Migraines affect over 37 million people in the United States, causing people discomfort in their daily lives. Although most associate migraines as a severe form of headache, they also fit into the neurological incident category. These happen when a change or disturbance in your environment happens, like hunger, insomnia, and stress, resulting in a person's body having trouble dealing with the information and responding with a migraine.
Migraines involve severe head pain, throbbing on the sides of the head, nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, and 'auras,' warning signs of an oncoming migraine attack. However, a person doesn't need to experience all of these for a headache to be considered migraines.
If you're one of the many people that have tried all treatments for the debilitating pain, you've probably settled with popping pain pill after pill to relieve symptoms, leading to unwanted adverse side effects. Chiropractic care offers better natural treatment alternatives, providing substantial benefits aside from treating migraines. Research studies have shown that chiropractic therapy can also improve people's overall quality of life suffering from migraines.
But before delving too deep, it pays to know more about migraines, its causes, and symptoms to help you see what exactly you're dealing with.
What is a Migraine?
Migraines are recurrent headaches that provide a 'throbbing' sensation on either side of a person's aside alongside nausea, disturbed vision, light or noise sensitivity, and vertigo. These can last for a few hours to several days, with migraine sufferers experiencing an 'aura' or visual symptoms before a migraine attack commences. Individuals may see flashing lights around them, blind spots or have tingling on one side of the face.
A person may start experiencing migraine attacks before the age of 30, and these tend to be hereditary, which means it can run in your family. Migraine episodes are entirely random, with some individuals experiencing it a couple of times each month, with some only having attacks once or twice per year.
Some migraine causes are chemical imbalance in the brain, hormonal changes, excessive alcohol consumption, or certain medications' side effects. These can also relate to spinal misalignment. Either way, if you're experiencing recurrent migraines, it's best to visit a chiropractor as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Migraines
Although migraine sufferers mostly experience having migraine attacks during the stage of early adulthood, it can also happen during childhood and adolescence. Symptoms that individuals experience undergo four phases, including prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome. However, it's worth noting that not everyone who has migraines will go through all stages.
A couple of days before a migraine attack, a person may experience subtle changes in their daily life that warn of an oncoming migraine. These changes include mood changes (either depression or extreme happiness), constipation, food cravings, neck stiffness, frequent urination, increased thirst, and excessive yawning.
These auras are usually the visions or symptoms that migraine sufferers experience right before the attack. Auras are reversible symptoms that happen in the nervous system, and they're typically visual but may also provide other physical disturbances. Each one usually starts slow but gradually builds up over several minutes to an hour.
Examples of conditions or feelings you may experience during an aura include:
- Visual phenomena, such as seeing bright spots, blinking or flashing lights, and different floating shapes
- Temporary loss of vision
- Tingling or' pins and needles' sensations along your arm or leg
- Trouble speaking
- Hearing nonexisting noises or music
- Uncontrollable jerking and other movements
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body
Migraines can last between 4 hours to 3 days if left untreated. The rate of migraine recurrence that individuals experience varies from person to person. They can also occur several times a month or once a year. During the migraine attack, you're most likely to experience pain on one or both sides of your head, a throbbing or pulsing sensation, sensitivity to light, sounds, smell, or touch, and nausea or vomiting.
Post migraine episode, you may feel drained, confused, or just done for the day. Some individuals report feeling exhilarated. But after an attack, it's best to keep your head movement to a minimum as sudden jerking can bring the pain back briefly.
If you're experiencing any of the symptoms or think you're at a particular phase of a migraine attack, get help. It's best to consult with a professional chiropractor like doctor Jacob Tucker to get the appropriate chiropractic care you need.
Causes and Risk Factors of Migraines
There's no established cause of migraines, but most physicians think that it happens because of the imbalance of certain brain chemicals. The trigeminal nerve in your head that runs through your mouth and eyes help you feel different sensations, giving pain a steady pathway. A chemical called serotonin may decrease at the beginning of a migraine, and the trigeminal nerve releases chemicals called neurotransmitters to travel through the path towards your brain, causing pain.
Although migraine attacks happen randomly and can affect any person of any age, you may be more likely to experience this severe form of headache if someone in your family gets migraine headaches since the condition is hereditary.
Other causes include gender since studies have proved that women are three times more likely to experience migraines than men and your age since you're more likely to get your first migraines during your teenage years. Migraines tend to peak in a person's early 30s and gradually become less severe later in life.
How to Avoid a Migraine Before It Happens
Besides knowing the symptoms and causes, making changes to your routine or lifestyle can minimize your chances of having migraine attacks. To help you out, here are five ways you can avoid getting migraines before it happens.
- Pay Attention to What You Eat - It's best to know which foods and additives can trigger migraines to help you avoid extreme discomfort. Food and drinks that can cause this severe form of headache include chocolate, alcoholic beverages, processed meat, cheese, and sweeteners.
- Avoid Loud Noises and Bright Lights - Sensory stimulation like flashing lights and noise triggers migraine headaches. Although these stimuli can be challenging to avoid, you can prevent them by avoiding driving at night, being in movie theaters, going to clubs, and using umbrellas to avoid sun glares.
- Reduce Stress Levels - Although a great preventive measure includes eliminating stress, it can be challenging to control stressful situations. The best thing you can do is control how you react to them. You can beat stress by practicing relaxation techniques, including meditation or yoga.
- Make a Headache Diary - By keeping a journal, you can quickly identify your specific migraine triggers. Information that your diary should have includes what you eat or drink daily, exercise regime, what you're feeling, medications, and time or severity of your headaches.
It's best to plan and avoid your specific triggers to keep debilitating migraines at bay. You can also consult with healthcare professionals to help you pinpoint the root cause of the condition or give you tips on how you can prevent them further, allowing you to catch them early on and avoid more adverse symptoms.
How a Chiropractor Can Help with Migraines
Chiropractors will perform a comprehensive medical history and exam to see if you have any joint dysfunction or muscle tightness contributing to your migraine attacks. However, if these professionals see other more severe issues that may be causing your pain, they may refer you to the appropriate healthcare professional for additional testing.
Although migraines aren't fully understood, physicians and researchers believe that they're due to abnormal pain signals in your brain system. Spinal subluxations (misalignments), entrapped nerves, and tension in the muscles on your neck or shoulders' connective tissue may contribute to the abnormal signals.
Chiropractic care can help alleviate your pain by correcting spinal misalignments, improving your function, mobility, and nerve communications. Chiropractors will usually use adjustments to optimize your body using spinal manipulation, massage, and active or passive exercises to ease tension, restore ideal range of motion, and place your spine in the correct position, relieving migraines long-term.
One of the best chiropractors in the industry that can help ease your migraines swiftly is doctor Jacob Tucker. He's a passionate individual who aims to take families in Lincoln because a chiropractor saved his life when he was just a baby, inspiring him to receive a Doctorate of Chiropractic medicine, allowing him to take in the footsteps of his savior.
Dr. Tucker has a certification in advanced structural correction, where he mostly focuses on correcting and maintaining the optimal position of the spine on his patients. To help him achieve the best results, he uses an array of chiropractic techniques that enable him to create, customize, and tailor treatment to each patient as an individual.
He's the founder and owner of Good Life Family Chiropractic that offers numerous chiropractic treatment options that revolve around his principles and passion, providing the best care for their patients and improving their mood, health, and overall well-being.