15 years ago, some researchers had some took a large group of people who were suffering from migraine headaches. Only, this group of people weren’t just people who happen to have an occasional bad day.
If you suffer from headaches, picture this: You have a migraine headache twice a week, and when this migraine happens, you are disabled from doing anything for a full 24 hours. They’re severe. They give you brain fog. You have to retreat to a dark, quiet place because if you don’t, the pounding in your head grows worse and worse. You might feel nauseous. You might feel like vomiting. With this kind of migraine headache, you certainly can’t work. There’s no way you can concentrate with this kind of brain fog and pain going on. You think of calling in sick, but your job is in danger because you’ve used up your sick time too muck already this year.
The group that these researchers were following were taking on average 20 pills per month each to either reduce their pain, or to prevent more migraines from happening. It’s my feeling that it’s okay to take a pain killer once in a while, for occasional pain, but when it becomes long-term use, this is a dangerous situation for you to be in.
About 12% of us over 15 years old experience migraine headaches. Migraines are responsible for $17 Billion in healthcare costs every year in the United States.
If you have migraine headaches, you might be experiencing an aura. An aura is some kind of neurological disturbance that happens before (prodrome), during, or after a migraine headache. You might experience visual distrubances, or feel numbness one side of your body. You could have trouble speaking, or have other kinds of weaknesses during an aura. An aura usually happens on one side of your body or one half of your field of vision. They say that when you have a prodrome that comes before a migraine, you have a “cortical spreading depression” where the blood flow to the brain becomes temporarily starved. The starved blood flow spreads slowly across the surface of your brain, and the brain has a temporary spontaneous excitation of the neurons in the same area. When there’s a spreading depression across your occipital cortex, for example, neurons for you vision. This makes the flashy, zig zaggy lights that travel across your field of view.
So, these researchers followed this group of migraine sufferers for 2 months with their regular treatment involving popping 20 pills a month. After 2 months, they started giving them chiropractic care, fixing their upper neck. They continued keeping a diary of their migraines, and at the end of the 2 months of treatment, they stopped the chiropractic care and tracked them for another 2 months.
At the end of the 6 months of following these patients around, here’s what they say you can expect with chiropractic care if you have migraines.
- You’ll have fewer episodes of migraine headaches
- When you get them, they will be shorter.
- You’ll be taking about half the medications that you were taking before.
When the study was done, they found that the people in the study dropped their medication use from 21 pills a month to about 10. If you think about this from both a personal level and at a public health level, this is tremendously important. In your personal life, when you take fewer medications, Your liver and kidneys will suffer less damage.
All it takes for you to enjoy these benefits is a trip to your local chiropractor.
Todd Lloyd, DC
chiropractor in San Francisco.
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