An Expert Report About Headaches, Massage, and Manual Therapy

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

In some circles of the healthcare world, there has remained a controversy about how effective therapies like spinal manipulation (chiropractic) or manual therapy (similar to some massage techniques) can be in the treatment of headaches. This controversy is specifically related to tension-type headaches.

Those of us that have been treating headaches, neck pain, back pain, and musculoskeletal issues for years using these treatment protocols know that there really is no controversy. I’ve seen migraines that have been persistent and life-altering for decades disappear after just a week or two of treatment. It about knocked me out the first time or two.

Now, I’ve just come to expect it and am actually surprised and shocked if a headache or migraine DOESN’T go away after some consistent treatment.

So, again, it’s no surprise to us, but that’s just anecdotal and the proof of research is always needed when you are aiming to truly make a difference and a dent in a very stubborn and “slow-to-adopt-new-ideas” medical industry.

In that spirit, let’s take a look at this research paper.

Why They Did It

The authors wanted to try to assess how people suffering from tension-type headaches would respond, on average, to manual therapy techniques.

How They Did It

  • There were four groups that the participants were split into.
  • The four groups were as follows:
    1. suboccipital inhibitory pressure
    2. suboccipital spinal manipulation
    3. a combination of the two
    4. control group
  • The SF-12 Questionnaire was used to assess the quality of life and was taken at the beginning of treatment to obtain a starting baseline score. It was also taken at the end of treatment and was again taken a full month following the end of the treatment protocol.
  • The patients underwent a four-week treatment protocol.

What They Found

  • The suboccipital inhibition group had a significant improvement.
  • All groups, except for the control group, improved in regards to pain, physical, and social functioning.
  • The combined group showed “improved vitality” and the two treatments involving manipulation also had improved “mental health.”

Wrap It Up

“All three treatments were effective at changing different dimensions of quality of life, but the combined treatment showed the most change. The results support the effectiveness of treatments applied to the suboccipital region for patients with tension-type headaches.”

Espi-Lopez GV, et al. “Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension-type headache? A randomized controlled trial.” Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2016 Feb 29.

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY!

Research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising your general, overall level of health! Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

And….SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!! We cannot make a difference without your help.

Till next time……

The Amarillo Chiropractor Blog is written by Dr. Jeff Williams.

Amarillo TX Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic provides customized chiropractic care to the Amarillo TX, Canyon TX, Pampa TX, Happy TX, White Deer TX, Dumas TX, Groom TX, Conway TX, Panhandle TX, Claude TX, Clarendon TX, Borger TX, Tulia TX, Hereford TX, Fritch TX, Bushland TX, and Vega TX communities.

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