Cluster headaches are a rare but severe form of headache that is incredibly difficult to manage. Stress is one of the triggers for cluster headaches, and often people resort to making emergency room visits to the hospital for treatment. But you could actually stop this with the help of Dubuque Chiropractors.
Who is a Chiropractor, and What Do They Offer?
Chiropractors focus on diagnosing, treating, and preventing conditions that arise from problems with your spinal cord or spine. They offer a holistic approach to treating pain, mainly because they emphasize physical rehabilitation. In addition to using their hands to perform manipulations and adjustments of the spine and joints, Dubuque chiropractors also offer state-of-the-art rehabilitation treatments under the guidance of leading medical professionals.
Holistically, chiropractors also seek to treat the cause of pain rather than just masking symptoms. This is done by offering nutritional and lifestyle counseling and providing recommendations for various stress management techniques such as skincare therapy, aromatherapy, and exercise regimens.
When it comes to treating those with cluster headaches, you’ll find that chiropractors can offer a unique form of treatment that is best for hormone imbalances and stress. In conjunction with these treatments, it’s not uncommon to find chiropractors offering unique physical therapy exercises and acupuncture.
In some cases, you’ll even find Dubuque chiropractors focusing on the link between nutrition and cluster headaches and the use of hormone balancing techniques such as BioTE (Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy) to help decrease the frequency and intensity of these headaches.
What Can Chiropractic Care Offer Cluster Headache Patients?
Chiropractors are highly experienced in helping their patients make lifestyle changes that can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension. They can prescribe exercise programs, recommend dietary changes, and suggest stress management techniques, including breathing exercises.
Cluster headaches are also known as “suicide” headaches because they are so painful that many patients have considered taking their own lives. Unfortunately, pain can be so great that even morphine doesn’t help. However, advances in medical treatment now offer cluster headache patients a variety of effective medications that can help reduce the length and intensity of attacks.
One study has found that chiropractic care can increase the effectiveness of medical treatment for cluster headache patients. Doctors conducted the study at the Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland. It involved ten patients whose headaches were being treated with sumatriptan and an unspecified beta-blocking agent. In addition to taking this medication, patients received chiropractic spinal manipulations from a professional chiropractor.
To measure the effectiveness of the chiropractic treatment, each patient was asked to rate their pain intensity on a scale of 0 – 10 (with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain imaginable).
The results of the study showed that chiropractic spinal manipulation was able to reduce headache intensity significantly. In fact, after receiving a series of eight chiropractic treatments for a total of 23 sessions over 13 weeks, each patient reported an average reduction in headache intensity from 8.5 to 4.0 on the pain scale. In addition, the study also found that the frequency of headache attacks was dramatically reduced – from an average of 3.3 per week to 0.7 per week after receiving chiropractic care.
The doctors noted that spinal manipulation appeared to increase the effectiveness of beta-blocking drugs but added that more research is needed to investigate further the effects of chiropractic spinal manipulations on cluster headache patients.
What Types of Cluster Headaches can Chiropractic Treat?
Chiropractors are best for providing relief from chronic cluster headaches and trigeminal neuralgia. Chronic cluster headaches and trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with chiropractic care.
The trigeminal nerve is the most important sensory cranial nerve. It is responsible for sensation in the face and controls some muscles that control chewing, facial movements such as talking and closing the eyelids, and salivation.
Cluster headaches are extremely painful, debilitating headaches that may be called “suicide headaches” because of the speed at which they strike and the horrible pain involved.
These headaches are relatively uncommon, with about 1% of adults in the United States getting them. They are also equally seen among men, women, people with or without children, etc.
Trigeminal neuralgia involves trigeminal nerve fibers that supply the so-called “five-minute” facial pain.
The trigeminal nerve is named after it has three sections known as the ophthalmic, maxillary and mandibular. Chiropractors can help with trigeminal neuralgia by adjusting the vertebrae in the upper cervical spine.
These adjustments are completely different from what chiropractors usually do for back pain or other spinal problems. These chiropractic adjustments are more gentle and are designed to be relaxing, unlike most traditional chiropractic treatments, which are painful.
One of the first goals of a chiropractor is to reduce any current inflammation in the spine which can help to reduce or even eliminate headaches. A chiropractor will also work with the patient to teach them how they may be injuring their spine and how they can prevent future injuries from occurring.
What side effects may occur after chiropractic treatment of cluster headaches?
The most common side effect after chiropractic treatment of a cluster headache is another headache or an exacerbation of the original headache. This can be due to a “type 3 response”.
A type 3 reaction is an adverse reaction caused by either failure to elicit the appropriate reaction or the actual provocation of another reaction. After chiropractic treatment, a secondary headache would then be considered a type 3 reaction. The way our practice defines it, this second headache may not happen until days, weeks, or months after the first treatment and usually only on re-treatment.
This situation might frighten those who just experienced chiropractic treatment for the first time, but unfortunately, this is a very common reaction and has been documented in the literature.
Let us help
Here at Fullness of Life Chiropractic, we are always available to lend help if you ever experience or suffer from cluster headaches and answer your questions about chiropractic treatment. So call us today and schedule an appointment!