For people who suffer from migraines, the number one goal is to get the overwhelming pain under control. Even when minor, headaches of this type make it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, study in school, work, and sleep, among other things. However, when a migraine headache is at its worst, an individual would have a difficult time functioning on any level.
In fact, at this point most people use a quiet and dark room as an escape. While conventional medicine plays an important role in getting migraines under control, chiropractic care has been proven to help prevent these headaches but also lessen the effects.
Before addressing the way that chiropractic care can benefit someone with migraines, it is important to understand more about headaches of this kind. Although considered common, the person who struggles with these headaches finds the pain and other symptoms to be anything but common. Keep in mind that there is some uniqueness on a person-to-person basis but overall, symptoms are the same for everyone.
For starters, there are two main types of migraines to include migraines with aura and migraines without aura. While the most prevalent, there are other types. A diagnosis as to actual type would be based on the symptoms presented. Regardless of the type of headache, symptoms typically include pain on just one side of the head, hypersensitivity to smells, sound, and light, depression, nausea and/or vomiting, sleep disturbances, and visual problems.
Types of Migraines
As mentioned, there are two main types of migraines but several others as well. Below is a brief description for each:
- Migraines with Aura – This involves a neurological phenomenon occurs in which a person would see wavy lines similar to a mirage of water in the middle of a dessert. Along with this, vision is blocked in the center portion of the eye while peripheral vision remains intact. However, when visual disturbances are not involved, other symptoms would appear to include change in language or speech, vertigo or dizziness, and a tingling/numbness of the face, tongue, arms, and legs. Usually, these symptoms appear between 15 and 30 minutes prior to the beginning of a migraine headache.
- Migraines without Aura – Of all migraines, this is the most common. In this case, pain develops on both sides of the head. Typical symptoms include light sensitivity, nausea, and/or vomiting. Unlike migraines with aura, this type causes fatigue and mood change the day before.
Although there are several additional types of migraines, we listed just a few as examples:
- Abdominal Migraine – Although the name sounds strange, this is a type of migraine experienced by children. Symptoms include abdominal pain, pale or flushed skin, and vomiting. This type of headache can last up to four days and children often begin having migraines without aura as adults.
- Headache-Free Migraine – In this case, a person would experience the wavy lines and blocked out center vision of aura but without actually having other symptoms of a migraine to include pain.
- Ophthalmoplegic Migraine – Interestingly, pain would start in the left eye, coupled with bouts of vomiting. However, as time passes, nerves that allow eye movement become paralyzed for days or weeks, causing the left eye to droop.
Before any treatment could be started, the exact type of migraine and cause would need to be determined. With a medical examination, other health issues could be ruled out. With a diagnosis made, various treatments would be discussed. While some people choose conventional treatments, others are interested in natural treatments. With growing interest in alternative medicine, a tremendous amount of attention has been placed on the benefits of chiropractic care for all types of migraines.
Instead of getting limited relief and being subjected to side effects of prescription medication, chiropractic care is a natural way of eliminating pain but also other symptoms. In addition to getting migraines under control, chiropractic care can be used to prevent the onset of headaches.
To start, a chiropractor would gather the patient and family’s medical history specific to headaches and other health-related issues, as well as prescription medications. Then, a physical examination would be performed to gain insight into the person’s musculoskeletal system, with the primary focus on neck muscles and joints. Although different treatment options are available, one of the main objectives would be to increase limited neck motion.
Another treatment is spinal adjusting that uses direct but gentle pressure and motions applied to the spinal area to realign vertebrae that have moved from their original position. This allows nerve signals to reach every part of the body, thereby promoting overall wellness. Spinal adjustments provide relief from pain and other migraine symptoms but best of all people get immediate relief with long-lasting results.
A chiropractor would also advise a patient to avoid known triggers such as eyestrain, strong odors, bright lights, changes in sleep patterns, caffeine, alcohol, and certain food items, among others. Chiropractic care used to treat migraines would also consist of recommendations being made specific to lifestyle choices. For instance, a person would be encouraged to get adequate sleep, exercise daily, eat well-balanced meals, and avoid things like alcohol, tobacco products, and illicit drugs. All these things combined allow someone with migraines to take control.