Some people think migraines are just severe headaches. Actually, migraines are a result of specific physiologic changes within the brain that lead to severe head pain. Some of the most common symptoms of migraines are:
- 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 Headaches That Cause Severe Pain
Not all headaches are migraines. Also, migraines are not the only condition to cause debilitating and severe headaches. Cluster headaches are extremely severe and only affect one side of the head in repeated clusters. This pain is referred to as drilling and can often be worse than migraine pain. Cluster headaches are less common than migraines.
Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches, and they happen when the muscles of the scalp, face, and neck are contracted due to stress.
Caring for Migraines
- 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
While these medications have been proven to provide some relief, it is important to remember they often come with unwanted and dangerous side effects.
Another way to care for migraines was reported on from CBS News. The study was focusing on the neck as the researchers pointed out that a misaligned vertebra can cause migraines. The way they recommend to care for this, according to the study, is rather invasive. It involves an injection of anesthetic, with the aid of x-rays, into the spinal joints of the neck to temporarily block the nerves causing migraines. The procedure does need to be repeated once it wears off.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines download our complimentary e-book Natural and Drug-Free Ways to End Your Migraines by clicking the image below.
Other ways to combat migraines that may be suggested are:
- Avoiding foods that may trigger migraine pain
- Eating a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
- Doing some relaxation techniques
What are some 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
It is recommended by the majority of migraine professionals that you keep a migraine journal. This can help you to identify what is happening around the time the migraines are occurring and how to avoid these things. You may want to include what foods you were eating, what type of stress you were enduring, the weather conditions, and what type of activities you were participating in. These can help you to see a pattern and reduce the triggers of your migraines.
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. They are:
- Prodrome: This occurs in about 60% of people with migraines. It can begin anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days before the pain begins. It may include moodiness, irritability, euphoria or depression, cravings for certain food, tiredness, constipation or diarrhea, stiff neck muscles, and sensitivity to smells or loud noises.
- Aura: As mentioned earlier, this is usually a visual, sensory, or motor disturbance that occurs before or during a headache. It does not happen with all migraines.
- Pain: The pain of migraines is usually moderate to severe in intensity and comes on gradually. It is often made worse by physical activity. It can be one-sided or bilateral. Bilateral pain is more common in those who do not have an aura. The pain usually lasts for 4 to 72 hours. Some people experience vertigo, confusion, or light-headedness.
- Postdrome: This is the period after a headache. Some 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.
Finding Help for Migraines
As mentioned previously, migraines can occur if there is a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, particularly the C1 and C2 vertebrae. This is something that upper cervical chiropractors have been aware of for many years now. We focus our attention on making sure these bones are in proper alignment. A misalignment in this area of the neck can place pressure on the brainstem and cause it to send improper signals to the brain. Another thing that occurs with these types of misalignments is that blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid flow is hindered. This is the perfect scenario for migraines to occur.
Using a gentle, calculated method, we are able to encourage the bones to move back into place without popping or cracking the spine. This restores communication and blood flow between the brain and body. Once this is corrected, migraines often become much less of a problem or may go away entirely.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Laurel Griffin call 515-224-1093 or go to http://info.precisionchirowest.com/west-des-moines-chiropractor-consultation/