Chiropractic management of Headaches
1. What are headaches and how can they be treated?
"A headache is a pain or discomfort in the head, face, neck, or scalp. Headaches are usually not life-threatening and will go away on their own after you rest for a while."
There are many different kinds of headaches but there two general categories that they fall into. There is primary headache which has no underlying cause and secondary headaches which are caused by an underlying condition.
Primary headaches can be either tension-type (which includes chronic daily headache), migraine, cluster headache or other types like cervicogenic headaches etc. Tension-type headaches make up the majority of primary headaches. Secondary headaches can be divided into three groups; vascular (low blood pressure), infectious (sinusitis) and idiopathic
2. The benefits of chiropractic for headache relief
"A number of studies have examined the effect of chiropractic spinal manipulation on headache, including tension-type and cervicogenic headache. The findings from these studies suggest that spinal manipulation can be an effective treatment option for treating headache."
A study published in 2004 looked at 277 patients with either tension type or cervicitisia (a subtype of migraine) and randomly assigned them into two groups; one receiving spinal manipulation therapy which included 8 sessions over 2 weeks and the other group received conventional medical care consisting of medication and physical therapy needed for the duration of 4 weeks. The researchers found that there was a significantly greater reduction in headache symptoms among the group receiving chiropractic care. These patients also had significant improvements in disability and activities of daily living as well as reduced analgesic intake
In another study published in 2001, researchers looked at 31 patients with tension type headache who were randomly assigned into two groups; one group received spinal manipulation and the other group received placebo or inactive treatment for 8-12 sessions over several months. The researchers found that cervical spine manipulative therapy showed beneficial effects on pain intensity associated with headaches and quality of life while no changes were detected within the non-manipulative intervention group. They concluded that this test provides preliminary evidence regarding positive aspects of cervical spinal manipulative therapy.
3. How to find a good chiropractor near you?
It is important to find a good chiropractor who you can trust for your care. It goes without saying that the chiropractor should have gone through several years of clinical training and be certified by the NBCE. This will ensure that they meet the necessary criteria to provide safe quality care to their patients and also help you select someone who is competent in what they do. Chiropractic care involves adjustments based on different principles than some other forms of manipulation such as Rolfing etc, so it is important that you seek out a practitioner whose primary focus is chiropractic spinal manipulation rather than holistic medicine
4. Tips on what to expect during your first visit with a chiropractor
Most practices operate on a "walk-in basis", but call ahead or check office hours if that is important to you. Many will allow you to arrive early for your first visit so they can get some background information from you about your health history as well as answer any questions that you may have regarding treatment If there are x-rays needed then they should do it right away during your first visit so it does not have to be done again if adjustments are necessary. They may also conduct an exam including "musculoskeletal screening" which involves asking questions regarding your health history and how you are feeling, physical examination of specific body regions as well as manipulation to specific areas of the spine.
Usually they will take some time out to explain things like what they did during treatment or the rationale behind it so that you understand what is going on and why. This helps in improving compliance with future care and recovery Lastly, ask your chiropractor about their philosophy regarding healthcare. Most chiropractors use a multi-system approach; meaning that they are not just focused on treating using spinal manipulation but look at diet, exercise habits etc. This is important because you want to make sure that your healthcare provider is aware of the complexities and interconnectedness of various body systems. The bottom line is that chiropractic care can be an important part of a comprehensive strategy for optimal spinal health.
5. How long do adjustments last?
In general, most patients notice significant improvement in their condition after just 1-2 visits with a licensed chiropractor. However, it may take some time before complete resolution particularly if there are chronic conditions involving degeneration or nerve compression which takes a while to resolve. Typically, adjustments should be administered every week until you start noticing positive changes - then you can go back to getting adjusted every 3-6 months depending on how well your spine stays adjusted throughout the year .
6. How much does it cost?
Adjustments cost significantly less than medical treatment for most spinal problems. The typical range of adjustment pricing is between $35-75 per session, with the average being around $50
In comparison to other forms of manual therapy such as Rolfing, which can run in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, chiropractic care is often a more affordable approach especially if you have multiple conditions requiring treatment . To find out what may be covered by health insurance talk to your usual healthcare provider as well as insurance company directly because it varies from policy to policy and depending on whether or not upper cervical adjustments are classified as "chiropractic" or "orthopedic".
As always please feel free to ask me any questions regarding spinal health that you may have.