Headaches suck. Period. When severe, they disrupt your entire life. Even mild, they affect your mood and relationships.
The current culture in medicine generally supports the primary care route for headaches. The primary care doctor may try a few prescription meds like ibuprofen or Tylenol. When these don’t help they may try a medication like Topamax, which has been shown to reduce headache frequency a paltry 1.5 days in 3 months.
Imaging may or may not be done at this point, but a referral to a neurologist at this point is imminent. This is where the mistake is made.
For some strange reason, the general public does not normally associated chiropractic care and headaches. I can tell you from the results we get in our office alone that we can complete alleviate the vast majority of headaches that come into our office. Some are simply structural and respond with soft tissue work and adjusting. Some require much more by-in from the patient that will likely include significant lifestyle changes to include quitting smoking, stress management, exercise and dietary changes.
This particular study suggests that the PCP to neurologist pathway is likely not the best choice. Chiropractic care first would appear to be the best use of resources. Researchers looked at headache sufferers to see how many of them had pain over the base of the skull that reproduced their headaches. Results were very telling:
- ALL tension headache patients experienced reproduction of their headaches
- All but 1 migraine headache patients experienced reproduction of their headaches
- In every case, the referred head pain was similar to the pain they usually experienced during headache
You may say “Wow!” but I say “Duh!” This is an extremely common finding in patients who experience all types of headaches. In my upcoming book, Migraines and Epilepsy: You are not alone, I cover this aspect of headaches in greater detail.
So how many patients never made it past the neurologist? How many thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands of headache patients have NEVER had a physician evaluate the structures of their neck, let alone administer any treatment?
What have you found to be the most helpful for your headaches?