Can Chiropractic Treat Migraines?

McKinney Chiropractor Best Practices

Research Commentary;

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Migraine

Chiropractic for Migraines

Chiropractic for Migraines!

 

A review of

Peter J. Tuchin, Henry Pollard, Rod Bonello, A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 23, Issue 2, 2000, Pages 91-95

By Dr. Bryan Stephens

Summarized Review Conclusions

Migraines can be debilitating for those that experience them.  I feel that migraines are so widespread that if we do not personally get them, we know somebody who does.  Along with severe pain for people, it also places a financial burden on society as the cost of managing migraines in the US is estimated at over $17 billion!  So, what do we do about it?  Many turn to prescriptions for relief, but those have been shown to lower pain only in the short term, with many migraines returning within 24 hours.  This article focuses on the effectiveness of chiropractic care in not only helping with the pain but lowering the frequency and duration of migraines overall.  When compared with a control group, people receiving 2 months of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT or chiropractic adjustments) reported significant improvements in migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use.  This progress was still evident 2 months after treatment had finished.  I have listed some of the major quotes below to illustrate how beneficial the care was to those receiving it.

“22% of the participants reported more than a 90% reduction of migraines as a consequence of the 2 months of SMT.”

Peter J. Tuchin, Henry Pollard, Rod Bonello, A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 23, Issue 2, 2000, Pages 91-95

“The majority of participants had chronic migraines; on average, they had experienced migraines for 18.1 years. However, the results demonstrated a significant reduction in migraine episodes and associated disability.”

Peter J. Tuchin, Henry Pollard, Rod Bonello, A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 23, Issue 2, 2000, Pages 91-95

“A significant number of participants recorded that their medication use had reduced to zero by the end”

Peter J. Tuchin, Henry Pollard, Rod Bonello, A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 23, Issue 2, 2000, Pages 91-95

Introduction to the Research

This study was performed in Australia, where 12% of the population over the age of 15 experience migraines.  It was formulated to address some restraints of past studies of chiropractic care for migraines.  While the past research showed significant improvement in headaches and migraines, they were faced with limited sample sizes, no control subjects, and poor control subjects.  Also, medication currently focuses on short term relief, and while effective in alleviating symptoms, it is very short lived with many migraines returning within 24 hours.  The authors examined the chiropractic care against a control group in order to further evaluate the efficacy of SMT in the treatment of migraines.

Research Methodology

The participants filled out a comprehensive questionnaire to classify the severity of their migraines.  Exclusions were based on daily migraines with trauma as the initiating factor, contraindications to SMT such as meningitis or cerebral aneurysm, temporal arteritis, benign intercranial hypertension or space-occupying lesions.  The participants were assigned to either a control group or a care group and then filled out diaries tracking the headache frequency, duration, severity, associated symptoms, and medication use for 2 months prior to the treatment. Those in the control group continued to track the migraines throughout the entire study in the same way with no care.  Those in the care group went 2 months tracking the migraines before the care, 2 months of care (maximum 16 visits), and 2 months of migraine tracking after the care.

Research Findings

As mentioned above, those assigned to the care group experienced a statistically significant decrease in migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use.  22% of the group reported a 90% reduction in migraines with a further 49% reporting significant improvement in the morbidity of each episode.  That essentially states that 1 in 5 noted the migraines were almost completely gone and half of the entire group noted their migraines drastically reduced.  A side note in the article was that 59% noticed no more neck pain following the 2 months of treatment and another 35% reported only slight or mild pain (down from original reported values).

Research References

As always with these reviews, these are my takeaways from the article and I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.  The references used in this article by the authors of this article are listed here.