Living with migraines makes day-to-day life challenging. Picture yourself waking up and getting ready to have a great workday. All of a sudden, you begin to see flashing lights in front of you, but you know there are not really any lights flickering. After a while, an unbearable headache begins. This is not what you had looked forward to for the day. You call your office to cancel your meetings and head back to bed, hoping the pain subsides as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the pain lingers all day, leaving you exhausted afterward. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, read on to find out how our migraine patients are finding relief from their migraines through upper cervical chiropractic care.
Migraine Triggers to Avoid
You may try to recall what causes your migraine episodes to occur. You have likely encountered one of these common triggers:
- Certain foods and drinks
- Alcohol consumption
- Changes in weather
- High stress
- Not getting enough sleep
- Low blood sugar
- Improper posture
What Are Migraines?
Migraines are a neurological condition known to cause pulsating or throbbing head pain that ranges from moderate to severe in intensity. You may feel it on one side or both sides of your head. It can get worse if you do strenuous exercises, or expose yourself to certain smells, bright lights, or loud noises. It may also come with nausea and vomiting, visual disturbances, and dizziness.
Migraine Facts to Keep in Mind
People of all ages may experience migraines, but they often begin during puberty. After the age of 50, migraines seem to improve or go away.
Migraines have two categories related to frequency:
- Chronic Migraines – you have more than fifteen headache days per month over a three-month time period
- Episodic Migraines – you experience less than 15 headache days per month
As many as 39 million people in the United States suffer from migraines, while the figure is at 1 billion worldwide.
Migraines have been reported to run in families. More than 50% of those living with migraines have a family member who also has migraines.
How Women Experience Migraines
Women are three times more prone to getting migraines than men due to their fluctuating estrogen levels. Some women have a menstrual migraine, a migraine that occurs before, during, or just after menstruation. During the third trimester of pregnancy, estrogen levels of women are fairly stable, which explains why fewer migraines arise in this period. Migraines tend to increase after a pregnant woman gives birth, when estrogen levels decrease significantly.
As menopause kicks in and estrogen levels increase and decrease inconsistently, women experience a worsening of their migraines. Those on estrogen therapy and taking oral contraceptives may also have worse migraines and a higher stroke risk, especially women who have migraines with aura.
Medications and Self-Care for Migraine Sufferers
Doctors often prescribe medications to help prevent the onset of a migraine episode or relieve its pain once it occurs. Here is a list of some of the prescription drugs for migraines:
- Anticonvulsants — topiramate, Divalproex
- Beta-blockers — propranolol
- Analgesics with caffeine, an opioid, and a barbiturate
You can also adopt some home remedies to improve your migraine pain. Keeping a migraine diary helps you record what you are doing or eating before a migraine attack. Jotting down information such as foods you eat, weather conditions, stress levels, and physical activities assists you in recognizing a pattern and in figuring out your personal triggers. From there, you can work to avoid them for fewer and less severe migraines.
We also recommend behavioral intervention. This means applying biofeedback, relaxation techniques, and stress management techniques to prevent stress from triggering a migraine.
A Natural Technique to Help with Migraines
Keep in mind that migraines will continue to persist until you get to the root cause. One of the triggers we listed above was improper posture. Migraines can develop from spinal misalignments due to poor posture or a head or neck injury. It has been the case for many people. When the bones of the upper cervical spine misalign, specifically the C1 or C2 vertebrae, it can lead to a series of effects in the body and eventually result in migraines.
The C1 and C2 serve as protectors of the brainstem. However, they are also vulnerable to misaligning due to their mobility and location. If they move out of place, the following things can happen:
- Distorted communication between the body and the brain via the brainstem
- Malfunction of the brainstem due to pressure from the misaligned vertebrae
- Obstruction in the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid to and from the brain
- Lack of blood to bring oxygen to the brain
- Irritation of nerves and muscles in the upper cervical spine
All these factors can lead to migraines. Upper cervical chiropractic care finds the small misalignments in the upper neck vertebrae and uses a gentle technique to adjust them.
Providing Relief for Migraine Sufferers
Take the study involving a 16-year-old girl who had migraines since she was a child as proof of the potential of upper cervical chiropractic care in treating and preventing migraines. After getting the help of an upper cervical chiropractor and receiving adjustments to her neck, she was able to stop taking migraine medications. The frequency of her migraines and headaches reduced significantly, and they became less severe.
If you are looking for relief from your migraines, you’re in the right place. Call us to learn more about how we can help you.