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Plastic Surgery For Headaches???

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Plastic Surgery For Headaches???

The Chiro.Org Blog

SOURCE:   Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery 2011 (Feb); 127 (2): 603-8

A Chiro.Org Editorial

Now I’ve heard everything (well. . . maybe). A recent full text article in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery [1] fully describes how plastic surgeons attempt to mimic the common outcome of chiropractic upper cervical adjusting by:

removal of a small segment of the semispinalis capitis muscle and shielding of the nerve with a subcutaneous flap to fully decompress the greater occipital nerve.
(from Page 604) [2]

No mention is made in their celebratory article about the massive expense of this procedure, or the success of chiropractic care (or “spinal manipulation”) for headaches, but then again, these are surgeons, forging ahead, looking for an approach they can call their own. Good for them.

However, Chiropractors developed a non-surgical and cost-effective way to decompress the greater occipital nerve many decades ago, by adjusting the occiput, and by using NIMMO technique to naturally eliminate trigger points of the suboccipital muscles (the myofascial component).

Travell’s 1983 landmark magnum opus on trigger points titled: “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual” clearly identifies the various suboccipital muscles as being primary triggers for several varieties of headache. This Blog, and our Headache and Chiropractic Page have published regularly on the success of chiropractic care for headaches of all sorts. [2-7]

It is unclear what long-term risks are associated with the surgical maiming of these unfortunate individuals, but it is very well understood that there are significant and high-level risks (including death) associated with being put under anesthesia for ANY procedure, and there also significant, and life-threatening risks associated with ANY form of surgery. [8-9]

Every once in a while I am surprised or shocked by reading an article, and this one is no exception. Surgery for headaches??? Give me a break!

It’s a terrible shame that organized medicine opposed chiropractic for so long. [10] This article is a perfect example of the disconnect that exists between medicine and chiropractic, leaving many medical providers and surgeons ignorant about how chiropractic care could help their patients, when conservative medical treatment had failed.

I don’t know if it’s hubris (pride), simple economics, or the bad impressions generated by splinter groups that continue to misinform the public about the training, technical skill, and the research support of our profession. One thing is for sure. We need to spend a lot more time (and money) supporting our National Associations and our research institutions, because we have a big job ahead of us, educating organized medicine about what a boon we could be to them in co-managing the cases they are struggling with.


  1. Five-Year Outcome of Surgical Treatment of Migraine Headaches ~ FULL TEXT
    Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery 2011 (Feb); 127 (2): 603-8

  2. The Headache and Chiropractic Page
    Chiro.Org’s LINKS Section

  3. Are Chiropractors Protecting Patients From Medical Care?
    Chiro.Org’s Blog ~ 5-23-2011

  4. Cervicogenic Headache Revisited
    Chiro.Org’s Blog ~ 5-09-2011

  5. Chiropractic Management of Migraine Headache
    Chiro.Org’s Blog ~ 2-16-2011

  6. Anatomical Connection Found Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Major and the Dura Mater
    Chiro.Org’s Blog ~ 2-02-2011

  7. If Not Chiropractic Care, Then What’s Your Alternative?
    Chiro.Org’s Blog ~ 9-25-2010

  8. Death by Medicine
    LE Magazine March 2004

  9. The Iatrogenic Injury Page
    Chiro.Org’s LINKS Section

  10. Chiropractic Antitrust Suit ~ ilk, et al vs. the AMA, et al
    Court Transcripts

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. John June 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Frank, don’t you know that these conservative measures are only a temporary solution? Surgical correction is permanent.

    hehehe…thanks for the grin John!

  2. Plastic Surgery Grenville SC September 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Totally agree with the first comment for a permanent solution surgical correction is the most logical choice.


    This is an example of the half-million, pitiful spam postings we have rejected since we started the Blog 2 years ago

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