Head Cases: Studies Show Headache Reduction, Other Benefits
By Dr. Molly Casey
Reading literature and sifting through what’s what in the world of science can sometimes give me a headache. I recently did exactly that in order to provide a peek at what chiropractic can do for those who suffer from, wait for it ... headaches. I consistently see patients who deal with headaches regularly, meaning numerous times on a weekly basis. Honestly, I can’t imagine suffering through life that way. Fortunately, I see the quality of life change dramatically for my patients after they begin chiropractic care. So I thought I’d share some of the successes in documented papers that provide examples of what I see every day in practice. It shows rather conclusively there is a very non-invasive, drugless way to promote a way out from that ache in your head -- and other ailments, too.
World Health Organization and Headaches
The World Health Organization (WHO)* says headaches are the most common disorder of the nervous system and they are underestimated, under-recognized and undertreated. WHO estimates at least half of the adult population has had a headache in the last year. Headache disorders, which are characterized by recurrent headache, are associated with personal and societal burdens of pain, disability, damaged quality of life, and financial cost.
A case study is an empirical analysis -- recorded observations through a specific process -- of a given subject. The case studies I read over were of women who dealt with headaches and chiropractic adjustments were the treatment modality.
Case study 1: This was particularly interesting because this subject had headaches, vomiting, dizziness, along with light sensitivity and temporary vision loss due to a condition called Arnold-Chiari Malformation Type 1. This is a condition in which a portion of the cerebellum (the brain) extends down outside of the skull. After the third chiropractic adjustment, the subject’s headaches and dizziness were gone through a three-month follow-up. The most amazing part of this story is yet to come. I frequently write that chiropractic is not about pain or symptom relief but about health and wellness, and many other resolutions to health issues occur after patients start getting adjusted. This was such an example. In 2005, this subject’s tests revealed cerebellar tonsils (a portion of the brain) that were 5 mm outside of the skull (this qualified her for the diagnosis); in 2013, after chiropractic care, the tests revealed the cerebellar tonsils were only 3 mm outside the skull. She was no longer classified to fit the prior diagnosis. I am not saying this study proves it can reverse this condition, but it is a very interesting review.
Case study 2: This patient, 39, experienced migraines two to three times per week and also had essential tremors. Immediately following her initial chiropractic treatments, she noticed improvements with both the tremors and migraines. After a four-month follow up there was lasting improvement.
Case study 3: A 52-year-old woman had been experiencing long-term migraines and frequently associated nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity. She began chiropractic care and at the six-month follow-up she was experiencing no headaches. This patient reports no other lifestyle changes.
If you’ve read any of my work you know I’m frequently writing about how chiropractic allows your body’s communication system (the central nervous system) to run without interference. The WHO says headaches are the most common nervous system disorder. What does your gut tell you, do you think that chiropractic just based on common sense could help you or someone you know suffer a little less? Headaches are common occurrence for many and we at The Joint want to help improve the quality of your life and decrease suffering. Come on in and let us help you!
*WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations concerned with international public health.
1. .J Chiropr Med 2014 Sep;13(3):192-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2014.07.004. Chiropractic care for headaches and dizziness of a 34 year old woman previously diagnosed with Arnold-Chiari malformation type 1. Sergent AW, Cogano GP.
2. J Chiropr Med 2012 Jun;11(2):121-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2011.10.006. Chiropractic management of essential tremor and migraine: a case report. Ubbard TA, Kane JD
3. J Chiropr Med 2011 Sep;10(3):189-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Aug 6. Chiropractic spinal manipulation treatment of migraine headache of 40 year duration using Gonstead method: a case study. Chaibi A, Tuchin PI.
Dr. Molly Casey is a Doctor of Chiropractic who practices in the Los Angeles area. She works twice a week at The Joint’s Glendale, CA clinic.