A common misunderstanding about migraines is that they are just a severe form of a headache. They are actually a neurological condition, meaning that they have a physiologic impact on the brain. Here are a few of the more commonly experienced symptoms:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eye pain
- Severe head pain usually on one side but can affect both sides
- Described as pounding or throbbing
Other Painful Types of Headaches
Another headache type that can be debilitating is cluster headaches. This type of headache affects one side of the head repeatedly and in clusters (episodes that occur within a time span of a few hours or days). The experience is similar to that of drilling on the head, and thankfully they are fairly rare.
The most common type of headache is a tension headache, which occurs when the muscles of the scalp, face, and neck are contracted because of stress.To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.
How to Treat Your Migraines
The recommended treatment for migraines from a family doctor is usually a type of drug called triptans – one of the most commonly prescribed medications for migraines. Listed below are the names of prescriptions under that description:
- Sumatriptan – Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose, Sumavel DosePro, Zecuity
- Rizatriptan – Maxalt or Maalt-MLT
- Zolmitriptan – Zomig or Zomig-ZMT
- Almotriptan - Axert
- Frovatriptan - Frova
- Naratriptan - Amerge
- Eletriptan – Relpax
It’s true that these medications have been proven to work well at providing relief; however, they also include unwanted and sometimes dangerous side effects.
Other suggestions for managing migraines include the following:
- Avoid foods that may trigger migraine pain
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
- Do some relaxation techniques
Here are a few common migraine triggers:
- Fluctuations in hormones that happen around menstruation
- Oral contraceptives such as birth control pills
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Alcoholic beverages
- Too much stress
- Exposure to strong external stimuli such as bright lights, strong odors, or loud noises
- Changes in barometric pressure
- Certain foods or food additives:
- Aged cheeses
- Nitrates used to preserve smoked meats
- Red wine
- Artificial sweeteners
- MSG – monosodium glutamate
- Dairy products
The best way to find out what your migraine triggers are is to keep a journal where you list smells, visual stimulants, stressful situations, foods you eat, and what was happening during your migraine onset. This can help you make connections with certain stimuli that are possibly triggering your migraines. Other things to include in the journal may be stress levels, weather conditions, and activities you were involved in. Once you have found a few of your triggers, you can practice avoiding them as best as possible and hopefully experience a decrease in migraine onset.
Migraines with an Aura
Some people have a specific warning sign that comes on before the pain of a migraine. This can range from a blind spot in one eye to flashing lights to numbness or weakness on one side of the body. It can last several minutes and usually goes away as the head pain begins. Sometimes it lasts the duration of a migraine. These symptoms often mimic the symptoms of a stroke.
The 4 Phases of Migraines
There are typically four phases of migraines, although not everyone experiences all four.
- Prodrome: 60% of people experience this with migraines. It may begin 2 hours to 2 days prior to feeling pain. This phase can involve moodiness, irritability, euphoria or depression, cravings for certain food, tiredness, constipation or diarrhea, stiff neck muscles, and sensitivity to smells or loud noises.
- Aura: This phase does not happen with every migraine. It is usually a visual, sensory, or motor disturbance that happens before or during a headache.
- Pain: Migraine pain is normally moderate to severe in intensity and develops gradually, lasting 4 to 72 hours. Physical activity will usually make it worse. It can be one-sided or bilateral. Bilateral pain is more common in those who do not have an aura. In some cases, people may experience vertigo, confusion, or light-headedness.
- Postdrome: This is the period after a headache. Some people report feeling soreness where a migraine was and have impaired thinking. It is similar to feeling hungover and can come along with head pain, cognitive issues, mood changes, weakness, and gastrointestinal problems.
Help for Migraines from a Natural Source
While it is true that migraines can be caused by a misalignment of the neck bones, the promising news is that there is a natural, pain-free and safe way to correct this problem and even get immediate relief from migraines. Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in the knowledge and adjustment methods that are most effective for the top two bones of the spine. This is where the brainstem is located, which means that problems in the alignment of these bones can result in the sending of inaccurate message to and from the brain. It can also disrupt blood flow and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This makes a perfect situation for migraines to develop.
In our chiropractic office, we use gentle, precise adjustment methods that deliver healing results. Rather than using strong force, we are able to encourage the bones to return to their proper alignment through a comfortable adjustment technique. Returning the upper cervical bones to their correct alignment also restores the proper communication between the brain and body. For many of our patients, we find that correcting the spinal alignment results in a decrease of migraine frequency and severity. Some patients are completely relieved of their migraines. If these results interest you and you would like to know more about how we can help you with your current condition, please contact our office.
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.