Natural Headache Relief Dr. Richard Burg Chiropractor, Nutrition Consultant, Certified ART® Provider
DisclaimerAcute & chronic headaches may be a signof a serious underlying disease orcondition.It is imperative that you see your physicianor health care provider to determine thecause of your headaches.This lecture is not intended to diagnose ortreat any condition.
Headache StatisticsThe costs of lost work and productivity due to migraineheadaches is estimated to be $13 to $17 billion annually.57% of men and 76% of women report at least onesignificant headache per month!Estimates are that 10% of children 5 to 15 years and28% of adolescents experience migraine headachesThe negative impact of migraine headaches on aperson’s quality of life is greater than that ofosteoarthritis, hypertension or diabetes according to onestudy.70% to 90% of whiplash patients develop a headache.1
Types of HeadachesClassic Migraine (with Aura)Common Migraine (w/o Aura)Tension-TypeCervicogenicMetabolicToxic
Classic MigraineUnilateral throbbing headache preceded by anAuraProdrome of a progressive scotoma surroundedby flashing lightsLasts from several hours up to 3 daysOnly 10% to 15% of all migrainesCause now thought to be neurogenic, withchanges in neurotransmitters (serotonin,dopamine) leading to brain polarization changesand vascular changes.
Common MigraineIncludes 80% to 85% of all migrainesNo prodrome or AuraUnilateral and vomiting provides reliefStatistics indicate 4.1 per 100 persons inthe US have migraine headaches2
Migraine SolutionsChiropractic adjustments: One study showed77% of participants (83 persons treated withspinal adjustments) had a 50% reduction inseverity of symptoms and 22% had a 90%reduction in migraine frequency, duration anddisability3Butterbur root extract: 75 mg 2x/day reducedfrequency 48%, reduced frequency ≥ 50% in68% of adult patients4 and 77% ofchildren/adolescents5
Migraine SolutionsMagnesium citrate 600mg/day resulted insignificant decreases in severity andfrequency compared to a control group6B Vitamins, especially Riboflavindeficiency is related to migraine7Consider gut renewal, identifying foodallergens, detoxification and probioticsupplementation to improve digestive tracthealth.
Tension Type HeadacheCan be the result of a transformedmigraine as a result of chronic drug useIs typically bilateral, frequent and occurlater in the dayMay last for days or weeksOften associated trigger points in the neckand suboccipital region
Cervicogenic HeadacheApproximately 20% of chronic headache sufferers4 times more prevalent in womenMay be due to head or neck injury (whiplash) but notalwaysOften a unilateral headache that does not change sidesOften associated reduced motion in the neck due topain.Thought to be due to reduced neurological input into thetrigeminocervicalnucleus from reduced or alteredcervical spine motion (lack of pain inhibition).
Tension Type & Cervicogenic SolutionsRespond well to chiropractic cervicaladjustments.8,9Myofascial release therapies can be ofbenefit to improve neck motion and reducenerve and vascular impingement in thesuboccipital region.9
Metabolic HeadacheCauses include:– Hypo and hyperthyroidism– Hypoglycemia– Hypertension– Anemia– Hypo and hyperadrenalism– Hypoxemia (due to high altitude)– Hypercapnia, due to COPD– Many other rare conditionsTreatment: Treat the underlying disease
Toxic/Rebound HeadacheToxic headaches can occur when you areexposed to toxins in the environment.– Chemicals, fumes, pollution, allergens– Lead, insecticides, alcohol (acetaldehyde), carbon monoxideRebound headaches occur with overuse ofmedications (analgesics) and/or caffeine andthen when not consuming these items aheadache will return requiring more of themedication to resolve the pain.10
Toxic Headache SolutionsIdentify toxin exposure that may be causing theheadachesConsider detoxification with liver support for exposure toorganic compounds– You may need special detoxification for heavy metal exposure– Special formulations for organic chemical exposure– Liver support with Milk Thistle, NAC, TMG etc.Reduce medication and caffeine usage to prevent therebound effect and choose natural antiinflammatorysupplements to reduce pain.– Omega 3 fish oil– Turmeric– Consider acupuncture for pain relief
ConclusionEach headache type has different causes andtriggersNatural approaches are available:– Chiropractic is beneficial for migraine, tension and cervicogenic type headaches– Magnesium, B vitamins and Butterbur extract can be helpful– Detoxification and gastrointestinal health is helpful to treat some headaches.It is important to take a holistic approachincluding stress, sleep, diet and exercise
References1 Souza TA. Differential Diagnosis and Management for theChiropractor 3rd Ed. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and BartlettPublishers; 2005:451.2 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001982.htm3 Tuchin, PJ, Pollard H, Bonello, R. A randomized controlled trial ofchiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. JMPT. 2000Feb;23(2):91-5.4 Lipton, RB et al. Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effectivepreventive treatment fro migraines. Neurology. 2004 Dec28;63(12):2240-4.5 Pothman R, Danesch U. Migraine prevention in children andadolescents: results of an open study with a special butterbur rootextract. Headache. 2005 Mar;45(3):196-203.
References6 Koseoglu E, et al. The effects of magnesium prophylaxis inmigraine without aura. Magnesium Research. 2008Jun;21(2):101-8.7 Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-doseriboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trialNeurology, 1998; 50(2):466-4708 Biondi DM. Cervicogenic headache: A review of diagnostic andtreatment strategies. Journal of the American OsteopathicAssociation. 2005. Apr;105(4):16-22.9 Moore MK. Upper crossed syndrome and its relationship tocervicogenic headache. JMPT. 2004. Jul; 27(6):414-2010 http://www.headaches.org/educational_modules/caffeine/head.html