Erasing Migraines: An M.D. Turns to Chiropractic

Stress, sleep deprivation and fatigue have been no small component of Dr. Michael Benson’s life. As a fetal surgeon, Benson is often up for 24- to 36-hour stretches at a time looking after patients. He has little time to rest or eat regular, healthy meals. It’s no wonder he has suffered from migraines for years.

Benson is not alone. It’s estimated that 28 million Americans suffer from migraines. As anyone who experiences these intense headaches can tell you, they can be extremely debilitating. Acute pain, possible visual disturbances and nausea, as well as sensitivity to light, sounds and odors can render a person incapable of going about everyday responsibilities, much less performing complicated tasks like surgery.

In order to cope, Benson has used Ibuprofen and heat to manage the pain, but sometimes it doesn’t work. “I used to keep a preloaded syringe of Toradol [a strong, anti-inflammatory pain reliever] in my medicine chest,” he admits, “because once my headaches get really bad, I get nauseated and can’t take anything by mouth. It saved having to go to the ER.”

Having trained as an M.D., Benson confessed that chiropractic treatment wasn’t in his knowledgebase or on his immediate list of pain-relieving measures. In fact, if he hadn’t been visiting his brother, a doctor of chiropractic, when a bad migraine hit, he may never have received chiropractic care. “The Ibuprofen didn’t work, so my brother offered to examine me and adjust my neck,” he says. “When you’re in pain, you’re willing to try anything.” Within 10 to 15 minutes of the adjustment, his migraine had disappeared.

It’s likely that Benson’s body reacts to stress by tensing muscles around the cervical joints in the neck, causing nerves in his neck to become impinged and triggering his migraines. Chiropractic adjustment alleviates this pain by relaxing muscles and promoting a full range of motion in the neck, allowing the headache to subside. And Benson’s positive experience isn’t uncommon. Recent studies at Duke University found that spinal manipulation was almost always immediately effective in relieving headaches originating in the neck and provided longer-lasting relief than commonly prescribed pain medications.

Benson’s migraines probably won’t go away completely without substantial lifestyle changes— changes that could be tough to implement with his profession. Once migraines are an established pattern, they are very difficult to get rid of, explains his brother. But he can work to minimize them with chiropractic care— a solution that doesn’t carry the potential side-effects of over-the-counter and prescription pain medication. Whenever a potentially incapacitating migraine hits and Benson gets an adjustment from his brother, “It always works,” he says.

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  • "This was my first chiropractic visit and I will definitely continue to see Dr. Venessa! The space is beautiful and clean. The person working reception was welcoming, knowledgeable and seemed happy to answer my questions. I was able to complete my paperwork before coming in so there was no wait. Dr. Venessa asked me some questions and did a sort of assessment before my adjustment. She kept me informed of what she would be doing and has a nice bedside manner so nothing seemed awkward. She finished my adjustment and I checked out. All in all I had a great experience in the office but what happened after was even better- my energy increased like crazy! At first I didn’t even consider it might have been from my adjustment. I was just talking with my husband when he asked if I thought it may have been from my chiro appointment so I googled it and apparently that’s common! So again, very happy with my experience and I will be back!"
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  • "Dr. Venessa is great with her patients. She takes the time to address all of your needs. Not only will she adjust you, but she will also give you exercises that you can do that will help. Her staff is very friendly and helpful. They also have 2 massage therapists in the office and are running a great special this month."
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  • "Dr Bartholomew was wonderful in helping me feel better and helping with my shoulder issues. Being an ex football player, she had no issues diagnosing my concerns and was quick to make adjustments that had immediate results.
    She was very considerate of my time and has wonderful bedside manor. You will not be disappointed."
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