From time to time, nearly everyone will suffer the pain of a headache. Headaches plague millions of people every year. According to findings from data company, Statista, over 15% of American adults report the pain of severe headaches each year. From those caused by stress or injury to those caused by the arid climate or too much time spent at the local breweries here in Durango, the headache is a common ailment. But few discomforts rival those felt by people dealing with the constant and incessant pain of a migraine. If you suffer from migraines, there are medications that can mask your symptoms, but they won’t offer a cure and many of them have disabling side effects. But, at Atlas Specific, we offer a drug free treatment for migraines. Below, we’ll cover symptoms, contributing factors, and how upper cervical care can help.
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is not just a bad headache, it is a disabling neurological disorder that comes with a host of different symptoms. Migraines are referred to as a primary headache disorder, meaning they are not caused by any other illness or condition. Approximately 39 million Americans live with the debilitating effects of migraine headaches. It is the second most disabling disease globally, with disability increasing with the number of monthly migraine days (MMDs).
What Happens During a Migraine?
The frequency and severity of migraine symptoms will usually differ on a case-by-case basis.
Migraine sufferers will usually experience multiple stages of pain and discomfort, which can begin with a sudden change in mood or onset of tiredness. From there they may manifest a severe, painful headache that can last for hours or days, but this is not always the case. Head pain is simply one of the symptoms of the condition. Other symptoms can include:
Nausea with or without vomiting
Musculoskeletal complaints including neck pain
Tingling in the arms and legs
Problems with jaw function
Sensitivity to light, sound, and particular odors
Dizziness or vertigo (a sensation of spinning),
Aura – a group of sensory, motor, and speech symptoms that can act as a warning that a migraine is about to begin.
Migraine episodes leave over 90% of sufferers unable to work or function normally.
What Triggers a Migraine?
There are many possible triggers that can contribute to the cause of a migraine headache but at the core of all of these factors is the central nervous system. For each migraine sufferer, the triggers will be individualized, but it may help to keep a diary to see if you can identify a consistent trigger.
Women are two to three times more likely than men to have migraines, part of the reason for this may be hormonal. Female migraine sufferers often experience migraines around the time of their period, possibly due to the changes in the levels of hormones such as estrogen around this time. Some women may find that their migraines improve after menopause, however, on the flip side, menopause can also trigger migraines or make them worse.
Stress and Emotional Triggers
Stress is the most commonly recognized trigger of headaches, both migraines, and other types. Unfortunately, physical or emotional, good or bad, it’s an unavoidable part of life. In times of stress, certain chemicals are released that provoke vascular changes that can lead to migraines and migraines can become more frequent during periods of increased stress. Factors related to stress include:
The muscle tension often brought on by stressful situations can add to the severity of a migraine.
Physical exertion can be another cause of migraine due largely in part to the fact that when you exercise or exert yourself physically, the muscles of the head, neck, and scalp require higher volumes of blood to circulate. This, in turn, causes the blood vessels to dilate, which can lead to migraines. Other physical triggers include:
Tiredness or poor-quality sleep
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Some dietary factors can cause the blood vessels to dilate (expand) particularly foods that contain a significant amount of tyramine—an amino acid that can provoke the early blood vessel changes typically seen in migraine attacks. Other triggers include:
Missed, delayed, or irregular meals
Caffeinated products, such as tea and coffee
Chocolate and citrus fruits
Foods high in tyramine, including fermented foods, cured meats, yeast extracts, and certain cheeses
Additionally, foods that have been stored at room temperature, as opposed to refrigerated or frozen, can have rising levels of tyramine.
Any changes to your environment that trigger biological changes in the body’s chemical balance can increase the likelihood of migraine onset. These include:
Flickering television or computer screens
Smoking, smoky rooms, or proximity to fire
Changes in climate, such as humidity or very cold temperatures
A stuffy atmosphere
The simple truth is that all medications have side effects, some are mild and some are severe, and sometimes a headache or migraine is one of them. A wide variety of both over-the-counter and prescription medicines can cause headaches.
Some examples include:
Some types of sleeping tablets
Some heart and blood pressure medicines
Any medications that contain hormones such as birth control or Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs
Codeine and prescription pain relievers
Medicines that contain caffeine
Medicines that are Vasodilators, meaning that they open (dilate) blood vessels
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and the unfortunate thing here is that even drugs prescribed for migraines that are listed as Triptans can cause migraines instead of treating them.
Why Medication Isn’t Always Effective for Chronic Migraines
The most common recommendation from the medical community comes in the form of powerful pharmaceutical drugs. However, these medications may temporarily mask the pain, but there is no miracle pill that will stop the next migraine from occurring. Furthermore, each of these medications comes with the risk of severe side effects that can potentially present additional long-term health issues. Plus, as was mentioned above, many medications can actually cause the headaches they were meant to treat. Other treatments involve Botox injections that come with their own list of dangers and side effects. All of these treatments begin an often hopeless cycle where medication is taken to deal with migraine pain until it begins causing migraines. Then the medication is switched, and the process starts again.
All traditional migraine treatments operate by covering up the cause of symptoms without ever addressing the source of the issue or truly providing healing. Are you tired of the run-around, the trial and error, and the side effects? Upper cervical care can offer an innovative drug free treatment for migraines that provides lasting effects without unwanted side effects.
How Upper Cervical Can Relieve Migraines
When misalignments in the upper cervical spine occur it can result in reduced blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow to the brain. These misalignments can also affect communication in the body by placing pressure on the brainstem, as well as creating muscle tension, joint dysfunction and you guessed it, migraines. Upper Cervical Chiropractors like Doctors Tim and Danielle at Atlas Specific assess and address specific areas of function in the nervous system through appropriate care of the upper cervical spine. Every upper cervical chiropractic adjustment helps to remedy potential misalignments in the upper cervical spine, improve communication between the brain and the body, and reduce stress from the central nervous system. Once these issues are relieved through regular adjustments, healing can begin.
Migraine sufferers deserve a future filled with the prospect of true healing and relief. If you or someone you know suffers from headaches or migraines, upper cervical chiropractic care may be a helpful tool to regain quality of life and function. Call our office today at 970.259.6803, stop by and see us at our 1800 E 3rd Ave #108, Durango, CO office or click below to schedule a free initial consultation.
Notice of Disclaimer: We are doctors of upper cervical chiropractic, but we are NOT necessarily YOUR doctors. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and reading or interacting with this site does not establish any form of patient-doctor relationship. Although we strive to provide accurate information, the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for any kind of professional advice and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in your particular area of need before making medical decisions.