Migraine Relief - Chiropractic Treatment & Our 5 Top Tips
It is estimated that in the UK alone, 6 million people suffer from Migraines. With Migraine Awareness Week (6th-12th September) upon us, Chiropractor, Dr Jonathan Cook (DC, FRCC, SFRCC) shares his advice for Migraine Sufferers.
"As a Chiropractic clinic, here in Bristol, we often see patients presenting with recurrent migraine pain which they are desperate to find a solution for. They've often tried their GP, various over-the-counter medications, as well as prescription medicine. Although drugs can help symptoms, they often don't stop the migraines from developing in the first place. Here at The House Clinics, we aim to treat the cause of migraines through chiropractic treatment and lifestyle advice. Many of our patients report a significant improvement or total recovery from recurrent migraines."
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a moderate to severe headache, usually felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Affecting as many as 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men, migraine attacks can be severely debilitating for the sufferer. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
According to Professor Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology at King's College London, "migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise, and hunger.". Migraine is more than just a headache or a tension headache; the pain is much more severe.
How Can Chiropractic Treatment Help Relieve Migraines?
In some cases, causes or 'triggers' of migraine, can be related to certain foods such as cheese, alcohol, and caffeine, or environmental factors, for example, light, sound, and noise. However, often migraines are related to physiological factors such as stress, changes in your routine, poor posture, altered bio-mechanics, a lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and even dehydration.
In a clinical trial, 82% of people suffering from chronic migraine and tension headaches, experienced substantial improvement after a course of chiropractic treatment.
- Migraine can be attributed to problems arising in the joints and muscles of the neck. Usually, it is in the upper part of the neck and at the base of the skull that the issues arise – anatomically this is an important gateway for the nerves and blood vessels to travel in and out of the skull.
- Migraine can be triggered by problems with the neck due to an injury, poor posture, or long hours working at a desk.
- 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.
Jonathan says, "in many of the patients we treat here at The House Clinics, the physiological causes of migraines can be one of three things; biomechanical malfunction of the neck, which can cause alteration in blood flow to the brain, irritation to a nerve which can cause referred neurogenic pain, or inflammation of the joints of the neck and associated muscle tension. The root cause of this can be stress, posture - particularly at a computer, or injury."
Chiropractic Treatment and Prevention For Migraines
Chiropractic treatment for migraines is highly effective in addressing the root cause of the pain as well as helping to prevent future migraine attacks.
In an initial consultation, your chiropractor can assess your symptoms and spinal alignment. We will then offer a recommended treatment programme which may include the following:
- Spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate stress on your system.
- Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (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)
- Ice treatment to alleviate inflammation, pain, and muscle spasm.
Our Top 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.