Can Seeing A Chiropractor Help Ease Migraines?

A migraine is more than just a headache. Migraine symptoms can be debilitating for the 38 million Americans that experience them (via WebMD). During an attack, people with migraines may notice intense pain; nausea and vomiting; and sensitivity to light, sounds, and other stimuli (per Mayo Clinic). According to the American Headache Society, these symptoms result in the loss of 113 million workdays every year.

Migraines remain somewhat of a mystery, even in the medical community, and their causes aren't fully understood. They also have no known cure and can only be controlled through abortive and ongoing preventative treatments (per Cleveland Clinic). These generally include oral medications, injections, and nasal sprays.

Alternative and natural remedies for migraine pain are often simple solutions, such as resting in a dark room, practicing relaxation techniques, and massaging the head. However, when these and other treatments don't work, relief could be as close as your local chiropractor's office.

Is chiropractic adjustment the way to migraine relief?

Chiropractic is a medical practice that focuses on realigning the spine and other parts of the musculoskeletal system, according to Medical News Today. While this may not seem to closely relate to migraines, there's some evidence that chiropractic treatments could ease migraine symptoms. A 2011 research review published in The Journal of Headache and Pain found that manual therapies for migraine, including chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy, might be as effective as migraine medications. However, the review noted that more research should be done to confirm these findings.

A chiropractor may also be able to treat neck pain associated with migraines. Dr. Sandhya Kumar, a neurologist who specializes in headaches, told Everyday Health that 80% of migraine sufferers experience neck pain, and poor posture and strain on the spine and neck can exacerbate migraine symptoms. Chiropractic may be useful in alleviating these issues, which could make migraine discomfort easier to manage (per Mayo Clinic).

There are some potential risks of seeing a chiropractor for migraines, however. According to a 2007 research review published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, mild side effects occur in between 30% and 60% of people, and some experience serious adverse effects such as vertebral artery dissection and stroke.

When considering migraine treatments, a chiropractic consultation, as well as a trip to your primary care physician, can help you decide which options are right for you.