Methods that are Really Fighting Neck Pain

Killing migraine-triggering neck pain – what’s the best way?  A recent study looked at a related question.

Last week we were talking about the pain that comes along with migraine – of which neck pain is at the top of the list..  We also were talking about how other issues – painful issues, such as neck pain, can lead to migraine.  A new study published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine (an academic journal published by the American College of Physicians) looked at three ways that people dealt with neck pain – and what worked the best.

The study looked at three groups of patients – those taking medication, those using exercise (therapeutic exercise done at home), and those taking chiropractic treatment.

After twelve weeks, here are the results.  The chart below shows the % of patients who experienced at least 75% relief:

Google Chart

The clear winner was chiropractic, with 57%.  Of those taking medication, only 33% found that much relief.

But there’s more.  A year later, 53% of those who received chiropractic treatment still had 75% relief, and only 38% of those on medication.

My chiropractor always urged me to do exercise at home on top of regular adjustments.  This study seems to suggest he was right.  It would be interesting to see how people fared who used a combination of treatments.

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6 comments… add one
  • Dr. Michael Zitney Feb 27, 2012

    Great post. This study illustrates 3 very important messages that apply to patients with frequent or chronic migraines and/or headaches.
    1. The neck is one of the most important triggers for headaches. I call this a “hidden trigger” because most patients (and doctors) don’t think about it. If your neck gets achy by the end of the day, you can’t move your neck in all directions easily and painlessly or you’ve been in a significant car accident (or other high-speed injury) your neck is very likely contributing to your migraines/headaches.
    2. Any good therapist (not just chiropractors) can provide hands-on treatment for neck pain. Look for someone who will talk to you about your symptoms and explain the relevant anatomy and provide hands-on treatment not just put a machine on you then walk away. There is still no machine made that can match an experienced pair of human hands for healing. They also MUST explain to you …
    3. … the proper posture to correct the alignment of your neck will relax the very strong neck muscles. These (usually) tight neck muscles constantly pull on the surrounding nerves and compress the small neck joints which sends a “make a headache” signal to the brain. The proper head position (posture) is always further back then you think. We all move our head forward as we age and get used to this “new” position. This is the most important “exercise” you can learn. Slide your head back (don’t tilt it up or down) to the correct position (or as far as you can go for now, you may move further with practice), take a deep breath, hold it for 4 seconds, let it out over 4 seconds, then relax. That’s it. Repeat 20 times throughout the day and you’ll soon find less neck tension and fewer headaches.
    (Sorry for the long post!)

    • Frank Aurillo Mar 2, 2012

      Thank you for the medical information. I do have some info that’s not necessarily connected with the traditional method of healing migraines (including stiffness of the neck).

      It’s done with the use of the subconscious mind upon the principle that migraines are only a physical manifestation or outward indication of some disorder or disfunction occurring in the emotional, therefore non-physical, part of the person.

      This is a “must” type of conclusion otherwise we are left with a person with just a body instead of a human being with a body as well as the unseen or non-physical aspects of the individual.

  • Lorraine c. Feb 29, 2012

    Thanks a lot Dr. Zitney for sharing this information, I get neck pain every 2 weeks, and only in the mornings and then extreme nausea which is 100% disabling. Its been over 25 years that I live with this. One migraine doctor thought it might be due to some arthritis in the neck.
    I’ll be motoring my posture with my more frequency.

  • Frank Jr Aurillo Mar 3, 2012

    I always wake up mornings with a little stiff neck. With persistent effort to find the cause, I later learned that lying in bed or couch depending on whether I’m doing computer work during late nights would almost always keep me in a sleeping position longer than other positions before changing. Then I discovered that exercising on early mornings would make the pain subside then disappear later in the day. My verdict was too much exposure to cold from the air conditioner or nature when sleeping outside the house. It’s not always some bad headaches or elevated blood pressure that’s causing it.

  • FELICIA GONZALES Mar 13, 2012

    I AM ALMOST 43 AND HAVE LIVED WITH MIGRAINE SINCE I WAS ABOUT 16 MAYBE EARLIER WITH NECK PAIN AND NAUSEA. I NOTICE THAT NO MATTER WHAT I DO, I END UP WITH MY HEAD TILTED BACK IN A RESTING POSITION. EVEN IF I CONSCIOUSLY PUT IT FORWARD, EVENTUALLY, IT ENDS UP BACK. I USE PRUDUCTS AND BALMS WITH CANNIBUS INGREDIENTD THAT WORK ALMOST INSTANTLY FOR THE NECK AND TEMPLES PLUS MASSAGE FROM MY HUSBAND HELPS. BUT MY NEURO AND I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND A SOLUTION FOR THE MIGRAINE AND HE’S MY 20TH NEURO.

  • connie cornmesser Aug 13, 2012

    I previously was attending chiroparactic care for over 20 plus years. Also tried accupuncture and am now doing physical therapy with manual manipulation. This has been on going for 3-4 years. I have also had spinal facet blocks done on both right and left sides of my neck on 3-4-5 upper neck vertabrae about every 6 months. This does give some releif. It keeps from having the burning sensation to just an ache sensation, although it does not last. Unfortunatley with exercise some is good but when you over excert the headache will increase. I am still looking for a happy medium.

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