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Migraines and Chiropractic Care

1413980_86105267There are MANY different types of headaches, of which migraines are a common type. This discussion will concentrate on some characteristics that are associated with migraine headaches. This information may help you understand what type of headache you’re having, and how we can help you!

A unique feature of migraine headaches is that prior to the start of the headache, there is often a pre-headache “warning” that the migraine is about to commence. This is often referred to as an “aura,” and it can vary from a few minutes, to a few hours, or in some cases, up to two days prior to the start of a migraine.

Here are some common “warning signs” that you are having, or about to have a migraine:

  • Neck pain. In an online survey, the National Headache Foundation found that 38% of migraine patients “always,” and 31% “frequently,” had neck pain accompany their migraine headache.
  • Frequent urination. This can precede the migraine by an hour or as much as two days.
  • Yawning. A 2006 article in the journal Cephalgia reported that about 36% of migraine sufferers describe yawning as a common pre-migraine warning. This can occur frequently, such as every few minutes.
  • A “sensory aura” may occur on half of the body, moving from the finger tips through the arm, across the face, or elsewhere and usually includes a temporary lack of feelings as if the body is “half asleep”.
  • Nausea and Vomiting. This is a common aura. According to the American Migraine Study II (a mail survey  of more than 3,700 migraine patients) 73% reported nausea and 29% vomiting. Another study reported that migraine sufferers who have nausea/vomiting usually have more severe migraine headaches and get less relief from the migraine medications compared to those who do not get nausea or vomiting.
  • Other common auras or “sensitivities” during the migraine include bright light, noise, and/or smells (like perfumes), and many migraine sufferers seek refuge in a dark, quiet room and try to sleep.
  • Physical Activity. Routine activities such as walking, climbing steps, running, weight lifting, or sexual activity can trigger a migraine and/or increase the intensity of an existing migraine headache.
  • Trouble Speaking. Difficulty “getting the words out” or formulating thought (staying on task) can be another warning sign of an impending migraine. Obviously, if this is the first time this system has occured and it’s “…out of the ordinary,” we’ll have to make sure it’s not something more serious (…like a stroke!)
  • Weakness. This may occur in an arm or leg or entire half of the body (left or right side) and also could be a more serious sign of a stroke, but it is also a fairly common pre-migraine aura.
  • Visual aura. This can include double vision and/or vertigo (balance loss with a spinning feeling). This often occurs in a special type of migraine called a “basilar-tpye migraine” and symptoms can include dizziness, double vision, or a loss of vision. The balance loss is often associated with a “bad migraine” and occurs when the migraine is stronger or more intense than usual.
  • “Headache hangover.” This usually occurs after the migraine has passed and people describe a feeling of being “wiped-out.” Symptoms can include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and extreme energy loss.

In many cases, adjustments applied to the neck and upper back, especially when delivered BEFORE the migraine, can reduce the intensity and in some cases STOP the migraine from even starting.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for headaches, we would be honored to render our services.

Reference: Volume 13 Issue 11 of The “In Good Hands” Letter.


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