A scientific study published in the February 2010 issue of, The Spine Journal, from the North American Spine Society offered future evidence of how chiropractic helps headaches. The study was conducted at Western States Chiropractic College by the Dean of Research, Dr. Mitchell Haas, who is also a faculty member of that institution.
In this study a total of 80 participants who were suffering from a specific form of headaches, known as cervicogenic headache (CGH), were separated into different groups. These groups received either 8 or 16 visits consisting of either chiropractic care or massage. The researchers referred to the chiropractic care as "spinal manipulation" (SMT), and listed the massage as LT for light manipulation. In addition to these groups, an additional number of participants received no care at all and were used as a control group for comparison.
In the two groups that received chiropractic care, the procedures were described as " high velocity low amplitude spinal manipulation". Care was only rendered for either 8 visits or 16 visits. The results of this care was compared with participants who received a light massage on either 8 visits or 16 visits.
To grade the changes the researchers used a modified version of the Von Korff pain and disability scale, which is a standard scientific way of measuring pain and rating it on a scale from 10 to 100. The researchers also noted the number of headaches and the amount of medication that the participants took because of the headaches. Information was collected every 4 weeks for a period of 24 weeks.
The results showed a significant decrease in pain for the group that received chiropractic care over the group that did not receive any care at all. Both the groups that received chiropractic showed an approximate 50 percent decrease in the number of cervicogenic headaches as well as a decrease in severity.
The groups that received massage also showed improvement over the control group, but that improvement was significantly less than the group that received chiropractic care. The researchers wrote in their conclusion, "Clinically important differences between SMT (spinal manipulative therapy, aka chiropractic adjustments) and a control intervention were observed favoring SMT."