What is a Migraine?
Migraines are extremely painful headaches that are frequently accompanied by other symptoms such as visual disturbances and nausea. They are sometimes categorised into two groups; migraines with an aura where you may see stars, blind spots and zig zags are called a common migraine; migraines without the aura are called a classic migraine.
What causes Migraine?
There is no cure for migraines, and there is still uncertainty as to the cause, however, it is generally accepted that a change in blood flow to the brain is a prime factor. There also seems to be a genetic link to migraine, and triggers can be alcohol, certain foods, hormonal fluctuations, stress, bright lights, certain odours and some medications.
What are the Symptoms of Migraine?
Migraines feel like the most severe headache imaginable, often throbbing in nature, it may start on one side and spread to the whole head with the worst symptoms being either side of the forehead. They can last as long as three days.
Accompanying symptoms often include, vomiting, dizziness,visual disturbances, and an inability to tolerate noise, light or movement. When the migraine has cleared patients often feel tiredand mentally dull for several days.
How can a Chiropractor treat Migraines?
Treatment for migraine is aimed at reducing the chance of one developing and reducing the symptoms once one has started.
Avoiding all known triggers is vital, avoid tobacco, get plenty of sleep, reduce the stress in your life, eat regular meals and drink plenty of water.
There is a variety of different types of medication available from your doctor designed to help stabilise the blood flow around the brain, and to ease the pain when a migraine has started.
Anything else I should know?
There have been few clinical trials researching chiropractic treatment of migraine, however it has beenshown that there may be some advantage in spinal manipulative therapy in reducing migraine frequency and severity, and more research is needed.
Tuchin PJ, Pollard H, Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000;23(2):91-95.
Astin JA., Ernst E. The effectiveness of spinal manipulation for the treatment of headache disorders: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Cephalagia. 2002;22(8):617-623.