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Chiropractic Management of Migraine Headache

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Chiropractic Management of Migraine Headache

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Just as puzzles are completed piece by piece, the evidence for the positive effects of chiropractic care for migraines is slowly filling in and revealing a clearer picture. That picture depicts a more meaningful role for chiropractic care in both the prevention and treatment of migraine headache. A recent Norwegian systematic review of manual therapies for migraine prevention (4 Feb 2011) concluded that chiropractic spinal manipulation and some other conservative interventions appear to be equal to medications (propranolol & topiramate) in their ability to prevent migraines.

Although most of the published research supporting chiropractic treatment of migraine is based upon case reports, there have been other studies including a limited number of randomized clinical trials. A previous 2001 systematic review by Bronfort et. al. concluded that “SMT appears to have a better effect than massage for cervicogenic headache. It also appears that SMT has an effect comparable to commonly used first-line prophylactic prescription medications for tension-type headache and migraine headache. This conclusion rests upon a few trials of adequate methodological quality. Before any firm conclusions can be drawn, further testing should be done in rigorously designed, executed, and analyzed trials with follow-up periods of sufficient length.” Since this review favorable research continues to build. There is a great need for the profession to provide stronger support for research because the stronger studies are the most needed and the most costly.

Read the Full Text at: ChiroACCESS

You will find many more articles like this at our
Headache and Chiropractic Page

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.


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  2. karl February 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    This is one of the very important reasons chiropractic in countries abroad is very important. Many foreign countries especially europe have social health care programs that are very interested in effective/efficient health care. There’s a lot of research coming from Denmark, Norway, Canada, Australia and Sweden. They are less influenced by special interests and big pharma.

  3. LJM February 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    As a chiropractor, I have seen cases where patients come in living on on medication, and after treatment they no long have headaches.

  4. Daniel Bockmann, DC February 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Finally! I have been looking for an online resource that keeps up with new research studies regarding Chiropractic! Our profession needs to perform more research in our field than is currently being done, but I’m very glad your site is keeping up with the latest studies, and making them readily available to us.

    Well done! Your Chiropractic resource is exactly what our profession needs to grow!


    Daniel Bockmann, DC

  5. Dr. Dolly Garnecki (@drdolly) February 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I’ve also worked with patients who’ve spent thousands of dollars on prescription medications, spinal injections, and other invasive treatment….only to have severe migraines that plagued them for years resolve after a few chiropractic treatments. Thanks for posting these resources on studies!

  6. Chiropractor Lynnwood March 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I myself have had great relief from headaches with chiropractic care and have helped many patients who suffer from headaches.

    Still, I feel that the results that I get in practice are mixed. I feel that there is quite an art to headache care, that headaches are often combination type headaches, and that I have a lot to learn about headaches.

    Does anyone know of any headache specific seminars or books that would be clinically helpful?

    RESPONSE from Frank:

    Dr. Gargan,

    My favorite resource on headaches is Howard Vernon, D.C. He is the research director for CMCC. I’m not sure if he provides classes on management, but he’s be the person to ask.

  7. Brian Seitz, DC April 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    This blog is a great resource! With regards to headache, I find the majority of patients have a cervicogenic component. This does not mean all respond to manipulation only. Some need additional care such as Graston type techniques do address underlying fibrosis, or DTM or other care for spasm, etc. Still, WE are the type of providers best suited for the management of MOST headaches!

  8. I get excellent results with both migraines and tension headaches by combining CMT with soft tissue treatment of the suboccipital muscles. I usually find one or two exquisitely tender spots in the suboccipitals for headche sufferers.

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