Case Study – Chronic Migraine Headaches

This is one of my first cases from about 5 years ago. This was a 30-ish year old woman. She suffered with severe migraines on and off for about 10 years. The day she saw me, she had a migraine for 15 straight days. Not just your average headaches, but migraines that would put her our of commission for several hours.

As a new chiropractor, I was doubting if I could help. However, I felt I owed it to her to give it a try. For 10 years, she had followed special diets, took supplements, and at one time or another took every medication possible for migraines. She hadn’t tried a chiropractor though.

It was a Friday, her 15th straight day with a migraine. We examined her and didnt find too much. The only thing found was tight muscles and joints in the upper part of her neck. Problems in this area is known to cause headaches, so it made sense.

I treated this patient by working the trigger points in the upper neck area (base of skull) and adjusted her neck. The patient left that day and didn’t notice much of a difference.

On Monday, the patient came in for a follow up. She said that an hour after leaving Friday, the headache went away and didn’t come back. I saw the patient 6 more times over the next two weeks to ensure the area was straightened out.

Fast forward to the current time. Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen the patient once every 3-4 months for “maintenance” adjsutments to keep the upper area of her neck relaxed. In those 5 years, the patient called in only once with a migraine. Otherwise, she has been migraine free.

The patient was/is thankful that this worked, but I am even more thankful because it really gave me a lot of confidence in what I do.

In this case, the headaches were caused by chronic upper neck/base of skull tightness and tension. One of the muscles in this area actually attaches to the covering of the brain, the dura mater. By relaxing the joints and muscles, it helped relieve this tension.

People often tell me that they have headaches, but “you probably can’t help”. When I ask why, they say because it’s caused by hormones, allergies, stress, or some other reason. What I have found is that headaches have mutliple causes, and by removing as many causes as we can, headaches improve. So, if you relieve tight muscles, even though allergies may still be an issue, the headaches may not be as frequent or severe.

In the end, if you have headaches but haven’t seen us for care, it’s worth a try. Best case scenario in a few visits you’re feeling great. Worse case scenario, it doesnt help and you’re no worse off than before. I’d say that around 7-8 out of every 10 people have significant improvement with headaches in my practice.

Thanks for reading and feel free to post questions or comments.

(Dr. Touchinsky is a chiropractor in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County. He focuses on the treatment of muscle and joint related issues, including migraines, headaches, neck and back pain, sciatica, disc bulges, chronic pain, etc. For a free consultation to discuss your issues and determine if chiropractic care can help, call the office at 570-366-2613.)

2 thoughts on “Case Study – Chronic Migraine Headaches

  1. Hi, Buddy
    This reminds me of one of our first patients, a blind lady who had had a migraine for 30 straight days, despite multiple ER visits. By the time she finished her rest post C1 toggle adjustment, the sweat was off her forehead. Two hours later the HA was gone.
    Later inspection of the X-rays suggested that she had a healed displaced fracture of atlas. Scary

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