Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Headaches… Research Keeps Proving Chiropractic Right

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cleopatra, Moses, and Hippocrates have all been associated with headaches. In fact, archaeological findings have shown evidence of trepanation (cutting a hole in the skull to relieve pressure) dating back to 7,000BC. Is seems as long as humans have been on this planet, there have been headaches. There are over 200 types of headache, and the causes range from harmless to life-threatening. Of the many types of headache, all can be classified into 13 groups as noted in ICDH-2(2004). Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – is an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. A report released by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication. Also, a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.

Every day, chiropractors hear similar stories from hundreds of people who have been suffering for years with pain and are at their wits end because the only thing offered to them by their physicians and specialists are more drugs. Many people think headaches are normal and take over-the-counter or prescription drugs to relieve the pain. But these drugs only dull the pain, they don’t treat the cause, which is why the headache returns.

In addition to chronic headaches, chiropractic care is also effective in treating tension headaches. A recent study released by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research finds that individuals undergoing chiropractic therapy showed sustained reduction in headache frequency and severity compared with patients who took the drug amitriptyline, a commonly prescribed medication for tension headaches. The conclusion of the study shows that chiropractic is not actually a therapy or treatment, but rather gets to the cause of the problem, thus allowing the body to effect a correction that lasts beyond actual care.

While many people associate chiropractic care as a treatment for bad backs, there is growing documentation that chiropractic is also effective in the treatment of cervicogenic headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association reports that 14 percent of the public who see chiropractors presently go for headaches. However, much of the general public continues to use the traditional medical practitioner route for headache treatment, with little success. The problem rests in the six misconceptions about headache relief. They are listed below, followed by an explanation:

  1. Over-The-Counter Medications Treat The Cause Of Your Headache. – Drugs primarily numb the pain. If these drugs treated the real cause, your headaches would go away permanently. None of us were born with too few Advil in our blood. A lack of drugs is not the cause.
  2. Headache Medication Can’t Harm You. – On the contrary, drugs can cause side effects that can be far worse than the headache pain you’re trying to relieve.
  3. Stress Causes Headaches. – Although stress is a part of life, it is not the cause of headaches. Rather, it’s how your body adapts to stress that affects your health. Chiropractic care can provide ways to help you increase your body’s ability to adapt to stress of any kind.
  4. Headaches Go Away On Their Own. – Without treating the cause, or root of the problem, they won’t.
  5. All Doctors Know How To Treat Headaches. – If this were true, no one would suffer from headaches. Chiropractors offer natural alternatives that do not involve drugs or invasive treatments.
  6. Your Problem Is Always Where Your Pain Is. – In fact, not all headaches originate in the head. For instance, a person who suffered a neck injury at some point in their life, whether from a car accident, playing sports, or a fall as a child, could suffer head pain later on. These are called cervicogenic headaches because they result from tension of the neck and head muscles.

Although headaches come in many shapes, forms, and causes, wouldn’t you prefer to address the underlying cause instead of masking the symptoms? Chiropractic care has proven a valuable and safe alternative to traditional medicine that should be a part of any treatment plan as one of the first lines of defense when addressing these conditions. Those of you who have read my blog and/or know me, understand that I’m NOT an anti-med guy. I readily admit and embrace my medical counterparts as we attempt to help our patients achieve better outcomes from their health care. All I’m asking is that you determine your priorities and goals… weigh your pros and cons. If there is a treatment option that has fewer side effects and risks, less overall cost, and better outcomes… why would you not explore that option?

If you or someone you know suffers with headaches, please tell them to choose chiropractic as one of their first options rather than their last.

– Dr. Gray

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14 Responses to “Headaches… Research Keeps Proving Chiropractic Right”

  1. I’m new to chiropractic care and have little idea about the advantage and benefits of it. I’m glad that you brought up how chiropractors can help in treating headache and the likes. Thanks.

  2. Glad to have visited the site. Never thought I would enjoy it this much upon reading through it. And I got so many great points. Great job. Thanks for sharing this hope to see the next update soon.

  3. As a chiropractor, we see patients as a whole, functioning system. A system that needs maintenance. An adjustment here, a stretch there, an exercise to stabalize a weak area. When injured, our bodies are like a truck stuck in the mud, it can get itself out, it just needs a little help sometimes. That is what chiropractors are trained to do.

  4. chiropractors treats their patients through the power of hands.Chiropractic therapy focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure mainly the spine and the body’s function. Doctors of chiropractic, who are also called chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, mostly use a type of hands-on therapy called manipulation (or adjustment). Chiropractic therapy is used most often to treat musculoskeletal conditions problems with the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.

    • A recent study released by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research finds that individuals undergoing chiropractic therapy showed sustained reduction in headache frequency and severity compared with patients who took the drug amitriptyline, a commonly prescribed medication for tension headaches.

    • The chiropractic care is also effective in treating tension headaches. A recent study released by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research finds that individuals undergoing chiropractic therapy showed sustained reduction in headache frequency and severity compared with patients who took the drug amitriptyline.

  5. kavin said

    read the information about Chiropractic Education you will get more and more help from this post.

  6. Headaches is our number one reason why women come into our practice. This was a very interesting read for me.
    Thanks!

  7. Headaches are most commonly lessened with medications. It is important for us to know that we need to take care of our bodies and listen to it when it “talks.”

  8. Headaches are most commonly lessened with medications. It is important for us to know that we need to take care of our bodies and listen to it when it “talks.”

  9. Tension headaches is really a pain, I for one experience it and I do not want to ingest pain relievers as I wanted it to be cured in a more natural way like stretching .

  10. Good article, chiropractic is one of the best thing headache sufferes should do.

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