Published in the volume 3 issue of the 2020 Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic are the results of a case study showing the resolution of migraine headaches in a chiropractic patient who had previously had Harrington rods surgically implanted into her spine.
A Harrington rod is a surgical device implanted next to the spine. The study begins by describing “Harrington rods are titanium or stainless steel spinal implants used to treat spinal instabilities or spinal deformities, such as severe scoliotic curves.” Developed in 1953, the Harrington rod was widely used from the 1960s into the 1990s.
This study states that, although there is limited scientific information that would link the implantation of a Harrington rods to migraine headaches, the authors suggested that the change in musculature could create events that may affect the length and severity of a migraine.
In this case, a 20-year-old woman sought chiropractic care in the hopes of getting relief of her migraine headaches. Her history noted that she was diagnosed by her medical physician with migraines at the age of 13. Shortly thereafter, she had received a Harrington rod fusion surgery which fused her spine from the base of her neck down to the bottom of her middle back.
The woman had sought out chiropractic care previously for one visit only. She reported that she did get some relief but decided to pursue other treatments. These other treatments included multiple over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications, which only gave her minimal relief. At the time of her recent visit to the chiropractor, the woman was experiencing migraine headaches daily.
A chiropractic examination did show that the woman had a reduction in her neck range of motion and tight neck muscles. Immediately after her first chiropractic adjustment, the woman did show an increase in her neck range of motion. She reported that she felt relief from the tension she had in her neck and head. She was also given home stretching exercises for her neck.
After the second chiropractic visit, the woman reported that her migraines had decreased in frequency from one per day to only one in a week. By the sixth week of chiropractic care, the woman reported that she had not had a migraine for three weeks.
The authors of the study summed up this case by stating, “This case demonstrates a favorable reduction in migraine frequency following a 6-week episode of chiropractic care in a person with a Harrington rod fusion.”