Over the past few decades, chronic migraine headaches have increased dramatically among the U.S population. There has been an approximately 60% increase in rates over the years. Most of this increase has occurred in adults younger than 45 years, and women are slightly more affected than men.
One study showed that 80% of women and 70% of men reporting chronic migraine headaches had at least one physician contact per year because of migraine headaches; 8% and 7% of women and men, respectively, were hospitalized at least once a year because of the condition. In addition, chronic migraine headaches had a substantial impact on functional capacity: 4% of men and 3% of women reported a chronic limitation in normal activity because of migraine headaches and associated symptoms.
Clearly headaches are having a big impact on society today, with major dollars spent on disability payments, hospitalizations, doctor visits, and medication prescriptions. Most patients also self medicate with over-the-counter drugs. The use of these drugs has increased exponentially over the past ten years. All of this “treatment” has had little effect on the occurrence of headaches, or shown a healthy way to any sort of lasting cure.
The chiropractic approach to headaches is much different. The chiropractor looks at injuries to the spine (e.g. sprain/subluxation), which are affecting the nervous system. Headaches are just one of many symptoms than can occur when the spine is injured.
Rather than masking the symptom with ineffective and potentially unsafe medications, the chiropractor treats the cause of the problem. Scientific studies have shown this approach to have merit. The chiropractor will use specific adjustments and postural exercises to improve how your spine functions, which may in turn reduce your need for medications, lower the intensity of the pain, or even eliminate the headaches all together. Depending on how badly your spine is injured or how long you have suffered, will both affect how you may progress during care.