Headaches and Chiropractic
Researches at Duke University found that chiropractic adjustments resolved in almost immediate improvement in patients with tension headaches. These patients suffer significantly fewer side effects and had longer-lasting relief than a commonly prescribed medication. In addition, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that chiropractic patients had sustained the therapeutic benefit four weeks after they had stopped chiropractic care in comparison to patients who received medication.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that in one study, 22% of those who received chiropractic care reported more than 90% reduction of migraine attacks. Also, 49% reported a significant reduction of the intensity of each migraine. In another study, one group was randomly assigned to receive spinal manipulation, a daily medication, or a combination of both. Spinal manipulation worked as well as the medication in reducing migraines and had fewer side effects. Other studies show that chiropractic care worked as well as medication in preventing tension and migraine headaches.
Types of Headaches
• Tension Headaches are the most common type of headache. A tension headache is caused by muscle tightness of the neck, face and scalp. This type of headache is usually mild, steady and described as band-like around the head. Episodes are associated with fatigues, stress, depression and muscle spasms of the neck and upper back.
• Sinus Headaches affect the area above the eyes (frontal sinuses) or below the eyes (maxillary sinuses). They often occur after an upper respiratory infection which blocks the sinuses which causes pain and tenderness. Symptoms are often worse when bending forward or laying down. This type of headache is often confused with a tension head or migraine.
• Migraine Headaches are recurring attacks that patients describe as a pulsing pain often on one side of the head or behind their eye. Migraine episodes can last from hours to days, cause nausea or sensitivity to light and sound. Triggers range from certain foods to anxiety to hormonal changes. They are more common in women, and are often preceded by flashing lights or zigzag lines in vision. Migraines used to be considered vascular in nature, but recent research shows that they are neurological in origin, related to a wave of nerve cell activity that sweeps across the brain.
• Cluster Headaches typically occurs on one side of the head or around the eyes. A cluster headache typically does not last very long and is more common in men. As the name implies, they occur in a series or a group. Common symptoms are teasing of the eyes, nasal congestion, flushed face and a constricted pupil on the side of the headache.