A case study published in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics records the case of a young girl suffering from migraine headaches being helped by chiropractic care. In addition to migraines, the patient also received help with sinus congestion and the grinding of teeth.
The study begins by reporting that migraine headaches are the second most common cause of chronic recurrent headache in school children with a prevalence ranging from 3.2 to 14.5%. Migraines in children are different than adult migraines in that the episodes of children’s migraines are typically of shorter duration and occur on both sides of the head.
The International Headache Society has a list of five criteria for the classification of pediatric migraine without aura. These are:
- A minimum of 5 attacks fulfilling features B to D
- Headache attack lasting from 2 to 72 hours
- Headache has at least 2 of the following 4 features:
- Unilateral (frontal/temporal) location commonly bilateral in young children
- Pulsating quality
- Moderate to severe pain intensity
- Aggravated by or causing avoidance of routine physical activity
- During the headache at least one of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Photophobia and phonophobia (may be inferred from their behavior)
- Not attributed to another disorder
In this case, a 6-year-old girl who was suffering from frequent migraines without aura was brought to the chiropractor. She had been suffering with migraines rated as 5 out of ten, three times per week for the past 6 months. The young girl described the migraine as a diffuse pounding sensation behind her forehead and she felt slightly nauseated. Her parents also reported that their child often ground her teeth at night and was suffering with chronic sinus congestion year round.
Six months after the start of her headaches, a chiropractic examination was performed and care was started. During the first month of care, the child was able to discontinue the ibuprofen she had been taking for her condition. The pain had reduced to a level of two out of ten and the frequency dropped to one headache per week.
Unfortunately, the girl and her family moved further away from the chiropractor and her care was discontinued. During the interruption in care, the girl had a flair-up of headaches which sent her to the hospital and medication was resumed. Several weeks later, her family decided to drive the hour-plus to return to her chiropractor for care.
After the resumption of care, the girl continued to improve to the point where she only experienced occasional mild headaches that did not interfere with her schoolwork or sports activities. Her chiropractic care continued and she was able to discontinue the headache medications. Additionally, her parents reported that their daughter did not grind her teeth as much at night and she wasn’t complaining of mild congestion after going to the pool or playing outside.