Migraines can start when you’re a child or they might begin in your early adulthood. A common risk factor of migraines is family history. Migraines aren’t the same thing as other common headaches that you may experience, like tension headaches.
What are Migraines?
Migraines can cause a pulsing sensation or severe throbbing pain, typically on just one side of your head. Nausea, vomiting and intense sensitivity to sound and light usually accompany them. The attacks can last for several hours to even days with the pain being so severe it disrupts your day-to-day activities.
You might experience a warning symptom referred to as an aura. This usually comes along before your headache or with it. An aura can present various visual disturbances like:
Flashes of light
It can also cause tingling in your arm or leg or on one side of your face and trouble speaking.
Doctors diagnosis migraines based on your reported symptoms, clinical history and by ruling out other causes. The two common migraine headache categories are common migraines (those without aura) and classic migraines (those with aura).
What Causes Migraines
There are numerous migraine triggers, which include:
Women’s hormonal changes. Estrogen fluctuations such as before and during pregnancy, menopause and menstrual periods seem to trigger migraines in women.
Hormonal medicines. Hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives and other hormonal medications can worsen migraines. But, some women do find they experience fewer headaches when they take these medicines.
Stress. Stress at home or work can lead to migraines.
Drinks. Drinks like alcohol, particularly wine and caffeinated like coffee.
Sensory stimuli. Sun glare and bright lights can trigger migraines. Loud sounds and strong smells, like paint thinner, perfume and secondhand smoke can too.
Changes in sleep. Getting too much sleep, missing sleep or jet lag could cause migraines in some individuals.
Weather changes. Changes in barometric pressure or weather could trigger a migraine.
Physical factors. Extreme physical exertion like sexual activity may induce migraines.
Foods. Salty and processed foods and aged cheese may trigger migraines, as can almonds. Fasting or skipping meals can too.
Food additives. Food additives found in many foods like the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the sweetener aspartame can trigger migraines.
Medications. Vasodilators like nitroglycerin and oral contraceptives could aggravate migraines.
Symptom of Migraines
Migraines which usually start in childhood through early adulthood could progress through several stages. Not everyone who struggles with migraines, however, will progress through all the stages. The stages and their symptoms are:
A day or two before your migraine, you may notice slight changes that are like a warning you have an upcoming migraine. These may include:
Increased thirst and urination
Mood changes, from euphoria to depression
You may experience an aura before or during your migraine. An aura is a reversible nervous system symptom. They’re typically visual, but could also involve other disturbances. Each symptom typically starts slowly, building up over a few minutes and lasting for more than 20 minutes.
With a migraine aura, you may experience:
Visual phenomena like seeing bright spots, shapes or flashes of light
Feeling the sensation of pins and needles in your leg or arm
Uncontrollable jerking and other movements
Numbness or weakness on one side of your body or in your face
Hearing music or noises
If left untreated, a migraine can last anywhere from four to 72 hours and this will vary from person to person. Migraines may come on a few times a month or come on rarely.
When experiencing a migraine, you may have:
Pain that pulses or throbs
Pain typically on one side of your head, although you can have it on both
Sensitivity to smell, touch, light and sound
Nausea and vomiting
Following a migraine attack, you may feel confused and drained that could last for up to a day. You may feel elated. Pain may occur again briefly with sudden head movement.
How Migraines are Treated
While there’s no cure for migraines, our chiropractor can help you manage your migraines so you don’t have them as often and when you do, treat your symptoms. Treatment could also help make your migraines less severe.
The type of treatment you receive will depend on:
The frequency of your migraines
Their severity based on how much pain you experience, how long they last and how often they keep you from going to work or school
If you have nausea or vomiting or other symptoms
If you have other health problems or are taking other medications
To determine what’s causing your migraines, our Boca Raton chiropractor, Dr. Allan DellaBella, D.C. , will evaluate your symptoms, diet, lifestyle and posture and take your medical history to develop a customized plan of treatment for migraine relief.
Many plans of treatment combine various modes of home care and professional therapies, including:
1. Spinal Manipulation
Spinal manipulation is where our chiropractor who’s trained in spinal manipulation uses either a device or his hands to apply a controlled force to your spine at a specific joint. When he applies force, you might hear a popping sound. The upper part of your spine in your neck (your cervical spine) is the area of focus when Dr. DellaBella uses spinal manipulation to treat migraines.
A study for evaluating the efficacy of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for treating migraines found individuals who received this type of chiropractic treatment for their migraines, experienced substantial improvements in their migraine duration, frequency, medication use and disability.
When you don’t have your spine adjusted properly, your nerves that run from your spinal cord out to your body could be impacted. And, this could impact your health in various ways with migraines being one of the potential results. Treatments that don’t address misalignments won’t stop pain from coming back. Therefore, the goal shouldn’t just be to relieve pain, but also wellness.
2. Lifestyle Adjustments
Changes in your exercise routine, diet and sleep could have immense effects on migraine headaches. For example, if you have irregular sleep patterns, this could trigger migraines, therefore, learning some methods for regular, deep sleep can help. Exercising regularly could also improve your condition. Eating a healthy diet regularly is another way of protecting yourself.
3. Relaxation Techniques
Learning some easy ways of managing stress could help prevent migraine headaches in a couple of ways. First, high-stress levels cause muscle tension that results in migraines, therefore it’s essential you address tension before it leads to pain. Keeping your levels of stress down is also helpful since relaxation from an increased stress level could cause a migraine. Some effective techniques of relaxation are guided imagery, massage therapy, meditation and breathing exercises.
Some doctors prescribe medicine to either treat the pain or prevent migraines. But, these medications often come with side effects that are unpleasant like fatigue, nausea and racing heartbeat. Many people don’t take their migraine medicines as they’re prescribed. Fortunately, chiropractic treatment for migraines can not only effective, but don’t carry the negative side effects with them and can contribute to your overall health.
Rely on Shadowood Chiropractic Center for Effective Migraine Treatment in Boca Raton
Shadowood Chiropractic Center provides natural, safe treatments for injuries and chronic pain for individuals in the Boca Raton area. Dr. DellaBella and the rest of our chiropractic team are committed to helping you recover from anything from sports injuries, auto accidents or other causes of discomfort and pain. To learn more about how we can help with your migraine headaches, call us today at 561-488-4000 or complete our online form.