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Intractable Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy

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Intractable Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy

The Chiro.Org Blog

SOURCE:   Comp Ther Clin Prac 2009 (Nov); 15 (4): 192–197

Joel Alcantara, D.C. and Martine Cossette, D.C.

International Chiropractic Pediatric Association,
327 North Middletown Dr,
Media, PA, USA

A 24 yr-old pregnant patient presented with chronic migraine headaches, which she had since age of 12. Previous care included osteopathy, physical therapy, medications and massage with unsuccessful outcome. Her medical care had consisted of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication with codeine, at the maximum amount permitted during a pregnancy (i.e., 1000mg per day) as well as caffeine intake through coffee to potentiate the medication. This resulted in only minor and temporary relief.

The intensity of her migraine headaches had significantly reduced following the first three visits. Her pain rating (on a 1-10 scale, with 1= no pain, and 10 being the worst pain) reduced from an 8-9/10 severity to a 2/10 severity. The frequency of her headaches reduced from once daily to once every 3 days. This resulted in self-withdrawal and decreased dependence on the pain medication.

Unfortunately, the abstract does not mention patient progress beyond the 3rd visit, and we do not have access to the full-text article, but I will contact the author and ask about further progress in this case.

Meanwhile, You can read the full abstract right here.

About the Author:

I was introduced to Chiro.Org in early 1996, where my friend Joe Garolis helped me learn HTML, the "mark-up language" for websites. We have been fortunate that journals like JMPT have given us permission to reproduce some early important articles in Full-Text format. Maintaining the Org website has been, and remains, my favorite hobby.


  1. Todd Lloyd, DC January 20, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I always hear from researchers that case studies aren’t good enough evidence. But how can you beat a good story like this? With enough case studies being published, maybe that will make people take more notice, and maybe even spur some full-time researchers to do more prospective randomized studies.

  2. Graeme Gibson, D.C. January 21, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Dr. Frank and Dr. Lloyd,

    If medicine had these results it would be touted as a possible cure for all headaches. As for the skeptics who would like to refute based on anecdotal evidence, I simply ask if their would ever be enough evidence for them to be happy?(Thanks Bill Esteb.)

    If the solution isn’t effective and toxic to the body it can’t be of use, right? That seems to be the status quo for the majority of headache medications, and the overall view I see from the headache sufferers who enter my office(and leave feeling great.)

    Let’s tell our patients about this.

  3. Frank M. Painter, D.C. January 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Case studies are low in the hierarchy of evidence, but it’s still “good enough” to warrant professional interest, and to stimulate further study.

    Meanwhile, there already are studies that have demonstrated that chiropractic provides dramatic improvements with migraines, and provides results superior to standard medications commonly prerscribed for migraine.

    Other trials have shown chiropractic provides significant results for chronic cervicogenic headache and for chronic tension-type headaches.

    The jury is still out on whether these studies will impress the nay-sayers, or help them to reassess their limited points of view.

    And finally…when they’ve already tried other medical nostrums with unsatisfactory results, and chiropractic care helps them, over and over, then…who cares what anyone else says? We answer to our patients, not to claims people or researchers and their mice.

  4. Lenox Massage January 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I am a massage therapist, a chiropractic patient, and great believer and supporter of all that you do. It’s sad that results and the lives you change each day are not enough to make the public believers. All of my massage clients are chiropractic patients and I wouldn’t want it any other way, Sonya

  5. Chiropractor Rockledge January 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Great point Todd.

    I love patients that come into my office and they had someone tell them the story of a testimonial we had in our office

  6. Ken February 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    This case study not only reinforces how chiropractic adjustments can help relieve the pain of persistent migraine headaches, but also that a chiropractic solution is safe for an expectant mother during pregnancy. Good stuff! We have been collecting testimonials from our Dr. Hunziker’s patients, and share them on his website: Thank you for sharing.

  7. These migraines appear to me cervicogenic. I’ve also found that many “migraines” are really tension headaches, centered in the suboccipital muscles, and responding well to soft tissue treatments.

  8. woodinville chiropractor July 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Even armed with testimonials and research, its hard to try to convince a “non believer” or “naysayer”. They already have it in their very limited minds the way they would like to believe it. I say, we just keep true to what we know to be true and serve the masses.

  9. Cathryn Mohammed October 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Awesome. Thanks for writing this. Its always great to see someone educate the world.

  10. MS November 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I suffered from migraines for years before someone told me to try chiropractic. My migraines were so severe that I was forced to lay bedridden for days. I saw doctors who prescribed pills and injections. Some gave me temporary relief, while most of them were ineffective. Seeing a chiropractor was the best medical decision I’ve ever made. It’s affordable, safe, and keeping me migraine free. I swear by chiropractic and would recommend it to anyone who suffers from migraines.

  11. Seattle Chiropractor November 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Adjusting my patients throughout their pregnancy, thus ensuring them a healthier pregnancy and easier labor and delivery is one of the most gratifying parts of my job as a healer.

  12. Baltimore Chiropractor May 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I have numerous patients that get treated through their pregnancy. I always get the “is it safe” question, of course once I refer them to read about it they are statisfied that they have made the decision on their own, which is important.

  13. I adjust pregnant Mommas from conception to contraction, with incredible results. It is safer than any drugs, of course, so I urge all pregnant Mommas to get a chiropracatic check up before taking any medications. I wish they taught more of this in schools!

  14. We have seen many patients getting treated before, during and after pregnancy. It is important to provide the healthiest environment for mother and baby. It’s provides satisfaction when you are able to offer this service

  15. Woodbury Chiropractor March 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Anybody who suffers with headaches should be in a chiropractic practice.

  16. Tara October 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Absolutely visit a chiropractor! Pregnant women need the most possible health!

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