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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 23, 1996, Vol. 14, Issue 20

Subluxation, Headache, Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Chiropractic

By Darryl Curl
This month we will finish our discussion on subluxation, myofascial pain syndrome and headache (the first article ran in the August 15, 1996 issue of "DC").

Myofascial Pain Headache: Are Simple Interventions Available for the Chronic Sufferer?

In a word, yes.

Mind you, intervention does not mean cure. So why not discuss cures instead of interventions? Basically, it is because our understanding of the headache phenomena is far from complete and we know very little about curing this nagging clinical condition. Consequently, we discuss headache in terms of selecting an intervention in the hope we will stumble upon a cure or, more likely, a measure of relief.

Fortunately, we know far more about interventions than we do of cures. First and foremost we know how to judge the risk-to-benefit ratio of our interventions. For example, we reserve drilling holes in the skull for very specific headache problems, while we recommend aspirin for almost any headache. Prescribed drugs, despite their popularity, are dispensed in quantities which defy the risk-to-benefit ratio. Our clinics are stuffed with patients who suffer the unwanted effects derived from the drugs used to treat headache.

"Simple is best" is the rule to follow when selecting an intervention for most of our headache sufferers. No matter what your chiropractic philosophy may be, the message for all of us is quite simple: Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is one of the most common ailments of humankind, and this condition has a propensity to linger without specific treatment. Aside from headache, MPS causes all sorts of aches and pains ranging from somatovisceral disorders to garden variety muscle pain. Of all the clinical conditions I see in my practice, I find MPS the most fascinating to treat.

Interventions can be divided into two main groups: doctor-based and patient-based. Manipulation is a typical example of a doctor-based intervention. Aspirin is a patient-based intervention.

One of my favorite patient-based interventions is a simple intraoral device designed to balance and cushion the dental bite. When combined with chiropractic therapy and a simple home care routine I find tension-based headache sufferers obtain great relief -- occasionally to the point of feeling cured.

With each article I encourage you to write the questions you may have, commentaries on patient care, or thoughts to share with your colleagues, to me at the following address:

2330 Golden West Lane
Norco, CA 91760

Please include your return address.

Darryl Curl, DDS, DC
Norco, California


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