Hello and welcome to an episode of the Clear Connection and I’m your host, Dr. Krystal. Today we’re going to cover a topic that affects many people…Migraines! If you suffer from migraine headaches, you’re not alone, currently 30 million people in the United States suffer from migraines and as many as 50% of migraine sufferers remain undiagnosed. So let’s go over the basics…
So what classifies a migraine? It’s not just a bad headache, but an intense, throbbing pain usually in one or both temples. Some people also become nauseated and sensitive to light and sound. Other symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea. A typical attack can last between 4-72 hours, occur without warning, and may be accompanied by an aura, which causes changes in your vision.
Migraines occur when swollen blood vessels in the brain press on nearby nerves causing pain, which classifies them as vascular-type headaches. This dilation, or opening up, of the blood vessels activates your sympathetic NS which is the part of your NS that controls stress and pain, also known as your “fight or flight” response.
Migraines are usually set off by various triggers. Alcohol, stress, certain odors, loud noises, bright lights, and certain foods are some of the common triggers, but not the only things that may spark a migraine. If you’re prone to migraines you may want to avoid foods such as: chocolate, red wine, aged cheeses, and processed or fermented foods –especially those containing MSG.
Migraines are also associated with hormonal changes, which is why a woman often experiences this type of headache during her menstrual cycle or with the use of birth control pills. By their early 20s, women are 3 times more likely to have migraines than men.
There is no specific cure for migraine headaches, but the goal is to prevent symptoms by avoiding triggers and learning the different options for how to best eliminate the issue. Common treatment involves taking certain medications to reduce the occurrence and intensity of symptoms, but be aware that taking medicines more than 3 days a week may lead to rebound headaches, taking too much acetaminophen can damage your liver, and too much ibuprofen or aspirin can irritate your stomach.
Another more natural and less invasive option would be to visit a chiropractor! Chiropractic focuses on the overall function of your body by assessing if there is interference within your nervous system, the master controller of your cells, tissues, organs, and bodily functions. Most often with migraine sufferers, a chiropractor will pay special attention to the upper bones of the neck to make certain they are in proper alignment, not causing pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves that supply the head and neck. When these upper bones are adjusted back into their normal alignment, many of the issues associated with migraines get resolved. The focus of chiropractic care is to rid the body of nerve interference so it can work properly and get to the underlying cause of the problem and not just fix the symptoms.
American Council for Headache Education – www.achenet.org
The National Migraine Association – www.migraines.org
National Headache Foundation – www.headaches.org