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It seems as if Doctors of Chiropractic have become known as back pain specialists. While it is true many patients first seek chiropractic care for back pain, and while it is also true many studies prove the effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulation for treating this condition, chiropractic is also capable of alleviating many other disorders. One complaint heard more and more is that of headache.

Headaches, like back pain, affect a large percentage of the population at one time or another. According to Patterson, 88% of the population will have experienced a headache within one year and 38% of adults will have a headache within 2 weeks. This costs businesses more than $50 billion annually in lost labor. A total of 155 million workdays are lost due to headaches. With prevalence of headaches this high, better treatments that are both safe and effective are very important.

We have all had headaches at one time or another. Sometimes they can last for what seems like forever or sometimes they are sudden and severe and can put you down for the night. Pain can radiate into your temples and behind your eyes as well. Certain types of headaches call migraines can produce visual changes. You may also experience nausea or ringing in the ears, called Tinnitus.

Regardless of the type of pain you are experiencing, headaches are not normal. If you have a headache and have been in an accident or had a fall, make sure you get evaluated for a concussion immediately.

Part of the reason I became a chiropractor was because a family member suffered for a long time with migraines and could never get any relief from various doctors, until she went to a chiropractor. That made me think something really neat was happening in that profession and I wanted to be a part of it. They are my favorite thing to treat.

Depending on the type of headaches or length of time you have experienced them will determine how long treatment will take. I have seen miracle recoveries and I have seen some that take months. First thing to do is examine your neck and talk to you about your history. You may be doing something innocent that contributes to your problem and we will correct any bad habits you may have picked up over the years.

I have found manipulation of the neck, along with muscle work, heat or ice, stretching, rehabilitation exercises, postural changes and ergonomic corrections can work wonders.

  • Your spine and neck muscles cause Cervicogenic Headaches. Accidents, falls, office work, posture, sports, stress, or any time you have your head in an unnatural position for a long time, can lead to headaches. McCrory, MD, Duke University states, “chiropractic manipulation resulted in sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity.”

  • In a study by Vernon, he performed a retrospective study on adult benign headaches under chiropractic care for 12 visits. Headache duration decreased 75-80% and severity decreased by 50%. Subjects who were experiencing associated symptoms also had positive results: 100% of subjects with nausea were relieved of their symptoms, as well as 88.9% with dizziness and 50% with tinnitus or aura.

  • Noted researcher Nikolai Bogduk, MD, PhD, professor of anatomy at Newcastle, Australia, commented: "The people in control of the headache field seemingly have not, cannot, or will not, recognize this paradox ... that the model for cervicogenic headache is not only the best evolved of all headaches but is testable in vivo, in patients with headache complaints. No other form of headache has that facility."

  • Several years ago, a Canadian anesthesiologist, Peter Rothbart, MD, FRCPC, came to the same conclusions about cervicogenic headachein a research study he performed at Syracuse University with a team of MDs. “Many headaches are caused by damaged structures in the neck and/or neck problems -- and scientific evidence proves it. Chiropractic has much to offer as the first line care for cervicogenic headache.”

  • Jirout performed manipulation on 200 subjects who had previously been in a study of headaches caused by fixation of C2-C3. Manipulation directed at these areas resulted in complete relief in approximately 80% of the subjects.

  • Dr. Oz and Crot treated 332 subjects with suboccipital headaches using nine chiropractic treatments. Results showed 93% had a positive outcome.