Chronic migraine headaches have dramatically increased among the North American population, especially in adults younger than 45 years. There has been an approximately 60% increase in rates over the years and it has been noted that women are slightly more affected than men.
Headaches clearly have a big impact on society today. Major dollars are being spent on hospitalizations, doctor visits, disability payments, and medication prescriptions. The use of over-the-counter drugs has also increased exponentially over the past ten years. All of this "treatment" has failed to show a healthy way to any sort of lasting cure or has had little effect on the occurrence of headaches.
Studies show that 70% of men and 80% of women reporting chronic migraine headaches visited a physician for migraine headaches at least once a year; 7% and 8% of men and women, respectively, were hospitalized because of the condition at least once a year. In addition, 4% of men and 3% of women reported a chronic limitation in normal activity because of migraine headaches and associated symptoms.
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.
The chiropractor treats the cause of the problem rather than masking the symptom with ineffective and potentially unsafe medications. They 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.
Only a comprehensive examination will determine if you are good candidate for chiropractic care. The examination should include a detailed history of how the pain has affected your life, tests of your nervous system, and x-ray examination, to see how the vertebrae are positioned in your neck.
If you are a part of the headache epidemic, it can be a sign that you have a spinal condition the chiropractor may be able to help. Taking medications to cover-up the problem rarely makes the actual problem go away.