A migraine can consist of various type of deliberating symptoms such as severe headaches, nausea and altered bodily perceptions, which can last anywhere from four to 72 hours. Migraines generally have four stages called prodrome, aura, pain and postdrome.
If you are a migraine sufferer, you may experience the following during the four stages:
- Prodrome: Prodromal symptoms have the ability to alter your mood or cause irritability, depression (or euphoria), sleepiness, food cravings, stiff muscles, and diarrhea (or constipation). These symptoms occur in 40-60% of people who suffer from migraines.
- Aura: An aura is a focal neurological phenomenon that can precede or accompany an attack. The most common neurological symptom is called visual aura, which involves a visual disturbance of flashes that occur in white, black or multicolored lights. Some people report that they have also experienced blurred or cloudy vision. Auditory or olfactory hallucinations, temporary dysphasia, vertigo, tingling or numbness of the face and extremities, and sensitivity to touch are also symptoms of aura. There are 20-30% of people who suffer from this stage of a migraine.
- Pain: The term “migraine” derives from the Greek “hemicranias,” or “half” and “skull, hence why pain occurs on one side of the head. Migraine pain can range from moderate to severe and can cause sensitivity to light, sound, noise, motion, and smells, as well as nausea and vomiting.
- Postdrome: After the pain has subsided, patients can either feel an increase or decrease in energy. Some patients say they feel tired, depressed, and experience additional head pain along with gastrointestinal symptoms. Others say they experience the complete opposite—euphoria and increased energy.
A migraine attack can be enough to hold patients back from attending work, school and employment for several days. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that women who have migraines accompanied by visual symptoms have a greater risk of stroke compared to women who do not have migraines.
Medical Intervention for Migraine
Although there are a number of theories on how and why migraines are caused, the real determining cause is still unknown. Many patients are given a wide variety of drugs that weren’t originally made to treat migraine pain (preventive and pain relieving). Preventive medications consist of cardiovascular drugs (beta blockers that are most commonly used for high blood pressure), antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, antihistamines, and sometimes botulinum type A (Botox).
It is proven the pain relieving medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiates, and butalbital combinations (a sedative combined with aspirin, acetaminophen, or caffeine) work. However, patients who use these medications are also more likely to experience a rebound headache and can increase their risks of developing ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding if the medication is taken long enough and in high enough dosages. Opiates are known for having addictive properties and can cause unnecessary personal implications in the future.
Chiropractic Treatment of Migraine Headaches
A subluxation, or a misalignment of the neck, can irritate the nerves that travel the length of the spine to and from the brain, causing a migraine sufferer to be more prone to chemical imbalances in the brain. The pressure against inflamed nerves can be very painful, but by realigning the vertebrae, it can relieve some of this pressure and alleviate the headaches.
According to our doctors at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation in Wall Twp., there is a correlation between one specific type of spinal misalignment in the neck called a cervical kyphosis (commonly known as a reverse curvature of the neck) and migraine headaches.
Normally, the neck is supposed to be straight from the front and in a C-shape curve from the side (Called lordosis). Being that a C-shape curve is similar to half of a circle, it is expected that the neck is strong and able to withstand considerable loading—in return responsible for protecting the nerves and holding up the head.
When your neck has a reversed curvature, this means that a considerable amount of stress is placed upon the spinal nerves, which become irritated. When irritated, these nerves prevent blood flow along the spinal cord and into the brain which can cause a migraine headache. There are two ways this can happen—from trauma or from abnormal posture over time.
Researchers at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Minnesota recently compared chiropractic care with drug therapies for migraines and chronic tension headaches*. Two hundred and eighteen headache patients were given either drug therapy or regular chiropractic care. While both groups reported a reduction in headache pain at the end of the study, only the chiropractic group still had a decrease in pain four weeks after discontinuing all care.
This study is a clear indication that chiropractic care has long term results and is a long term solution for a chronic problem. Although medication will temporarily relieve the pain, our chiropractic care in Wall, NJ will target the underlying cause of the disorder and treat it accordingly without the risk of potential harmful side effects.
At Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation in Wall, NJ, our team of chiropractors use a method of chiropractic treatment called Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP), which is a higher level of chiropractic that uses a comprehensive, systematic, and scientific approach for reliable results for migraine sufferers and many other disorders.
Learn more about how Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation can treat and ultimately cure a migraine without the use of dangerous medications by contacting our office in Monmouth County for a complimentary consultation at 732-345-1377.