraines
- Migraines affect more women than men (18% of women and 6% of men report regular attacks).
- Roughly 90% of sufferers have a family history of migraines.
- Chronic migraines are the sixth most disabling illness worldwide.
- 90% cannot work or complete routine tasks during an acute attack (more than 150 million sick days associated with migraines amount to roughly $36 billion in lost productivity each year).
- Migraines lead to more than 1 million ER visits annually.
- They’re most common between ages 18 and 44.
- More than 4 million Americans report at least 15 migraine attacks per month.
- One in four sufferers report visual disturbances (auras) during an attack.
- Migraines can include many other disabling symptoms without head pain, including nausea and vomiting, hypersensitivity, and numbness of the extremities or face.
- Severe symptoms may last up to three days.
(Source: Migraine Research Foundation.)