We commonly see headaches in chiropractic offices. Headaches and migraines of all origins and some types are absolutely nothing new for a Doctor of Chiropractic. For some reason, the message doesn’t seem to have reached the general public just yet. However, in my experience, chiropractic is extremely effective for tension headaches, migraines, and cervicogenic headaches. It is my estimate that we are significantly effective for approximately 80% of these types of headaches. Ten percent or so don’t necessarily go away but get much better. Then there is another 10% or so that we just can’t seem to affect.
I would say that those are pretty great odds.
In fact, I will share a couple of quick stories with you. When I first started in practice even I wasn’t completely sure how effective we were for headaches. My first year in practice I had a patient come in who had had life-long debilitating headaches. She had nuclear bone scans and injections to her suboccipital region. She had never been to a chiropractor before and decided to give it a try. I simply did the things that I was taught in school and crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Well, the best happened.
After about two weeks, she had no more headaches. Her enjoyment of life was back and she was done being interrupted by these terrible headaches every single week. As many patients do, she fell out of treatment when she started feeling better. However, I ran into her about a year afterword and asked her if she had started having headaches again. She said that she had not and that I had changed her entire life for the better. That’s pretty powerful stuff right there.
More recently, a really good friend of mine came to see me in the office. Although I’ve known her for almost 20 years, she’d never been to see me for chiropractic treatment. She shared with me that she has migraines 2 to 3 times a week. These headaches are so severe that many times she would be laying on the floor and throwing up from time to time. Two to three times a week! Can you imagine?
So I started treating her and very quickly her headaches just disappeared. Completely. Again, sometimes when pain disappears patients disappear as well. She did great for three months without a headache. I recently saw her again and they had started to return three months later but one treatment got her back on track and, to my knowledge, she is back to normal again. Can you imagine how much her life has improved now that the burden of those migraines have been lifted? Again, that’s powerful.
Remember: pain really can change a person but….so can the absence of pain!
Graphic from Positive Health Wellness
Now let’s get on with the research for this week.
Why they did it
Although there have been lots of studies that prove the impact of manual therapy and spinal mobilization for frequency and intensity of pain suffered from tension type headaches, there have been no studies in regards to the effectiveness of the same therapies for the quality of life for the people suffering from them.
The authors of this paper wished to focus on patient quality of life.
How they did it
- The study was a randomized, single blinded, controlled clinical trial.
- Comprised of 62 women and 14 men.
- Aged between 65 years old all the way down to 18 years old.
- All subjects suffered from chronic tension type headaches or episodic tension type headaches.
- The subjects were categorized into four separate groups: suboccipital inhibitory pressure, suboccipital spinal manipulation, a combination of the two together, and then a control group.
- An SF–12 questionnaire was used to help assess the subjects’ quality of life at both the beginning of treatment, the ending of the treatment, as well as at the one month follow-up.
What they found
- The suboccipital inhibition group improved significantly in their quality of life at the one month mark as well as improvements in moderate physical activities.
- Not the control group, but all other treatment groups had an improvement in physical activities, pain, and social functioning at the one month mark.
- After treatment, as well as that the one month mark, the combined treatment category had improved vitality.
- Following treatment and at the one-month mark, both groups that had manipulation to the sub occipital region also showed improved mental health.
Wrap it up
All three therapy approaches showed significant effectiveness toward improving the quality of life, however the combined treatment therapy had the most dramatic change for the good.
In short, manual therapy techniques and manipulation applied to the sub occipital region for four weeks or more showed great improvement and in effectiveness for several aspects that measure the quality of life of a patient having suffered from 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.
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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.
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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, Canyon, Pampa, Happy, White Deer, Dumas, Groom, Conway, Panhandle, Claude, Clarendon, Borger, Tulia, Hereford, Fritch, Bushland, and Vega communities.
Visit our main website at www.amarillochiropractor.com for customized Chiropractic in Amarillo TX.
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by Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
Chiropractor in Amarillo
Creek Stone Integrated Care