Migraines affect an estimated 38 million people, including children, in the United States alone. Worldwide, that total jumps to 1 billion. Migraine ranks number three among common illnesses in the world and number six among disabling illnesses. More than 90% of people who suffer from migraines cannot function normally or work during an attack.
A migraine attack is often debilitating and extremely painful. It is also challenging to stop once it starts. The best treatment for migraines is to prevent them from ever occurring. Several methods work for some people, but chiropractic is a popular preventative measure that many people have found to help them be migraine-free.
A severe headache is the first thing people think of regarding migraines, but there are other symptoms which include:
- Pain located on one or both sides of the head
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
- Pain that is pulsing or throbbing
- Lightheaded and possibly fainting
- Hypersensitivity to smell, taste, or touch
- Loss of motor function or, in more severe cases, partial paralysis (such as with hemiplegic migraine)
Some migraineurs experience auras before an attack, usually around 20 to 60 minutes. This can give the patient time to take specific measures to stop the attack or minimize it. However, it is still the right course of action to incorporate certain activities into your lifestyle to prevent migraines.
Causes of Migraines
Doctors don’t know the exact causes of migraines, but research does indicate that certain triggers can initiate an attack. Some of the more common migraine triggers include:
- Foods Processed foods, salty foods, aged cheeses, and chocolate.
- Beverages Coffee and other caffeinated drinks as well as alcohol (particularly wine)
- Hormonal changes occur mainly in women, usually during menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy.
- Food additives Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, as well as certain dyes.
- Stress Environmental, stress at home or work, or illness that puts strain on the body.
- Sleep problems Getting too much sleep or not getting enough sleep.
- Sensory stimuli Sun glare and bright lights, strong smells like secondhand smoke and perfume, and specific tactile stimulation.
- Medication Vasodilators (nitroglycerin) and oral contraceptives.
- Physical exertion Intense exercise or other physical exertion.
- Jet lag
- Weather changes
- Skipping meals
- Change in barometric pressure
Some research also shows a possible serotonin component. Serotonin is integral to regulating pain in the nervous system.
During a migraine attack, serotonin levels drop. Migraine Treatments
Migraine treatments are classified as either abortive or preventative. Abortive medications primarily treat symptoms, usually pain relief. They are taken once a migraine attack has already begun and are designed to stop it. Preventative medications are typically taken daily to reduce the frequency of migraines and the severity of attacks. Most of these medications can only be obtained by prescription, and many have unpleasant side effects.
A migraine specialist can recommend medications and other treatments, including acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupressure, herbal remedies, and lifestyle changes. Adequate sleep, relaxation exercises, and dietary changes may also help.
Chiropractic for Migraines
A chiropractor will use a variety of techniques when treating migraines. Spinal manipulation of one of the most common, usually focusing on the cervical spine. By bringing the body into balance, it can relieve the pain and prevent future migraines. They may also recommend vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements and lifestyle changes, which usually eliminate triggers.
One migraine study found that 72% of sufferers benefitted from chiropractic treatment with noticeable or substantial improvement. This is proof that chiropractic is an effective treatment for relieving pain and preventing migraines.
Chiropractic Migraine Relief
The information herein on "How Chiropractic Can Help Prevent Migraine Headaches" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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