Migraine has no ‘cure’, and many medications that doctors prescribe for migraine come with significant side effects. For this reason, individuals often opt for alternative or complementary therapies, such as chiropractic or massage therapy.
While the symptoms of migraine headaches vary, more than 75% of people with the condition experience associated neck pain. Many of them also report muscle tension, neck stiffness, and problems with jaw function.
Chiropractic for Migraines
Evidence on the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for migraine headaches is limited but encouraging. An older 2011 review assessed clinical trials on the effects of chiropractic spinal manipulation, massage therapy, and physical therapy for migraine headaches.
Results suggest Chiropractic for migraines may be as effective as conventional preventive medications, such as propranolol (Inderal) and topiramate (Topamax). In our office, we find that even those patients that have been suffering for years find benefits from chiropractic care.
A 2017 survey questioned 1,869 chiropractors to determine the prevalence of migraine treatment and management. The results showed 53% had a caseload that was high in individuals with migraine headaches.
Chiropractic for Migraines: How Does It Work?
To treat migraine headaches, chiropractors perform spinal adjustments to reduce stress and improve spinal function. Treatment can also include soft tissue therapies, which may involve:
According to the ACA, chiropractic for migraines also offers lifestyle management suggestions, such as:
- making dietary changes and taking B complex vitamins
- avoiding heavy exercise and encouraging walking and low impact aerobics
- advising on posture, such as sitting correctly at work
In addition, chiropractic may include other lifestyle recommendations that can help prevent migraine headaches. Examples include advice about teeth clenching, which can stress the jaw joint and trigger headaches, and encouraging people to drink plenty of water each day to prevent dehydration, which is another headache trigger.
A chiropractor’s aim when treating migraines is to reduce pain and maximize neuromusculoskeletal health.