Acupuncture for migraine

migraine1If you suffer from migraines, you will know how disabling these headaches can be, especially if they happen frequently. Many sufferers find migraines very disruptive to work and free time — it’s not often convenient to take the evasive action they call for, like lying in a darkened room. However, Western pharmacological treatment often does not bring the results hoped for or causes side-effects. In addition, overuse of painkillers can actually worsen the severity and frequency of headaches (“medication overuse headaches”), and this has recently been recognized as a huge problem.

The good news is that acupuncture can be very effective in treating migraines. A 2009 Cochrane review (an overview of many studies, 22 in this case) found acupuncture to be effective in treating this type of headache. In fact, the studies in this review that compared acupuncture to drug therapy found acupuncture to have better results with fewer side effects. Interestingly, the studies also suggest that acupuncture that does not penetrate the skin (similar to many Japanese techniques in which the needles are inserted only a couple of millimeters), was just as effective as stronger forms of acupuncture.

This is great news for migraine sufferers. Traditional Chinese Medicine is deeply rooted in ancient philosophy, and while reports of the effectiveness of acupuncture date back 200 years, it’s comforting to note that modern research is confirming these clinical observations.


Chiropractic: Myths and misconceptions.

Chiro-Myths-RealityLike all modern healthcare, Chiropractic techniques are constantly changing with the times. Just as your GP no longer applies leeches to you, Chiropractors have updates their techniques for improved results and experiences. Here are some common myths debunked…


Once I see a Chiropractor I will have to keep going back.

Our aim is to help you get rid of your symptoms and also keep them away. We give recommendations as to what would be the best course of treatments to achieve both goals.

It may occur that after a few visits you feel improved but are asked to come back for a follow up treatment, this is because the pain or discomfort is one of the last signs or symptoms to come on and the first to disappear. These signs may have disappeared but the imbalance that caused the problem and hence the pain, may still be there to some degree. If this imbalance that is left over is not corrected it can progress again, and the symptoms will return. At Health In The Bay we incorporate different techniques that have been found to be effective in changing your body out of old patterns, which allows the body to become stable and hence need less treatments overall.

We may also recommend that you return for maintenance. It is a good idea to have occasional maintenance treatments as this helps correct any problems before they become symptomatic, and the earlier they are addressed they quicker they resolve.


Adjustments hurt.

Chiropractic adjustments generally don’t hurt. When having a manual adjustment you may hear a crack, which may be surprising if you haven’t experienced it before. This is not bone rubbing against bone or anything similar, it is just the fluid that naturally sits inside the joint, releasing a gas due to the change in pressure. Using the tool called an Activator is even more gentle. It is a tool that gives a small push to the joint in a specific direction, but no crack is heard. The adjustments themselves don’t hurt, but often you have come to see the chiropractor because of some pain you are experiencing, and as chiropractic is a hands on technique, the chiropractor will be working at the area of pain and hence it may be tender.


Chiropractic adjustments are dangerous.

Chiropractors study at University a minimum of 5 years which includes in-depth study of the anatomy and neurology of the whole body as well as adjusting techniques. With this knowledge any risk is minimised. There is a very small risk with manual neck adjustments, but this is only in those already predisposed to circulation problems. By taking a thorough history we can ascertain if there is some risk, and adapt the treatment accordingly. We also conduct screen tests prior to adjusting, if this indicates a potential risk we will not perform the adjustment. If we are happy there is no risk, but you are still not comfortable with the idea of being adjusted manually we can use a different method that does not involve cracking.

There is also a risk of mild soreness after a treatment, which is due to the body changing and adjusting. This is usually only with the first treatment as the body is getting used to these changes, and would only last one to two days.


Chiropractors only treat the spine.

Chiropractors study the anatomy and adjustment techniques of the whole body. It is true that the majority of what we treat is the spine, but that is not all we treat. We commonly treat other non-spinal joints, which can be symptomatic due to their relationship with the spine, or due to injuries. Common problems treated include RSI of the wrist, shoulder pain or stiffness, sprained ankles, or wrists, shin splints, generalised knee pain (often noticed when walking up and down stairs) unexplained knee swelling, dropped arches of the feet, plantar fasciitis, and more.


Back Pain and Chiropractic

Chiropractic Back PainThe back or spinal column is the central support structure of the body, and is therefore crucial to our functioning ñ most especially our mobility. The nerves that radiate out from the spinal cord are essential to the operation of every muscle, nerve and organ in the body ñ so if they become trapped or pinched in any way, they can affect our posture and movement significantly. This is often what happens when the discs that cushion the spinal column become worn or rupture. Other sources of back pain involve injury or strains to the muscles of the back ñ often from unusual movements or over stretching. Lifting and carrying with poor techniques also places strain on back muscles, especially if the knees are not bent, and the back ends up taking all the stress. Typical symptoms of a back problem include headaches, localised pain in the neck or back which may radiate to the shoulders, arms or legs. Chiropractic treatment is a popular alternative to invasive surgery or conventional medication, and is a recognised profession by the medical establishment.


What is Chiropractic Treatment?

Chiropractic treatments and chiropractors are primarily concerned with the alignment of the spine, and to a lesser extent the skull and pelvis, using a range of techniques to adjust it. This is designed to allow the nervous system to function without impediment. Techniques used include hand pressure and gravity as well as specialised equipment, including adjusting tables and wedges. A chiropractic adjustment utilises force applied to a joint, with the intention of encouraging normal motion and function. Chiropractors are health professional that typically undergo tertiary education, are regulated by government and must be registered to practice ñ so they are qualified to deal with a range of back problems.


How Can Chiropractic Treatment Help Back Pain?

A holistic assessment of the patient is first conducted to determine what may be the origin of the condition or ailment. A treatment plan is then devised which may consist of physical treatment or adjustment, exercises and advice on preventative measures that can be followed. Adjustment methods may involve a range of techniques, including quick or slow movements, and constant pressure. Depending on the condition or ailment, this is typically an ongoing program of supportive care, with repeated visits until the problem recedes.

If you are considering chiropractic treatment as a therapy for your back pain, ensure that you consult a trained and qualified chiropractor.

How does chiropractic work?

Health In The Bay rainbowOur Musculoskeletal system (ie our muscles and skeleton) is what allows us to stand, be upright and move. Musculoskeletal symptoms are what we often feel as pain in muscles and joints, and as stiffness. Through everyday stress on our bodies, such as poor posture, sustained work postures, minor bumps and falls and strains, our musculoskeletal system can become unbalanced.
This means that the relationship between the muscle and skeleton is not ideal, and this system then does not work efficiently or ergonomically, resulting in these symptoms of pain and mucsle spasms.

Chiropractic is the art and science of determining where these imbalances lie, where they have originated and why they have occurred. Then with the use of simple techniques applied to the muscles or joints, the body is able to rebalance and so function more normally and therefore function without any pain or muscle tightness.