Migraines are a neurological condition that often include intense throbbing pain in the head that starts in the forehead, the side of the head, or surrounding the eyes and becomes progressively worse. The person will usually be sensitive to any type of movement, loud noises, or bright lights as they can worsen the headache. Nausea and vomiting are a common experience joined with these other symptoms. Migraines vary in their frequency for different individuals, and they can happen once or twice a year or every day. Women are more prone to getting migraines, being three times more likely than men. Migraines are prevalent worldwide, as it is the third-most-common and sixth-most-disabling disease globally.
There are two types of migraines called classic and common:
- Classic migraines: These migraines begin with a warning sign or something called an aura which can affect your vision. The person may experience flashing lights, shadows, patterns of lines, or colors and, in some cases, temporary vision loss. Some people will have a burning or prickly sensation or muscle weakness on one side of the body, and their speech may be affected. Other associated experiences are feeling restless, irritable, or even depressed. The aura may last for 15-30 minutes and could coincide with the head pain on one or both sides of the head, or in some cases, the person has no head pain whatsoever.
- Common migraines: These progress more slowly than a classic migraine and do not include an aura. They stay for longer and are more disruptive when it comes to a person’s daily life. Usually the pain occurs only on one side. This kind of a migraine is more common than a classic migraine.
Describing Migraine Symptoms
Migraines are intense, often debilitating and can put your life on pause, preventing you from enjoying time with family, social events, and work. Migraine episodes are different for everybody. For some, they may know the warning signs hours or a day before the migraine actually develops. A few signs that an attack is coming are a sudden surge of energy, food cravings, thirst, moodiness, and tiredness. A few possible migraine symptoms are listed below:
- A stiff or tender neck
- Intense throbbing or dull aching pain on one or both sides of the head
- Feeling cold or sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain that gets worse with physical activity
- Visual disturbances – blurry vision or blind spots
- Stuffy nose
- Problems with light, odors, or noise
- Feeling confused or very tired
- A tender scalp
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Why Do Some People Get Migraines and Others Do Not?
Some common migraine risk factors are as follows:
- Genetics: If one or both of your parents had migraines you have a much higher chance of getting them.
- Age: Most migraine sufferers will have their first migraine during adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before age 40.
- Sex: Women get migraines more often than men.
Triggers are things that can cause you to have a migraine. They can include the following:
- Changes in hormones: Menstrual cycles, menopause, or birth control and hormone replacement therapy can be to blame.
- Stress: This can be external stress (feeling overwhelmed or anxious) or internal stress (getting too much exercise or not getting enough sleep).
- Illness: Infections – the flu or the common cold – can bring on migraines, especially in children.
- Senses: Bright lights, strong smells, or loud noise can trigger migraines.
- Medication: Some medications can trigger migraines, and this should be discussed with your medical doctor.
- Certain foods or drinks: This is different for everyone, but here is a list of possible suspects:
- Beans – pole, broad, lima, pinto, garbanzo, Italian, and others
- Aged cheese
- Caffeine – too much or too little
- Aged, canned, cured, or processed meat – bologna, herring, hot dogs, game, pepperoni, ham, sausage, and others
- Chocolate, cocoa, or carob
- Brewer’s yeast
- Aspartame or other artificial sweeteners
- Canned soup or bouillon cubes
- Cultured dairy – buttermilk and sour cream
- Nuts and peanut butter
- Meat tenderizer
- Soy sauce
- Pickled, marinated, or preserved foods – pickles, olives, snack foods
- Snow peas
- Pea pods
- Red plums
- Seasoned salt
What is generally provided for migraine care involves two kinds of medication. The first kind is abortive, and it is meant to stop migraines before they increase in severity, so they are taken at the beginning of a possible attack. The other kind is a preventative and is taken regularly to limit the amount of migraines.
A more natural option for treating migraines is upper cervical chiropractic care. In a study, 101 migraine patients were examined and a misalignment was found in the bones of their upper cervical spine. They also discovered that a majority of these patients had a history of some kind of trauma to their head or neck prior to onset of their migraines. Each of them was provided with an adjustment to their neck, and 85 of them reported that their migraines had gone away completely within 1 to 8 months. The remaining patients experienced dramatic improvements in the severity and frequency of their migraines.
Here at Functional Spinal Care, a professional migraine treatment center in Kelowna, BC, we use a similar method when adjusting our migraine patients. The technique is gentle and effective without requiring popping or cracking of the spine. Instead, our treatments encourage the bones to return to their proper place more naturally, which results in a longer-lasting adjustment. In many cases, this is all that is needed to improve or entirely resolve the migraines our patients may have been suffering from for years. We would love to see what we can do for you. Feel free to make an appointment with us for a free consultation.