A headache is something we have all experienced at one point in our lives. But for many these headaches stay for days and days. In many, they are chronic and significantly affect a person’s functioning. This might be at work or at home – either way, it affects who you are as a person and stops you from putting your best foot forward. For those suffering cervicogenic headaches there may be a new treatment on the horizon. For years many of your colleagues or friends may have recommended spinal manipulation – the chiropractic technique – but now research is mounting that spinal manipulation is effective for this condition.
What is a cervicogenic headache?
A detailed run through of cervicogenic headaches can be found at physiopedia but as an overview, a cervicogenic headache is a chronic headache that arises in the neck and at the back of the hand and moves round to the front of the head. Patients experience:
- A one-sided headache
- A headache is worsened when they move their neck
- The top 3 points in the neck are painful to touch
- There may also be neck pain
- They have tightness in the upper shoulder muscles or back.
What is spinal manipulation?
Spinal manipulation is one of the man treatments used by chiropractors. There are a number of variants of spinal manipulation but generally, the practitioner will move the spine with his or her hands. They will move the spine in a way that is beyond its usual range of motion – this force can be applied slowly or with great speed.
Does spinal manipulation work for cervicogenic headaches?
Spinal manipulation techniques have been gathering evidence for the past 10 years for a whole range of conditions. However, a recent paper to be published in The Spinal Journal shows that move spinal manipulation therapy sessions is associated with a decreased frequency of having cervicogenic headaches. The trial looked at visits of spinal manipulation therapy versus the number of days with a headache per month. The individuals received 0 6 12 or 18 sessions. There were 256 patients included in the trial. The authors found that:
They found that 6 extraspinal manipulation sessions were equal to a reduction of 1 day with a headache a month
- In a patient who had 18 sessions of spinal manipulation the average number of headaches per month fell from 16 to 8 days.
The authors end by concluding that
“For the highest and most effective dose of 18 SMT visits, CGH days were reduced by half and about 3 more days per month than for the light-massage control.”
If you or somebody you know suffers with chronic headache – it might cervicogenic in nature. Get in contact with a specialist chiropractic centre today to discuss spinal manipulation therapy further.