According to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraines. The impact of migraines on the American economy in terms of medical costs, lost work days, and decreased productivity is estimated to be $20 billion annually.
Migraines aren’t simply bad headaches. They can be accompanied by visual disturbances, sensitivity to light or noise, fatigue, poor concentration, and mood changes. The headache pain generally lasts about 24 hours, but the entire migraine episode may take two to three days from beginning to end.
There is no known cure for migraines. Currently, the available treatments can only reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of the headaches when they occur. The AMF describes a migraine as an inherited neurological disorder that can happen spontaneously or be activated by specific triggers.
Recent research has shown the effectiveness of chiropractic techniques in helping alleviate the headache pain. One study showed that drug therapy and chiropractic treatments were both effective in reducing pain in about half of the patients. However, the group receiving chiropractic treatments continued showing benefits a month later but half of the drug therapy group had regressed.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported on a study in which 127 participants who received two months of chiropractic treatment said they experienced noticeable improvements in the frequency and duration of migraines when compared to the control group. Twenty-two percent reported more than 90 percent reduction of migraines.
Migraine sufferers can benefit from various treatments such as ultrasound in combination with deep tissue massage to relax painful muscle spasms. Some chiropractors believe a majority of headaches are related to alignment issues so they use spinal manipulation to restore blood flow and proper nerve conduction. Regular adjustments help keep the spine and cervical bones aligned properly.
Another treatment that has helped migraine sufferers is acupuncture, which has been used for centuries to reduce and relieve chronic pain. The Mayo Clinic reports that acupuncture helps to reduce pain during a migraine attack and essentially reduces subsequent migraines.
Chiropractors have also helped clients determine what their triggers are, which can include alcohol, caffeine, light conditions, fatigue, and even certain odors. Your practitioner can also help develop strategies to avoid your particular triggers.
The American Headache Society offers lifestyle recommendations for those suffering with migraines such as getting ample sleep, eating well, regular exercise, drinking enough water, limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol, and reducing stress. A chiropractor can help clients develop a wellness strategy that promotes overall good heath as well as reduce the frequency of migraines.