New study shows why migraine sufferers get relief through chiropractic
Migraines are a phenomenon caused by the vascular contraction and then relaxation within the brain. They can be quite incapacitating and many sufferers often experience floaters or other types of prodromal (warnings of a pending onset) before the actual headache occurs.
Many sufferers looking for a drugless solution are turning to chiropractors to get relief. Often, they visit the chiropractor for another health problem and never realized that the tension created by mechanical malfunction in the back, legs or shoulders may actually be the reason they suffer as much as they do.
The typical physician approach includes medication which blunts the episodes, however, they still are subject to many triggers that can include food allergies, TMJ and probably the most under reported trigger of mechanical dysfunction.
Mechanical malfunction of the segments in the spine and the soft tissues surrounding the joints if asymmetrical is known to play a part in tension headaches, but it is also common in migraines and vertigo as well.
In a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (1), researchers found that migraine sufferers had increased muscle stiffness and myofascial trigger points in their right sternocleidomastoid and right trapezius neck muscles when compared to headache-free patients.
Myofascial trigger points create a “cycle of pain” in which your migraine headache causes you tense your neck muscles, which leads to knots, which further forces you to constrict your muscles, leading to even more headaches. How can you break this cycle? Through regular spinal manipulations, the use of myofascial release treatment, instrument assisted soft tissue methods such as Graston Technique, and strengthening exercises a chiropractor may be able to provide you migraine relief, if not take your head pain away entirely (2).
It is important to note that you must look at this condition holistically (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holistic_health), since the reason behind the migraines may actually be located in an area other than your neck and head. For example, problems in the pelvis may create tension into the back of the skull, acting as a trigger for the headache. Many people who have been frustrated by treatments that failed to “work” are often diagnosed improperly which is leading to symptomatic relief only, instead of a marked long lasting improvement. Most chiropractors take a holistic approach instead of just looking at the symptoms, which is probably why patients who utilize the services of a chiropractor often have fewer headaches, while some may experience an almost total resolution of the condition.
1. Tali D, et al. Upper cervical mobility, posture and myofascial trigger points in subjects with episodic migraine: Case control study. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 2014.
2. Jahangiri JN, Vatankhah N, and Baradaran HR. Reduction of Current Migraine Headache Pain Following Neck Massage and Spinal Manipulation. Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork 2012; 5(1): 5-13.
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