A migraine is one of the most common headache types. They are disabling and often happen repeatedly. Migraines are moderate to severe in intensity and are known for throbbing and pounding head pain. In two-thirds of the cases, they are only on one side of the head.
Migraines may be felt anywhere on the head, face, and neck. They are associated with sensitivity to certain odors, sound, and light. Nausea is very commonly seen, along with vomiting in some cases. This often gets worse when you move, resulting in having to lie still until a migraine passes. They have often been compared to alcohol-related hangovers.
When migraine pain is felt in the face, it can be mistaken for sinus pressure. If it is felt in the neck, you may think it is a flare-up of arthritis or a muscle spasm. Sometimes a migraine is accompanied by watery eyes, nasal stuffiness, and a sense of pressure in the face. This leads to many people thinking they have a sinus headache when it is actually a migraine.
As many as 25 percent of people with head pain have what is called an aura happen before a migraine. This is a temporary neurological syndrome that slowly progresses and then stops as quickly as it starts. The most common auras are visual disturbances: zig-zag lines, flashing lights, or blind spots. Some people have numbness, confusion, trouble speaking, vertigo, and similar stroke-like symptoms. You may have an aura and no head pain that follows.
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Many people who suffer from migraine headaches feel as if no one really understands them. Here are a few common myths about migraines that will hopefully help your friends and family understand you better.
- Myth #1: A migraine is just a really bad headache. Because everyone has headaches and you feel pain in your head, it is the first thing people assume. And, yes, you are experiencing head pain, but it is a symptom of a neurological disease. A migraine is very different from a headache. It can include your whole body. It has been compared to stubbing your toe but the pain lasts for a long, long time. It is very important to educate your friends, family, and coworkers (including your boss) about migraines and why they are not just bad headaches. You may even want to get a note from your doctor and keep it in your personnel file so as not to encounter problems at work.
- Myth #2: A migraine is a psychological disorder. This is simply not true. It is a neurological disease. These are very different. Migraines are much more complex than most people realize. For one thing, they are not just “in your head.” As stated above, they can encompass your entire body. Why are head pain so painful? Well, a lot happens during a migraine attack. For one thing, the blood vessels in your brain temporarily expand, leading to severe pain. This is often in a specific place or on one side of the head. A migraine attack can also cause vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound, and smells.
- Myth #3: A migraine does not interfere with your social life or work. Migraines do impact your social life and your work schedule. Even important work deadlines or special family occasions can be missed due to the pain of migraines. Sometimes, the only thing you can do when it comes to migraine pain is lie in a dark room until it subsides. Moving or even talking can make the pain so much worse. If this happens when you have a special outing planned, you are going to have missed the outing. Educating friends and family ahead of time can hopefully ease some of the tension.
- Myth #4: If you have a migraine, you are on your own. There is some truth to this one, as your local family doctor is not a migraine expert. However, there are experts available to help you find out what is going on. When you do make an appointment, be as specific as possible to help the person get a clear picture as to what is really going on. One kind of expert that may be able to give you the relief you are craving is an upper cervical chiropractor. We have been trained to look at the root of what might be causing your migraine.
How Upper Cervical Chiropractors Can Help with Migraines
Migraines have been linked to a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. The C1 and C2 vertebrae are susceptible to misaligning due to their shape and mobility. Anything from a simple trip and fall to a serious car wreck can be to blame for a misalignment. These bones lie in the same area as the brainstem. If they misalign, a number of things can take place. They can put undue pressure on the brainstem, causing it to send improper signals to the brain. Another problem that may occur is these bones can act as a type of blockage hindering the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and blood flow from leaving and entering the brain. This is the perfect scenario for migraines to occur.
In order to realign these bones, we use a gentle method that does not require us to pop or crack the spine or neck. Rather, we encourage the bones to move back into place on their own. Once corrected, healing can take place and blood flow can be stabilized again. This leads to many patients seeing an improvement in the frequency and severity of migraines. Some see them go away entirely.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lucas Watterson or Dr. Amy Watterson call our Morgantown office at 304-292-7740 You can also click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.