Migraines can be debilitating and can keep you from doing the things you love. If you’re experiencing migraines, a chiropractor may be able to help. Chiropractic care aims to improve spinal alignment as well as your overall health and wellbeing, which may help reduce the number of migraines you experience.
Migraines can be a real pain. Literally. They’re throbbing, often disabling headaches that can keep you from living your life.
If you’re one of the estimated 38 million Americans who experience migraines, according to the American Migraine Foundation, you know just how frustrating they can be. But what if I told you there was something you could do to help reduce their frequency and severity? That’s right – something as simple as seeing a chiropractor could help make your migraines more manageable.
Keep reading to learn more!
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is more than just a headache. It’s a complex condition that can cause a variety of symptoms, including severe head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can be debilitating and can interfere with your ability to work or enjoy your leisure time.
What Is The Difference Between a Migraine and a Headache?
The main difference between a migraine and a headache is the intensity and duration of the pain. Migraine headaches are usually much more severe than tension headaches or sinus headaches, and they can last for hours or even days.
Migraine symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people experience an “aura” before their migraines, which may include visual disturbances like flashing lights or blind spots. Other common symptoms include:
– Severe head pain
– Pulsing pain on the side of your head
– Sensitivity to light and sound
– Difficulty concentrating
Migraine pain can be felt in the face, where it could potentially be mistaken for a sinus headache. It can also be felt in the neck, where it may be mistaken for arthritis or a muscle spasm.
What Causes Migraines?
The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they’re thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people are more susceptible to migraines due to their genes, while others may develop them as a result of triggers like stress, bright lights, or certain foods.
At Thrive! Wellness Center, we also take a functional medicine approach. Functional medicine is a patient-centered, science-based approach to healthcare that looks at the whole person – not just the symptoms. By taking this approach, we can get to the root cause of your migraines and develop a treatment plan that’s tailored specifically for you.
We look for the root cause of your migraines and work to remedy any triggers in day-to-day life that can cause migraines.
Migraine Triggers and Risk Factors
Migraine triggers also tend to vary from person to person. Understanding what your triggers are can help you prevent migraines, or at least better handle your migraine attacks. Some common triggers include:
– Bright lights
– Loud noises
– Nutritional deficiencies
– Certain foods and drinks
– Changes in sleep patterns
– Head injuries
– Neurological disorders
– Hormonal changes (in women)
Migraine risk factors can also tend to vary based on the person, however many of the variables are out of our control. For example, family history. If one or both of your parents experienced migraine headaches, then you are more likely to experience migraines. Factors like age and sex can also contribute to your likelihood of migraines. If you are a woman, you are more likely to experience migraines.
Different Types of Migraines
There are different types of migraines, each with its own unique set of symptoms. The three most common types are:
– Tension headaches: Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they’re often caused by stress or muscle tension.
– Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches are less common, but they’re more severe. They tend to come in “clusters,” meaning that you may experience several headaches in a row, separated by pain-free periods.
– Migraine with aura: Migraine with aura is the third most common type of migraine. People who experience this type of migraine will often see flashing lights or other visual disturbances before their headache begins.
Chronic VS Episodic Migraines
Additionally, people can experience chronic migraines. This is defined as having migraines 15 or more days out of the month, for three months or longer. Chronic migraines can be very debilitating, and they often require different treatment than other types of migraines.
Alternatively, some people experience an episodic migraine, meaning that they have migraines less than 15 days out of the month. Episodic migraines are often easier to treat than chronic migraines, as there are typically more treatment options available.
Some may experience a migraine headache that is due to neurological disorders, dietary problems, head injuries, or other health conditions.
Migraines in People Who Menstruate
Others may experience a menstrual migraine, which is a migraine that occurs around the time of a woman’s period. These migraines often go away after menopause.
These are often caused by hormones, and women who are pregnant are also prone to experiencing migraines.
Can A Chiropractor Treat Migraines?
Migraines are a complex condition with many possible causes. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. However, chiropractic care may be able to help.
Chiropractic care is a natural, drug-free approach to healthcare that focuses on improving your spinal alignment as well as overall health and wellbeing.
How Does a Chiropractor Treat Migraines?
Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to help relieve pain and improve overall health and wellbeing. These techniques may include:
– Spinal manipulation: This is the most commonly used chiropractic technique. It involves using gentle pressure and movements to release tension in the muscles and joints.
– Massage therapy: This technique can help relax the muscles and ease the pain. Myofascial release massages aimed at the membranes that connect and support muscles can also provide relief from migraine pain.
– Lifestyle changes: Chiropractors may also advise patients to make lifestyle changes like getting more exercise, eating a healthy diet, and reducing stress.
Research has shown that chiropractic care can be an effective treatment for migraines. In one study, migraine sufferers who received chiropractic care reported a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of their migraines.
Other studies have shown that chiropractic care can help reduce the need for prescription medication and improve the quality of life of migraine sufferers.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Help Reduce Migraines?
There are a number of lifestyle changes that can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. These adjustments can also help reduce variables that trigger migraines. These include:
While improving muscles and strengthening flexibility can help, overexercising and heavy exercising can actually be more harmful than good for someone experiencing migraines. Focusing on low-impact aerobics and walking is the best place to start.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Dietary changes and including more B complex vitamins can help manage migraines. Avoiding highly-processed and high-sugar content foods, while drinking water and introducing fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients, can help to reduce migraine headaches.
When stress is managed, the frequency of migraines can be reduced. Chiropractic care can help to alleviate stress by providing adjustments, exercises, and lifestyle advice.
Getting Enough Sleep
Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. However, some people may need more or less. Getting a good night’s sleep can help to reduce migraines.
Managing Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common trigger for migraines. Attending regular chiropractic appointments can help to reduce the occurrence of neck pain and, in turn, migraines.
Variables that trigger a migraine vary from person to person. Avoiding specific triggers, like bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells can help. These triggers can be difficult to avoid, but doing so can help to reduce the frequency of migraines.
For acute migraine attacks, caffeine can be a treatment. But be careful, because too much or not getting as much caffeine as your body is “used to” getting, can actually cause headaches.
Our team at Thrive! Wellness Center works with you to relieve migraine pain and also help reduce the occurrence of migraines in your life.
Chiropractic For Migraines During Pregnancy
Migraines are common during pregnancy. While the cause is unknown, it’s speculated that hormones play a role in their development.
For some women, migraines improve during pregnancy. However, for others, they may get worse. If you’re pregnant and suffering from migraines, chiropractic care may be able to help.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe for Pregnant Women?
Research has shown that chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment for migraines during pregnancy.
A chiropractor will take a holistic approach to your health, which may help reduce the number of migraines you experience. Additionally, this can serve as an alternative to prescription drugs that could interfere with the baby’s development.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe For Children and Adolescents Experiencing Migraines?
Chiropractic care is considered safe for children and adolescents. In fact, it may be more effective than medication in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines in this age group.
Many people who suffer from migraines experience their first migraine headache during childhood, and most commonly adolescence.
Studies have shown that chiropractic treatments help with the frequency and severity of migraines and the children experiencing these migraines missed fewer days of school and had a better quality of life than those who did not receive chiropractic care.
Get The Chiropractic Care You Need Today!
If you’re suffering from migraines, our team at Thrive! Wellness Center can help. We offer a variety of services that may help to reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines, as well as improve your quality of life.