Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is there a correlation between car accidents and migraines?

Since my last post, I've had acupuncture visits #2 and #3.

Visit #2 was interesting...and painful. I told the acupuncturists (husband-wife team) that I had a headache, and they put needles in my hand and feet like normal. Then they asked if my headache was going away, and I said no, so they gave it more time and then asked again. I thought to myself, are they really going to keep me here until my headache goes away? Because a few thin needles aren't going to make that happen. I told them I still had a headache, so they took out the needles and said they were going to do a stronger treatment. They put about 15 needles in me - on my feet, legs, hands and head - the sides above my ears, temples, and one in between my eyes right above my nose.

So what does this have to do with car accidents? The husband of the husband-wife team felt my neck and said "oh my" etc. He asked if I'd ever been in a car accident, and I told him yes a bad one when I was a kid - like in 5th or 6th grade - but I wasn't hurt. He said, are you sure? Then he started doing an acupressure/massage type thing that HURT. I could feel it up through my head, and my headache got way worse when he pushed on my neck. Then he lifted my arm and pushed down on a spot between my neck and shoulders and did the same for both sides. It gave me a sharp intense pain. Finally, he took out the needles and put a liquid on my neck that felt and smelled like IcyHot.

He asked how my headache was. IT WAS GONE. I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately, it only stayed gone for 30 minutes; then I got a migraine and had to take drugs.

I'll write more about my acupuncture appointments later, but I'm wondering, is there something to his car accident theory? It was so long ago, and I didn't have a single injury except for a seatbelt burn on my arm, but the car was hit so hard it spun a few times. And I've been in two more accidents within the last few years, although I already had migraines by that point.

I decided to do a Twitter poll to see if other migraine sufferers had been in accidents. A couple of people pointed out that the poll, which is above (and the link is below), wasn't specific enough. It didn't ask, for those who said yes, what happened first - the accident or the migraines. That's a good point and a weakness in the survey; another weakness is the number of votes - 17, which isn't much for a poll. That said, I still find it interesting that the majority of migraine sufferers have had a car accident.

As much as I researched, I could not find a study on the subject. Sure, some people get headaches directly after an accident, but what about years later? And if there is a correlation, what can be done? I personally have seen a chiropractor and physical therapist for my neck/headaches, with no success.

I'm sorry this post leaves so many questions unanswered, but I'd like to hear what other headache sufferers have to say. Do you think there's a correlation between headaches/migraines and past car accidents, and can anything be done about it?