How Your Chiropractor Can Relieve Your Migraine Pain
Even one migraine is one too many. Unfortunately, over-the-counter painkillers often aren't strong enough to dull the pain. Prescription pain medication may be more helpful, but these drugs can cause unpleasant side effects. If you're struggling to manage your migraines, chiropractic treatment could ease your pain and reduce the number of days you experience migraine pain.
Treating Migraines with Chiropractic
Migraines cause 113 million lost work days every year, according to the American Headache Association. If you have migraines, that statistic probably doesn't seem surprising. After all, it's hard to do your job when your head throbs and you feel dizzy and nauseated.
Do you regularly spend hours hidden away in a dark room, hoping your headache will finally end? Chiropractic care could ease your pain and allow you to enjoy life once again. Although you may associate chiropractic care with joint and back pain relief, chiropractors actually treat a variety of conditions, including migraines.
Your chiropractor may include a few of these therapies in your migraine treatment plan:
- Massage. Massage loosens tight muscles in your head and neck that could worsen your symptoms. The therapy also reduces pain by prompting your body to produce hormones that ease pain naturally. Is stress one of your migraine triggers? The same hormones that reduce migraine pain during massage also help you feel calm and relaxed.
- Soft Tissue Mobilization. During soft tissue mobilization, your chiropractor uses his or her hands or a small instrument to stretch and lengthen tissues, reduce inflammation and swelling, and ease tension in your head, neck, and upper back muscles.
- Trigger Point Therapy. Painful trigger points are common in people who have migraines. Pressing on these hard knots in the muscles can even trigger a migraine, according to a review article in the Journal of Headache and Pain. Applying pressure to trigger points relaxes muscle fibers and helps knots dissolve, in addition to improving blood flow. Increasing blood flow helps your body get rid of waste products that build up when muscles become tight. According to a systematic review in Frontiers in Neurology, trigger point therapy may decrease the duration, intensity, and frequency of migraines and tension headaches, although additional research is needed.
- Spinal Manipulation. Spinal manipulation corrects subluxations. These are misalignments of the vertebrae in your back or neck. Quick thrusts with the hands or an activator realign the vertebrae, decreasing pain and inflammation. Spinal manipulation also decreases pressure on nerves and relieves irritation that can cause pain. Neck pain and stiffness are common in people who have migraines. According to a study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain, 69% of migraine patients have neck pain during a migraine. The researchers noted that preventing and treating neck pain might help prevent future chronic migraines.
- Exercise Program. Improving your posture and strengthening the muscles in your neck and back might also help improve your migraine symptoms. Your chiropractor will teach you a few exercises that will keep the muscles loose and limber.
- Nutrition Advice. In some cases, certain foods can trigger migraines. If you suspect that your diet is a migraine trigger, your chiropractor can provide nutritional advice that will help you improve your diet.
Would you like to find out if chiropractic care could help your migraines? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.
American Headache Society: The Impact of Migraine in the Workplace
Frontiers in Neurology: Effectiveness of Trigger Point Manual Treatment on the Frequency, Intensity and Duration of Attacks in Primary Headaches: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, 4/28/2018
The Journal of Headache and Pain: Myofascial Trigger Points in Migraine and Tension-Type Headache, 9/10/2018
Canadian Chiropractic Association: 6 Ways Chiropractic Care Can Help Manage Headaches, 6/1/2022
The Journal of Headache and Pain: Neck Pain in Episodic Migraine: Premonitory Symptom or Part of the Attack, 9/2/2015