Headaches can come on for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a loud noise that is constant will trigger it, sometimes sleeping on a new pillow will trigger it. Other times, eating certain foods or taking certain medications will trigger it. This particular study looked at headaches that originate from the cervical spine or the neck. This is called a cervicogenic headache. How is that defined?
Well, the International Classification of Headache Disorders defines cervicogenic headache as,
“headache caused by a disorder of the cervical spine and its component bony, disc, and/or soft tissue elements, usually but not invariably accompanied by neck pain.”
About 0.4% to 20% of the population reports this type of headache. It often occurs in patients with a whiplash type of injury. A cervicogenic type of headache usually shows pain on one side, decrease in motion of the neck, pain when you press on upper neck area (suboccipital muscles), and pain with certain movements of the neck.
This study has 130 participants with cervicogenic headaches. The researchers wanted to compare two treatments: Chiropractic vs Mobilization/Exercises.
The study showed that after 6 - 8 sessions of neck and mid back adjustments, there was a greater reduction in headache intensity, frequency and duration vs just doing a mobilization and exercise regimen. Furthermore, the researchers noted that the benefits of chiropractic maniupulation still persisted when the patients were re-evaluated 3 months later.
Source: Upper cervical and upper thoracic manipulation versus mobilization and exercise in patients with cervicogenic headache: a multi-center randomized clinical trial, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, February 2016
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