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I have a friend who gets headaches so frequently and so severe that she cannot enjoy life. I have told her she needs to get help, but she says the doctors have done everything they can and still don’t know what’s causing her problem. She hates the side effects of the medicine they prescribed her. Is there anything that chiropractic can do to help her? - Sarah
Yes. In fact, Duke University conducted a report comparing 2,500 research articles in medical journals to try and determine the best treatment for headaches. Their results clearly show that chiropractic is the safest choice for the treatment of headaches and migraines. It was more effective than most other forms of treatment. Chiropractic care for management of headaches had three main benefits: 1) Few, if any, side effects compared to medication and surgery. 2) Longer lasting results compared to other forms of alternative treatments. 3) Less frequent episodes as well as less intense episodes during the course of treatment. I would highly recommend your friend try chiropractic for her headaches. Many sources, including medical textbooks, will indicate that most headaches (80-90%) are caused by muscle tension. Muscle tension type headaches are considered structural. Those headaches that are NOT structural in origin are usually secondary to a serious disease such as cancer. Structural problems respond best to chiropractic care, which is why it is so successful with treatment of headaches. It is estimated as many as 50 million Americans suffer from headaches and migraines. Headaches accounted for over 10,000,000 doctors visits last year alone. The average age for fist time headaches if 5 to 8 years of age. Time off from work due to headaches accounted for more than 157 million days lost from work with a cost of almost 10 billion dollars in lost work as a result. Considering these staggering statistics, it’s easy to say that headaches are more than just a nuisance. The most common treatment for headaches is over the counter pain relievers, but all too often these are taken inappropriately. Some research articles indicate as many as 100,000 deaths every year happen because of inappropriate use of over the counter pain relievers. The instructions on these bottles will tell the user to limit their use to no more than 3 days, and they are not meant to be used long term. They are also only supposed to be used for minor aches and pains. Because there are many different causes of headaches and every person is unique, some people may not find relief with anything they try in treating headaches. That is why I titled this column, “managing” headaches instead of “treating” headaches. Some people find that chiropractic care helps reduce their headaches to the point that medicine or other treatments work more effectively. The bottom line is this, not everything has been tried until chiropractic has been included in the attempt to manage headaches. If I can be of further assistance to your friend, please have her contact me. I hope this helps educate you and your family on the safest approach for the treatment and management of headaches. Blessings, Dr. Joel Johnson

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