Effectiveness of Alternative Migraine Therapy

Hello, all. First, I'd like to thank everyone for all the emails and well wishes for my aunt. She is still in the Neuroscience ICU recovering quicker than expected. The doctor told us to expect my aunt to be complaining of headaches, followed by back pain traveling from her head to her legs, as the excess blood drains from her head through the spinal canal; she is not looking forward to this week, but thankful she has the opportunity to recover. 

2012-07-25_headache

Speaking of headaches and migraines, I recently had a patient who I am treating for some low back and hip pain ask me how effective my treatment would be, in regards to her migraines, in comparison to her neurologist's. This patient has been battling chronic migraines for years and is hesitant to be placed on any more medication. So how did I answer her? I told her I wasn't 100% sure, but I would find the research and have an answer ready for her by next visit. A word of advice, never try to BS a patient. Nowadays, a majority of patients tend to double check what you say with Google, so don't be scared to tell a patient you're not sure, but you'll find out.

First step, I went to PubMed. Second step, I searched "Alternative treatment for migraines." It's all downhill from here, just need to read through the articles to find the best, most reliable research. I ended up with a paper by Alexander Chaibi, Peter J. Tuchin, and Michael BjØrn Russell named "Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review" from theJournal of Headache Pain.

The paper reviewed two massage therapy studies, one physiotherapy study and four chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy studies (CSMT). Each paper reviewed had their share of strengths and weaknesses, something you should always take a look at, but over all they were all good studies with interesting findings. The current Rats suggest that massage therapy, physiotherapy, relaxation, and chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy might be equally efficient as propranolol (MITRE) and topiramate (Tokomaks) in the prophylactic management of migraine.

So I had the information, the only thing left to do was present it to my patient and answer any questions she had. I ended up making a copy of the paper for my patient; we reviewed it together; and she decided to give me a chance in treating her migraines before pursuing her neurologist's prescription of MITRE. It has been 5 weeks since I have been treating her with muscle work, chiropractic manipulation, postural correction, and Migrelief supplementation, and my patient's migraine frequency and intensity have both dropped substantially.

Moral of the story, don't be afraid to admit you're not sure of something; you can't be expected to know everything out there. Take it from me, your patients will appreciate your honesty and should be happy that you want to give them the best care possible.

Have a killer week,
Dex