A new health care technique known as IUCCA
Upper Cervical Chiropractic has proven to
be remarkably effective in the treatment
of migraine headaches. Jennifer, a 44-year-old
Boulder art teacher, struggled with migraines
for many years before she found Upper Cervical
Chiropractic. "I had migraines for ten years.
They started during a difficult pregnancy.
After my daughter was born, the migraines
increased and became a predictable event
every month around my menstrual cycle. I
tried every possible medication physicians
offered but the migraines increased to twice
a month. I felt very helpless," she said.
Jennifer's migraines were later corrected
by IUCCA Upper Cervical Care. "After I lost
a month of work from consecutive migraines,
a friend told me about Dr. Elster's care.
A series of x-rays, several adjustments,
and the Doctor's encouragement were all
it took to eliminate these debilitating
headaches," she said. Jennifer has been
migraine-free for over a year.
affect approximately 26 million Americans--
70 percent of them women. Eight million
sufferers are children and adolescents,
resulting in over one million lost school
days each year. Migraine sufferers miss
an average of four workdays a year and pay
a large percentage of the four billion dollars
spent each year on over-the-counter pain
relievers. It is estimated that 150 million
workdays are lost annually due to migraines
(Mayo Clinic Women's Health Source, August
is a disorder of the nervous system (brain,
spinal cord, and nerves) that causes recurring
headaches. These headaches are characterized
by pain that usually occurs on only one
side of the head and is accompanied by symptoms
such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to
light and sound, and tenderness of the scalp.
The pain can move from one part of the head
to another or down into the neck and shoulder
and can last for anywhere from several hours
to several days. Migraines are usually disabling,
and once the headache goes away the person
feels tired and irritable and has difficulty
concentrating (American Medical Association
Physician Select Reference Library, 1997).
to medical research, the exact cause of
migraine headaches is not completely understood
but has been linked to an overly sensitive
nervous system. Migraine headaches occur
when changes in brain chemistry cause inflammation
of nerves and blood vessels around the brain.
Current medical treatment for migraines
is medication targeted to reduce the inflammation
of nerves and blood vessels once the headaches
have started (American Medical Association
Physician Select Reference Library, 1997).
However, no drug exists which corrects the
original nervous system irritation and prevents
future headaches. Jami, a 23-year-old Boulder
resident, tried all the medications available.
"Since junior high I had suffered through
daily headaches and had taken many strong
drugs prescribed by a neurologist with no
success," she said. "This spring, I found
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and am happy
to say that I am headache-free!" After Upper
Cervical Chiropractic care, Jami has been
free from migraines and medications for
IUCCA UPPER CERVICAL CHIROPRACTIC WORKS
Upper Cervical Chiropractic works by correcting
irritation to the nervous system, the original
cause of migraine headaches. Misalignments
in the vertebrae of the upper cervical spine
(upper neck), cause irritation to the nerves
traveling between the brain and spinal cord
and to the blood vessels traveling to the
head. By correcting the vertebrae in the
upper neck, migraines can be corrected and
prevented. Typical IUCCA Upper Cervical
care involves an initial spinal exam, specific
x-rays of the upper neck, computerized spinal
scans known as Computerized Infrared Thermography
to measure nervous system irritation, and
specific adjustments by hand to correct
the misaligned vertebrae in the upper neck.
of misalignments to the spinal vertebrae
include traumas, auto accidents, sports
injuries, bike and ski falls, and poor posture.
Liz, age 28, a Boulder hair stylist, did
not have trouble with migraine headaches
until she took up snowboarding. "I began
having migraines during the last five years
after head-first crashes while snowboarding,"
she said. "Within two weeks of IUCCA Upper
Cervical Care, my symptoms began to diminish.
Within a month, I was able to stop taking
my daily medication because the migraines
stopped," says Liz. She has been migraine-free
for the past eight months.
HIT WOMEN HARDER
to a 1996 national study, migraine headaches
have a significant impact on the lives of
female sufferers in the areas of self-esteem,
professional development and family and
social life. Thirty-three percent of female
sufferers with children reported that migraine
has had a negative impact on their relationship
with their children. A majority of these
mothers reported that they could not engage
in activities with children during a migraine
attack ("New Study Shows Migraine Hits Women
Harder", Research Triangle Park, N.C., Sept.
In addition, one-third of female migraine
sufferers in the study reported that migraine
headaches affected their ability to control
their lives and that they live in fear of
their next migraine attack. Kathryn, a 23-year-old
University of Colorado student, agreed with
these feelings of hopelessness and loss
of control. "I began having migraines when
I was seven years old and tried drugs, biofeedback
and massages but nothing seemed to prevent
the headaches," she explained. "I began
to accept the fact that I would have a migraine
two times a month for the rest of my life."
After Upper Cervical Chiropractic care,
she "... rarely gets even a mild headache,
let alone a severe migraine!"
PREVALENCE IN CHILDREN
Another recent study showed that prevalence
of migraine headaches in school age children
has tripled from 1.9 percent in 1974 to
5.7 percent in 1992. Because migraines typically
begin during childhood, this condition may
have a harmful impact on a child's future
growth and productivity. "A history of migraine
may set children up for a lifetime of underachievement,"
noted Richard Lipton, MD, a board member
of AASH (Headache, Journal of the American
Association for the Study of Headache, 1996).
Tina, age 26, attributed her ability to
complete her education and become a successful
doctor to Upper Cervical Chiropractic. "Without
Upper Cervical Chiropractic, I would not
have been able to finish school because
my migraines were running back to back and
lasting three weeks each. My first upper
cervical adjustment stopped my migraine
immediately, and today I live without the
fear of migraines and have a career that
Dr. Erin Elster is an IUCCA Upper Cervical
Specialist. She is currently the only IUCCA
Upper Cervical Specialist in Colorado and
practices in Boulder. She is a graduate
of the University of California, Berkeley,
and Palmer College of Chiropractic, Iowa.
For further information, please call (303)
442-5911 or browse her web site: www.erinelster.com