People who don’t experience headaches really don’t understand the suffering you go through if you have migraines. The brain fog. The pounding sensitivity to light, noises, or smells. The pain. The lack of focus. The feeling of shutting yourself off from the world. The worry that you will lose your livelihood if you miss work. The detachment from your loved ones.
They make drugs for migraines, you know. Drugs to treat the pain. Drugs to prevent the pain, even. The problem with popping pills is that there are side effects. Even dangerous side effects. The pain killers eat away at your stomach lining. They eat away at your liver or kidneys over time. They mess with your hormone balance even more than the migraines do.
As a matter of fact, when researchers look at certain medications and how they compare to the standard treatment of chiropractic adjustments for migraines, they often lose the medication patients in the study due to intolerance to the medications. If you are suffering from migraine headaches, you probably know that reliance on drugs is not for you.
I was curious what the studies published in peer-reviewed medical literature says about migraine headaches and chiropractic care, so I pulled a book off of my shelf that I know has several landmark studies examining the effectiveness (and efficacy) of chiropractic care for certain conditions.
One of the studies that stuck out to me is this one:
“A Randomized Controlled Trial of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Migraine.” Peter Tuchin, Henry Pollard, and Rod Bonello. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2000;23:91-95
This study took 127 people who, on average, suffered from a migraine that lasts all day, and they got these all day migraines 7 times a month.
Think about that. Being disabled all day. A day full of brain fog where it’s hard to concentrate. A day with pounding pain. A day where you need to cower down in a dark, quiet room so you can suffer in silence.
Then take that day and suffer this way 7 times a month. This is, what, almost twice a week where you can’t do a thing at all! To make it all even more tragic, these people lived this way for 18 years.
Like I said, non-migraine sufferers can’t comprehend this, but if you suffer from migraines, you know what it’s like all too well.
So this study took these people, and had them keep a journal of their headaches for 2 month. No treatment. Then, for two months after that, they got chiropractic care. In the final two months, care stopped, and they continued with their diaries.
What they found with only 2 months of treatment was this: “Migraine patients treated with manipulation had statistically significant reductions in disability hours and duration of migraines.”
Patients having chiropractic care had fewer migraines, and when they actually got them, they didn’t last as long. And in a smaller part, when they got these shorter, rarer headaches, they weren’t as severe.
And here’s something really remarkable. They decreased their medication intake by half. On average before the treatment, each person was taking 21 pills per month. After treatment they were only needing to take 10 pills per month. Many of the patients stopped taking pills altogether during this study.
With today’s concerns about the abuse of prescription pain medications, and our growing population of people who are growing more and more dependent on opioids for pain relief. It’ refreshing to see that the “alternative” to drugs is the safe and effective choice: Chiropractic.
Todd Lloyd, DC
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