Migraine: Causes, Symptoms, Self-Help & Chiropractic Treatments



Migraine, also known as migraine headache, is a neurological condition characterized by recurrent episodes of severe headache. It is a common health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Migraine is often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. These symptoms can be debilitating and significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

Migraine headaches are typically described as a pulsating or throbbing pain on one side of the head. The pain can last for hours or even days, and it may be accompanied by visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines.

Symptoms & Different Stages of Migraine

Migraine can be intense and throbbing, causing significant discomfort and interfering with daily activities. Migraine attacks can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, and they may be accompanied by other symptoms that vary from person to person.

  • Headache: The primary symptom of migraine is a severe headache that is often described as pulsating or throbbing. It typically affects one side of the head, but it can also occur on both sides. The pain can be moderate to severe and may worsen with physical activity.
  • Aura: Some individuals may experience an aura before or during a migraine attack. Auras are usually visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights, blind spots, or zigzag lines. However, auras can also manifest as tingling sensations in the face or hands.
  • Sensitivity to Light and Sound: Many people with migraines are sensitive to light and sound during an attack. Exposure to bright lights or loud noises can intensify the pain and discomfort.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of migraines. These gastrointestinal symptoms can further contribute to the overall discomfort experienced during an attack.
  • Other Symptoms: Migraines can also cause other symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and blurred vision.

It is important to note that migraines can occur in different stages, each with its own set of symptoms:

  • Prodrome: This stage occurs hours or days before the onset of a migraine attack. Symptoms during this stage may include mood changes, food cravings, increased thirst, and frequent yawning.
  • Aura: As mentioned earlier, some individuals may experience an aura before or during a migraine attack. Auras typically last for about 20 minutes to an hour and may gradually fade away.
  • Attack: The attack stage is when the actual migraine headache occurs. This is the most debilitating stage and can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
  • Postdrome: After the migraine attack subsides, individuals may experience a postdrome phase. During this stage, they may feel exhausted, confused, and have difficulty concentrating.

If you experience severe and recurrent headaches accompanied by any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options to manage your migraines effectively.

Most Common Causes of Migraine

While the exact cause of migraines is still not fully understood, researchers have identified several factors that are commonly associated with triggering migraines. These factors can vary from person to person, and it is important to note that not all individuals will experience migraines due to the same causes. However, understanding the most common triggers can help individuals manage their condition more effectively.

  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in estrogen levels, particularly in women, have been linked to migraines. Many women experience migraines during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.
  • Stress: High levels of stress, whether it be from work, personal relationships, or other sources, can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals.
  • Environmental factors: Certain environmental factors, such as bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and changes in weather patterns, have been known to trigger migraines.
  • Dietary triggers: Certain foods and beverages have been identified as common triggers for migraines. These include aged cheeses, processed meats, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.
  • Sleep disturbances: Irregular sleep patterns, lack of sleep, or excessive sleep can all contribute to the onset of migraines.
  • Physical exertion: Intense physical activity or exertion, such as intense exercise or heavy lifting, can trigger migraines in some individuals.

It is important to note that these triggers may not cause migraines in everyone, and individuals may have their own unique triggers. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can be an essential part of managing migraines and reducing their frequency and severity.

How Bad Can Migraine Get If Left Untreated?

  • Increased frequency and intensity of migraine attacks
  • Chronic pain and discomfort
  • Impaired daily functioning and quality of life
  • Development of medication overuse headaches
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
  • Financial burden due to frequent healthcare visits and missed work
  • Strained relationships and social isolation

Chiropractic for Migraine

Chiropractic care has been found to be effective in managing and reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines. By addressing the underlying causes and triggers of migraines, chiropractors can provide relief and help patients regain control over their lives. Here are some ways in which chiropractic can help with migraines:

  • Spinal adjustments: Chiropractors use spinal adjustments to correct misalignments in the spine, known as subluxations. These misalignments can put pressure on the nerves and blood vessels, leading to migraines. By realigning the spine, chiropractors can alleviate this pressure and reduce migraine symptoms.
  • Posture correction: Poor posture can contribute to migraines by placing strain on the neck and upper back. Chiropractors can assess and correct posture issues, helping to relieve tension and reduce the frequency of migraines.
  • Trigger point therapy: Chiropractors can identify and target trigger points, which are tight knots of muscle that can refer pain to other areas of the body, including the head. By applying pressure to these trigger points, chiropractors can release tension and alleviate migraine symptoms.
  • Lifestyle and dietary advice: Chiropractors can provide guidance on lifestyle changes and dietary modifications that may help prevent migraines. This can include recommendations on stress management techniques, exercise, sleep hygiene, and identifying and avoiding potential trigger foods.
  • Collaborative care: Chiropractors often work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals, such as neurologists and primary care physicians, to provide comprehensive care for migraine patients. This collaborative approach ensures that all aspects of the condition are addressed and that patients receive the most effective treatment options.

It is important to note that chiropractic care is not a one-size-fits-all solution for migraines. Each patient is unique, and treatment plans will be tailored to their specific needs and preferences. If you suffer from migraines, consulting with a chiropractor can be a valuable step in finding relief and improving your quality of life.

Self Help & Relief for Migraine

  • Identify Triggers: Keeping a migraine diary can help you identify potential triggers that may be causing your migraines. Common triggers include stress, certain foods, hormonal changes, and lack of sleep. By identifying and avoiding these triggers, you may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.
  • Manage Stress: Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your migraines.
  • Establish a Regular Sleep Routine: Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns can contribute to migraines. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, ensuring you get an adequate amount of sleep each night. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can also help improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can trigger migraines in some individuals. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Practice Good Posture: Poor posture can strain the muscles in your neck and upper back, leading to tension headaches and migraines. Pay attention to your posture, especially when sitting for long periods. Use ergonomic chairs and pillows to support proper alignment.
  • Apply Cold or Heat: Applying a cold or warm compress to your head or neck can help alleviate migraine pain. Experiment with both cold and heat to see which provides more relief for you. Some individuals find relief by alternating between the two.
  • Consider Supplements: Certain supplements, such as magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2), have shown promise in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. Consult with your chiropractor or healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
  • Engage in Regular Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. Engage in low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or cycling. Avoid intense workouts or activities that may trigger migraines.

While these self-help methods may provide relief for some individuals, it’s important to note that they may not work for everyone. If your migraines persist or worsen despite trying these methods, it’s advisable to seek professional help from a chiropractor or healthcare provider. They can provide personalized treatment options and help you manage your migraines effectively.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Migraine

If you are experiencing migraines, it is important to remember that you do not have to endure the pain and discomfort on your own. Seeking medical attention for your condition is crucial in order to properly manage and treat your migraines.

If your migraines are becoming more frequent, severe, or are interfering with your daily activities, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your symptoms, provide a proper diagnosis, and develop a personalized treatment plan.

Additionally, if you experience any of the following symptoms along with your migraines, it is important to seek immediate medical attention:

  • Sudden and severe headache that feels different from your usual migraines
  • Headache accompanied by fever, stiff neck, confusion, or seizures
  • Headache after a head injury or fall
  • Headache with sudden loss of vision, difficulty speaking, or weakness on one side of the body

Remember, living with chronic migraines can significantly impact your quality of life. Seeking medical professionals, such as chiropractors, who specialize in treating migraines can provide you with the necessary care and support to effectively manage your condition.