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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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Review By Our Satisfied Patient

  • "Thank you so much Dr. Sarah Sabo!!! After having my first chiropractic adjustment with you today I feel like someone flipped a light switch on inside my body and electrified everything. It feels like my body woke up and everything started communicating to each other. I can breathe easier, my hips and sacrum feel like they are moving properly, my back mid-back and shoulders aren't nearly as achy and painful as they were, and my neck feels brand new. I feel blood pulsing through my veins in a way I haven't felt in who knows how long. I feel my body changing on the cellular level. I honestly can not thank you enough and can hardly wait to see you again! Thank you for your down-to-earth personality, mindful approach, your knowledge, skillfulness, encouragement, and your hard work! I am spreading the word about you and your practice!!! Have a great day!!! See you soon! ;-D"
    Jill B