Chiropractic Treatment For Migraines & 5 Lifestyle Tips To Help Prevent Them
If you're a migraine sufferer, you'll know how debilitating an attack can be.
And it's not uncommon for people with migraines to suffer an episode at least once a month, or even weekly and daily!
That's a significant impact on quality of life, and it's not surprising that a google search for 'migraine cure' racks up a global volume of over 17,000 searches on a daily basis! That's a lot of people desperately looking for a solution to their migraine pain.
Recent research conducted by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), shows that in the UK alone, an estimated 6 million people suffer from frequent Migraines, with around 190,000 attacks happening every day!
Here's what we'll look at:
- What exactly is a migraine?
- Why Chiropractic treatment is so effective for migraine
- What does Chiropractic treatment for Migraine involve?
- Our top 5 lifestyle tips to prevent migraine attacks from occurring
What exactly is a Migraine Attack?
A migraine is a moderate to severe headache, usually felt as a throbbing or stabbing pain on one side of the head. It's different from a normal headache, both in terms of the level of pain and some of the other symptoms you'll experience alongside it which can include nausea or vomiting, visual disturbances, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
According to The Migraine Trust, 'Migraine is a severe and painful long-term health condition. If you have migraine you will have migraine attacks, which can be a whole-body experience."
Common to many sufferers is a migraine aura that can signal the onset of an attack. These are a set of symptoms that stem from the nervous system and often start gradually over a short period of time before the migraine pain really hits.
These can include:
- Seeing black dots, wavy lines or flashes of light
- Not being able to see at all
- Tingling sensations or numbness on one side of your body
- Ringing ears
- Becoming suddenly sensitive to noise, light and sound
After a migraine attack has passed (which can last from anywhere between 2-3 hours to 2-3 days!) you may feel completely wiped out, cranky and weak, or some people feel incredibly relieved and refreshed - almost as if their bodies have reset. But either way, migraine is a very real problem and it's worth looking at Chiropractic treatment as a means of prevention and cure.
Why Chiropractic Treatment Can Help Migraines
Chiropractic treatment is increasingly recognised as an effective way to help people suffering from migraine, in reducing the frequency, severity and duration of an attack.
A crucial step towards finding the most appropriate treatment for migraine is diagnosing the root cause.
When migraines occur, cranial blood vessels expand, known as vasodilation. It's a complicated chemical and neurological chain of events, but in a nutshell, the constricted blood vessels cause raised pressure and stretch on the blood vessel walls.
There are a number of reasons why this might happen (including stress, hormone activity and diet) but musculoskeletal problems can be a major contributing factor.
- Many migraines and headaches are caused by irregularities and malfunction of the joints, ligaments and muscles of the neck, or the vertebral joints of your spine. These problems can lead to muscle tension and, or irritation of the complex nerves surrounding those structures - all of which control blood flow to the head and can trigger your migraine attack.
- A chiropractor specialises in the treatment of neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) disorders. And because mechanical malfunction originating in the back or upper neck can be major triggers for migraine headaches, chiropractic treatment can be hugely beneficial.
- In some cases, 'triggers' of migraine, can be related to certain foods such as cheese, alcohol, and caffeine, or environmental factors such as light, sound, and noise. But Chiropractic treatment can still be very effective because it addresses the physiological changes in the blood vessel wall.
Causes of Migraine & When Chiropractic Treatment is effective
- An injury, poor posture, or long hours working at a desk can cause these muscles in your neck and base of the skull to tighten - your Chiropractor can treat this and give you posture and exercise advice.
- Migraine is often associated with high levels of stress. Today, more than ever, we are juggling demanding jobs with family life. Stress causes our muscles to tighten, affecting our neck and the base of the skull.
- Migraines can be hormonal or linked to a women's menstrual cycle. In these cases, women often experience higher levels of muscle tension triggering painful headaches that can be alleviated by chiropractic treatment of the neck.
- Teeth grinding at night can also cause migraine and tension headaches because the muscles around the jaw and neck become very tight as a result.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment For Migraines Involve?
In an initial consultation, your chiropractor can assess your symptoms and spinal alignment. Chiropractors are trained to identify and correct the musculoskeletal problems that lead to migraines
A recommended treatment programme may include the following:
- Spinal manipulation or specialised chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate stress on your nervous system.
- Advice on general posture, ergonomics (desk posture), exercises, and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
- Acupuncture/Dry needling (to relieve muscle spasm and pain).
- Massage therapy to alleviate immediate symptoms (This is also advised on an ongoing basis to alleviate stress)
- Cold therapy to alleviate inflammation, pain, and muscle spasm.
Top Lifestyle Tips To Prevent Migraines
By following these simple guidelines, you can help prevent the onset of a migraine attack.
1. Ensure You Get Enough Sleep
The key here is to ensure you keep a good sleep routine. Both too much sleep and too little sleep can trigger a migraine. Try and work out your optimum sleep time that leaves you feeling refreshed and stick with it.
2. Stay Hydrated
Even mild dehydration can trigger the onset of a migraine attack. Your recommended daily intake of fluids is 6-8 glasses of water, or around 2 litres a day. Limit caffeine and alcoholic drinks as they can also trigger headaches or have a dehydrating effect.
3. Don't Over or Under-Exercise
Sometimes too much exercise can spark a migraine, but no exercise at all will also increase the likelihood of muscle tension and stress. Regular and moderate activity will boost your overall health and keep you headache-free, even if it's a brisk walk. The golden rule with any new form of exercise is to start slowly and increase your activity levels gradually.
4. Don't Skip Meals
Migraines can be triggered when your blood sugar drops, and your brain feels it first. You may find eating healthy snacks in between meals helps too. Aim to give your body the fuel it needs for the entire day.
5. Track Your Attacks
It's advisable to keep a record of when you get migraines within a timeframe of about 2-3 months. By tracking your attacks, you can share this information with your GP or Chiropractor and gain valuable insight into what factors may be triggering them.
Your road to Migraine Recovery starts with a consultation with one of our Specialist Chiropractors. Call us now on 0117 9420200 or Book Online.
Here To Make you Feel Better!