Recently, and article published in the BioMEd Central Research Notes, July 24, 2017, found that Chiropractic care, specifically Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation, was a safe and significantly effective treatment method for cervicogenic (from the neck) headache.
This is a very common form of headache pain, and from a chiropractic perspective, very easy to treat. With the current opioid epidemic, taking drugs are not advised for this common problem.
The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy versus placebo (sham manipulation) and control (continued usual but non-manual management) for cervicogenic headache. It is a singleblinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial of 17 months’ duration. Twelve participants were randomized to three groups:
• A control group that continued with usual but not manual therapy: “The control group continued their usual pharmacological management without receiving manual intervention.”
• A sham manipulation (placebo) group: “The placebo group received sham manipulation at the lateral edge of the scapula and/or the gluteal region.”
• A chiropractic spinal adjustment group: “The chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy group received spinal manipulative therapy using the Gonstead method, directed to spinal biomechanical dysfunction as diagnosed by standard chiropractic tests.”
KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1) “Cervicogenic headache is a disabling headache where pharmacological management have limited effect. Thus, non-pharmacological management is warranted.”
2) “The efficacy of pharmacological management for cervicogenic headache is poor and medication overuse is frequent.” [Important]
3) Classic presentation for cervicogenic headache is: • Unilateral headache • Symptoms and signs related to neck involvement • Symptoms and signs worsened by neck movement • Symptoms and signs worsened by sustained awkward head position • Symptoms and signs worsened by external pressure over the upper cervical or occipital region on the symptomatic side 2
4) Prior studies assessing the effectiveness of spinal manipulation for cervicogenic headache found the following:
• 1995, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics: Headache intensity was reduced by 36% post treatment
• 2002, Spine: 71% of the participants had >50% reduction in headache frequency and 33% had 100% improvement (no more headaches)
• 2004, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics: Headache intensity reduced by 43% at 1 month Headache intensity reduced by 40% at 6 months Headache frequency reduced by 49% at 1 month Headache frequency reduced by 52% at 6 months
• 2010, Spine Journal: Headache intensity reduced by 43% at 1 month Headache intensity reduced by 40% at 6 months Headache frequency reduced by 49% at 1 month Headache frequency reduced by 52% at 6 months
5) In this study, both were superior to standard control pharmacology in the treatment of cervicogenic headache. The Gonstead spinal adjusting was significantly superior to the sham thrusts placebo intervention.
6) “The control group [taking the standard drugs] remained unchanged during the whole study period.”
7) “Headache frequency improved at all time points in the chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy and the placebo group.”
8) “Headache index improved in the chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy group at all time points, while it improved at 6 and 12 months’ follow-up in the placebo group.”
9) “Mild transient adverse events were local tenderness and tiredness on the treatment day in both the chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy and the placebo group. No severe or serious adverse events were reported in the study.” “Adverse events were few, mild and transient.” [This means that chiropractic care, specifically Gonstead cervical adjusting, is quite safe.]
10) “Our main results demonstrate reduction in headache frequency and headache index in the chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy and the placebo 3 group, an effect that lasted at follow-up, while the control group was unchanged throughout the randomized controlled trial.” [This is another study showing that even sham chiropractic is superior to drug management, this time for cervicogenic headache.]
11) “Our results suggest that manual-therapy might be a safe treatment option for participants with cervicogenic headache.”
12) “Due to insufficient pharmacological treatment strategies, spinal manipulative therapy has been recommended as a treatment option.”
I would expect that chiropractic spinal adjusting would be quite superior to drugs in
treating cervicogenic headache, and the above graph nicely shows that to be true.
The graph also shows that sham chiropractic adjusting, achieved by thrusting on
the lateral scapula and gluteal muscles, was also noticeably superior to the control
group consumption of usual pharmacology.
There are many testimonials on my facebook page and in the office of patients that had headaches that were greatly helped with Chiropractic care. Many cases, like this article suggests, stopped taking any pain medication after successful treatment.
If you would like more information, check out our website at www.cascadehealthcenter.com or call 541-343-4343.
Dr. Garreth MacDonald