Approximately 16% of the general population will be suffering from headaches at any time. Roughly 1/3rd of those headache sufferers will have a certain type of headache known as a cervicogenic headache (which is basically a fancy term for saying ‘your neck is causing your headache’). This problem can occur from tight, injured, or stressed muscles in your neck which will cause pain to radiate up into your head and often towards your eyes.
There has been a lot of research showing chiropractic adjustments to be a very safe and effective treatment for this condition. But there are still some unanswered questions, such as how many adjustments are needed to provide the best outcome, and how many adjustments provide the most efficient outcome?
This study was conducted over the course of 8 weeks and included 80 patients divided up into four groups. One group received 2 chiropractic treatments per week. The second group received 1 chiropractic treatment and 1 manual exam per week. The third group received 2 massage treatments per week. Finally, the fourth group received 1 massage treatment and 1 manual exam per week.
Over the course of the 8 weeks, and then for the additional 24 weeks, patients’ symptoms were monitored and compared. The results found that both groups receiving chiropractic adjustments had significant improvement in their headache and neck pain symptoms, with more improvement seen in the group that received 2 chiropractic treatments per week. They also found that patients in the chiropractic treatment groups lowered their over-the-counter medication usage during the trial and maintained a lower medication usage 24 weeks after treatments ended.
Therefore, the results of this study indicate that chiropractic care is effective for treating chronic cervicogenic headache and reducing over-the-counter medication usage over the course of an 8 week session. More improvement was found in the group that received 2 treatments per week and these results were maintained at a 24 week follow up survey for both chiropractic groups.
- Haas M, Spegman A, Peterson D, et al. Dose response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Spine J 2010; February 10(2): 169-71.