- Throbbing or pulsating pain usually on only one side of the head
- Duration of 2 to 72 hours
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to sound, smell, or light
- Pain that worsens with physical activity
- One-third of people have an aura (usually a visual disturbance that occurs before the head pain)
Risks for Developing Migraines
- Are seen more often in women than in men
- May be genetic in nature in two-thirds of cases, meaning if other family members have them, you may get them as well
- Can be brought about by hormones, as more boys are affected before puberty and more girls have migraines after puberty
- Can be brought on during pregnancy for some women
- Are connected to the nerves and blood vessels of the brain
- Are thought to be a mixture of genetic and environmental factors
Facts About Migraines
As many as 15% of people worldwide suffer from migraines. Most commonly, people start getting them during puberty and they become worse in middle age. With women, they may become less common after menopause. Interestingly, there has been information found as far back as 1500 BCE describing migraines. This is an age-old condition still causing people today much distress.
Traditional Care for Migraines
Most family doctors suggest their patients begin with a simple over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or Tylenol (acetaminophen). They may also recommend medication to care for nausea that accompanies migraines. If this does not work, triptans or ergotamines will more than likely be tried, possibly with caffeine. Some other medications that are quite popular are valproate, topiramate, and metoprolol. It is important, however, to remember that these medications, while providing some relief, do little more than cover over symptoms until the pain subsides. Migraines will often return another day if the underlying cause is not addressed.
There are four possible phases to a migraine, although not all four are always experienced. Let’s take a detailed look at each one to help you understand what you may be going through before, during, and after a migraine.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines and other headaches download our complimentary e-book Natural and Drug-Free Ways to End Your Migraines below.
Around 60% of people who get migraines go through prodromal or premonitory symptoms associated with this phase. These symptoms begin anywhere from two hours to two days before a migraine begins. Symptoms of this phase, which may or may not include an aura, can include:
- Depression or extreme elation
- Stiff neck muscles
- Cravings for certain food
- Sensitivity to smells or noise
- Diarrhea or constipation
An aura is a set of specific symptoms that often occur gradually over a few minutes and typically last around an hour before an actual headache hits. Symptoms can be:
Some people have more than one of these. Visual is the most common and is described as:
- An alteration in part of the visual field that flickers and interferes with your ability to drive or read
- Begins near the center of vision and spreads out
- May have zigzagging lines to the side of vision that look like walls of a castle
- Usually black and white but some see colors
- Part of your field of vision may disappear or you may have blurry vision
Sensory auras are the second most common. Symptoms are:
- A pins and needles sensation that begins in the hands and spreads to the nose or mouth on the same side
- Numbness sets in after the tingling goes away
- Speech or language problems
- Feeling as if the world is spinning
- Motor problems and weakness
- Auditory hallucinations or delusions
The head pain usually is one sided and moderate to severe in strength. It can be made worse through physical activity. In at least 40% of cases, the pain is on both sides and accompanied by neck pain. Bilateral pain is more common in those who do not have an aura. Other symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and odors
This phase comes about after the head pain has subsided. Many report feeling “hung over”. Other symptoms are:
- Cognitive issues
- Mood changes
- Gastrointestinal issues
Oddly enough, some feel very happy and rested, while others suffer from depression and malaise. This may change for the same person at different times.
Can Anything Help with the Pain of Migraines?
The underlying source of migraines has, in some cases, been linked to a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, particularly the C1 and C2 vertebrae. How does a misalignment happen here? It can be due to a minor or major trauma. Car accidents resulting in whiplash are often to blame. Other trauma that causes a blow to the head or neck can be the source, including sporting accidents or simply tripping and falling.
A misalignment in this area can put the brainstem under pressure, as it is located in the same vicinity. This means it can send faulty signals to the brain about oxygen supply and pain. This can lead to a migraine. Also, nerves and blood vessels can be negatively impacted in the neck, also leading to migraines.
Here at Besso Clinic in Stow, Ohio, we help our patients with migraines by using a gentle, yet specific method to help the bones of the neck to realign. This does not require us to force or crack the spine or neck. Rather it is a more natural technique to help the bones move back into place. This results in a longer-lasting adjustment. Many of our migraine patients and those in case studies report seeing positive results in as little as one or two adjustments.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with the Besso clinic call (330) 689-1234 or just click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.