What Causes Migraines, and How Chiropractic Can Help
Migraines afflict more than 35 million Americans each year. A migraine, unlike a headache, has a variety of unpleasant symptoms that can cause life-interrupting side effects. Migraines can bring on vision loss, head pain, visual distortions, pins and needles in the arms and legs, weakness and numbness, and some difficulty speaking. Before a migraine, there are often warning symbols from the body. This is caused by the prodrome phase, which comes with its own series of symptoms that some migraine sufferers learn how to recognize. While some migraine sufferers may learn to stave off a migraine in its early stage, this isn’t realistic or possible for millions of people. Instead, migraine sufferers are left out of commission for hours to days, unable to enjoy their lives, and often reliant on pain or over-the-counter medications. If you or someone you love suffers from migraines, read on to discover what causes migraines, and how chiropractic can help.
Migraines have varying causes.
The cause of a migraine is as unique as the person suffering from them. Migraines are often triggered by stress, but the symptoms that manifest as a result of that stress often vary from person to person. There are three to four major phases of a migraine: the prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome. Not everyone experiences an aura during their migraines, and some people may not notice the prodrome or post-drome phases.
The prodrome phase occurs up to one to two days before a migraine and is completely different than the attack itself (which is the most well-known part of a migraine). The prodrome phase of the migraine causes symptoms like mood changes (which can be positive or negative), constipation, increased craving for specific foods, stiffness in the neck and body, the increased need to urinate or consume liquids, and more yawning.
In the prodrome phase, you might experience these symptoms just hours before the “attack” (where the pain and traditional migraine symptoms begin), or days before. People who suffer from regular migraines may become so familiar with this phase that they are sometimes able to stave it off by taking precautionary measures—increasing hydration, sleep, or in some cases, utilizing specific medication or over-the-counter pain medications.
The prodrome phase of a migraine is also where emergency chiropractic care could be helpful in staving off an incoming headache.
Not everyone experiences the “aura” phase of a migraine, but for those who do, it’s an unmistakable feeling. The aura is one of the most talked-about parts of a migraine because of its unique, and often scary, symptoms.
If you experience an aura during your migraine, you may see visual distortions. These distortions take on many forms, and you may have the same visual distortion over the course of a migraine, or it may change. Examples of distortion include flickering lights, beams, or spots of light (like a lens flare in a movie). You may also experience blind spots in one or both eyes, making it difficult to drive or focus on certain objects. Another example of visual distortions is small hallucinations, confusion, or past memories that appear in the present.
Visual distortions aren’t the only kinds of distortions that occur during a migraine! You may feel strange phantom sensations or tingles in your body, often on the face and hands. You may also have difficulty speaking. The migraine can affect your ability to concentrate, understand what people are saying to you, or understand written words.
The attack phase of the migraine is what causes people to associate migraines with headaches, but when it comes to severity, migraines often outrank headaches significantly because of the intensity of symptoms a migraine creates.
The attack phase of a migraine is where the headache appears. The headache often starts above the eyes, focusing on one side of the head (not always). Migraine headaches include throbbing, which may worsen when you lean forward or engage in physical activity.
When it comes to the attack phase of the migraine, you’ll likely find that moving and trying to remain active is not helpful. Most people are sensitive to light, sound, and smell while in the throes of a migraine. They may also be lightheaded, faint, nauseous, and feel the need to vomit.
A migraine in the attack phase makes it difficult to carry on with your daily activities. A migraine attack typically immobilizes sufferers and makes it impossible for them to enjoy their lives during that period of time.
In the post-drome phase, your body is recovering from the migraine. In this phase, most people feel drained, sluggish, and sometimes, confused. It may still be painful to sit up too quickly, lean forward, or move in any way that increases blood flow to your head.
Can chiropractic help migraines?
Patients who receive chiropractic care often report enormous or complete improvement in the frequency and severity of their migraines. Why is this?
While it’s not known exactly what causes migraines, it is known that chiropractic care can improve the function of the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord, both of which are major players in the migraine experience.
When chiropractic care is delivered to the body, it helps to regulate the function of the central and peripheral nervous systems. This happens through direct contact and indirect contact. The treatment itself relieves pressure that might be caused by misaligned joints. The nervous system is then stimulated and reset from the adjustment.
Make your appointment.
If you live in the Henderson area and are looking for migraine relief, it’s time to make your appointment. The expert chiropractors at Advanced Spine and Posture of Henderson, NV are excited to provide Chiropractic BioPhysics® service, an advanced form of chiropractic care that helps to move bones and joints with long-term results. Realigning the spine can be a highly effective method for helping to provide migraine relief, addressing symptoms that you may not even realize are the result of migraine headache pain. To experience all of the benefits that chiropractic has to offer, book your appointment today.