As a former migraine headaches sufferer, I know first hand how a migraine can control your life. And...there just doesn't seem like there are very many people out there (including doctors) who understand what a migraine headache does to you.
I actually discovered chiropractic as a patient searching for answers for my migraine headaches...and I found them. In my case, the cause of my headaches was pressure on my brain-stem from a misalignment of the top vertebrae in my neck (the Atlas). Chiropractors call this a subluxation ( About the upper cervical spine ).
However, sometimes diagnosing and treating migraine headaches is not so easy. First of all, there are many types of headaches (tension, sinus, orbital, migraine, and more) and there is quite a bit of overlap as far as symptoms, which makes it hard to determine if the problem is physical (like my problem was), chemical (medications, hormonal, environmental), or emotional (stress, trauma), or hereditary.
Migraines can be so
painful as to hinder one's ability to carry out normal activities and
negatively impact the overall quality of life, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical
variety of physiological, lifestyle, dietary and environmental factors can
potentially trigger a migraine attack.
Migraines Can Be
The vast majority of migraine sufferers have a family history of this often
debilitating type of headache. Migraines may start off innocently enough with
an understated dull ache that soon escalates into pulsating pain that may
penetrate the front, back or sides of the head and at the temples. The
discomfort associated with migraines may extend beyond the skull and cause
flu-like symptoms like nausea and vomiting. A migraine episode may also provoke sensitivity to noise and
Hormone imbalances, particularly fluctuating estrogen levels that can occur
during menstruation, seem to set-off headaches in many women with a history of
migraines, reports the Mayo Clinic. Sixty percent of women with migraine say their attacks right around the time of
menstruation, according to Migraine Mentors.com. Women may also be more prone to
migraines while pregnant or during menopause. Hormonal surges during puberty
can also trigger migraines.
Some migraines appear to be triggered by certain foods. In fact the
National Headache Foundation says at least 100 foods and beverages may
instigate a migraine. Common culprits include caffeine, processed and salty
foods, chocolate and aged cheeses. Beer and wine also seem to in set off
migraines in some people.
Smells May Set Off Migraines
Pleasant and foul odors alike can trigger migraines, according the Mayo Clinic.
The smell of perfume, smoke and household chemicals can bring about migraines
in some individuals. Too much or too little sleep may also provoke migraines.
My Take: Sure, migraine headaches according to the textbook seem easy to diagnose from the other types of headaches...but believe me, it's not so easy. I know from first hand experience as a migraine headaches patient and doctor, that headaches are one the the worlds great mysteries.
And the medical treatment options are slim.
There is one thing I do know for sure after 20 years of helping thousands of headaches patients. The first place to look is the spine...especially the upper cervical spine where the brain exits the skull and enters the spinal column (Atlas vertebrae). Because, if there is pressure on the brain-stem, it can cause all sorts of problems, even hormonal imbalances, light sensitivity, and nausea.
My suggestion is to at least get checked out by a chiropractor for your migraine headache symptoms...because who knows...it might just be your last stop. And those drugs they give you for migraine headaches are no fun...I know...I ended up in the hospital having my stomach pumped from an allergic reaction to them.
Chiropractic IS a natural solution for many migraine headache patients. You just need to give it a chance.
Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in San Francisco.