Migraines are a complicated and poorly understood topic. For those of us who suffer they can put us out of action for days and make us feel foggy in the aftermath. Whilst some of the underlying mechanisms may still be a mystery, for some of us there are solutions. Here we will discuss:
- What is a migraine headache
- What causes migraine headaches
- How can I stop migraine headaches
- Can chiropractic treat or prevent migraine headaches
To discuss your migraine headaches with a professional chiropractor, book an appointment here:
What is a migraine headache
A migraine headache is a powerful headache that is often accompanied by light and sound sensitivity, nausea and vomiting. They usually last for around 3-4 hours and from our exerpience in clinic sometimes just last until you manage to get to sleep. Migraines often take people out of action for at least the 3-4 hours they are present for but more often the whole day or sometimes several days. Even once they are gone, the fatigue and sensitivity to light and sound can linger for some time.
What causes migraine headaches
The underlying causes of migraines and migraine headaches is still unknown. We used to think they were caused by issues with blood flow around the brain but more recent evidence suggests they are to do with the way the brain itself works. Migraines often run in families so it is thought there is a genetic component to them.
One thing we do know, is that migraines often seem to have a trigger. These vary from person to person. For some women it seems to be hormonal as migraines seem to tie in with their menstrual cycle. For others, a common trigger may be dietary. For that reason, something we will discuss and many GPs will discuss will be diet diaries or exclusionary diets. Ideally, a diary will help you figure out a pattern with your migraine headaches and what you eat, then you can specifically eliminate that food item and monitor your results. If this doesn't work, then typical things to eliminate in a controlled and careful way, would be wheat/gluten, white fish, dairy or FODMAPs. FODMAPs are a complicated topic and best discussed another time.
Other triggers may be stress or even physical issues. We often find that migraine sufferers never present with just migraine headaches but often exhibit signs and symptoms of cervicogenic or tension type headaches as well. In some cases, using chiropractic treatment to manage these other headaches may remove the migraine trigger or reduce the overall intensity of headaches experienced and make them a far more manageable experience.
How can I stop migraine headaches
Thinking about the causes discussed, the main way to help manage your own migraine headaches will be to identify a potential cause. If you can keep a diary of when they occur and what was going on at the time such as food consumed, stressful situations or where in your menstrual cycle you are you are one step closer to managing them.
Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol may be worth trying but always follow the advice of your GP or pharmacist in this area. Regarding ibuprofen specifically, we strong advise you not to use this as a long term solution if you experience frequent migraines and consult your GP for more specific medication and advice.
Can chiropractic treat or prevent migraines
Possibly. Coming back to some of the previous information. If your migraine trigger happens to be another type of headache or some kind of physical stress it is well worth getting checked out by a qualified chiropractor, such as one of us in Andover. Our first step will be to check if there are any underlying conditions you may not have been aware of that require referral to your GP or a specialist. After this, we will look for possible physical causes. If muscles around the neck and head are tight or joints in the neck are stiff these may act as triggers and chiropractic treatment may help to reduce the impact of these.
We have seen patients who have suffered for years who have responded incredibly well, unfortunately, others haven't responded as dramatically but in almost all cases our patients report a reduction in symptoms which can make life more manageable, even if we don't remove the cause entirely.
If you need some help with migraines or would like some bespoke advice, call us on 01264 527001 or book an appointment here: