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  • Writer's pictureKaitlyn Sayre

A Case Study: Migraines

This week I would like to focus on a study published on July 1, 2019 in the research journal the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research. This publication documented the case of a woman who was suffering with migraines and was helped by chiropractic. The study is titled "Resolution of Chronic Migraines & Neck Pain in a 23-Year-Old Female Following Chiropractic Care for Vertebral Subluxations."

This study reports that headaches are the third most common reason that people seek chiropractic services behind only back and neck pain. Studies vary as to the overall prevalence of migraine headaches, but this example estimates that 12% of the population suffers with this condition. The National Library of Medicine's Medline offers a summary of migraines by saying, "Migraines are a recurring type of headache. They cause moderate to severe pain that is throbbing or pulsing. The pain is often on one side of your head. You may also have other symptoms, such as nausea and weakness. You may be sensitive to light and sound."

In this case, a 23-year-old woman went to a chiropractic teaching facility for a consultation and possible care. The woman's chief complaint was chronic migraine headaches for the past ten years. At that time, she had been diagnosed with migraines by a neurologist, who said the cause of her condition was unknown. In addition to the migraines, the woman also suffered with chronic neck pain and low back pain.

The woman's history noted that the migraines became worse two years ago after a car accident. Her history also included issues with hypothyroidism and depression. She was having migraines at the rate of 2-3 times per week. She rated the pain between a 5 and 10, with 10 being the worst. She had been given a variety of medications for her various health issues. She reported little or no relief with her migraines from the medications. The woman reported that her neck pain was constant all day and rated it as a 7 out of 10. She rated her back pain as 5 out of 10, and reported that it was there most of the day. She stated that trying chiropractic was her "last hope."

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural inspection, spinal palpation, range of motion, physical nerve tests, and specific spinal x-rays. From these tests, it was determined that subluxations were present in the woman's spine. With this conclusion, specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were initiated. After the woman received her first neck adjustment, she was excited to report that she had not experienced any migraines since the prior visit. She also noted that there was improvement in both her neck and back pain.

After a month of chiropractic, the woman reported that she had not suffered any migraines and had only had minimal headaches on occasion. After 10 weeks of chiropractic care, the woman reported that all of her initial complaints of chronic migraines, neck pain and low back pain had completely been resolved. She was also able to discontinue all medications for her migraines.

In their conclusion, the authors of the study plainly state, "The case report provides supporting evidence that individuals suffering from headaches may benefit from chiropractic care." Remember, your spine’s main job is to protect your nervous system. Nerves sit in a space created by two properly aligned spinal bones. Stresses, injuries and traumas can cause your spine to misalign. Subluxations, or misalignments, in the cervical spine are a leading cause of migraines and headaches.

Subluxations can lead to:

  • Reduced movement and flexibility

  • Tight and tense muscles

  • Inflammation and pain in the muscles, joints and ligaments of your neck

  • Bad posture like hunching, slouching, head tilting

  • Nerve irritation

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