Can I Use a Chiropractor for Migraines?

If you suffer from migraine headaches, you know that I don’t use the word “suffer” lightly. Migraines can be debilitating, causing throbbing pain in your head and completely interrupting your life for hours or even days. 

Migraine headaches are also not uncommon. The Migraine Research Foundation reports that 12% of Americans suffer from migraine headache attacks, helping make migraines the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world. 

While migraines sometimes cannot be completely taken away, they can often be managed. Alternative therapies, like chiropractic care, are among some of the most effective ways to relieve pain and prevent future attacks. 

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is an intense headache, with the keyword being “intense.” Regular headaches can cause pain and discomfort in the head, face, or neck, pain that is often relieved over time with the help of over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. But a migraine presents differently, is higher in intensity, and is harder to get rid of. 

Migraine headaches are also different from regular headaches in that many people often experience the following with a migraine:

  • Severe throbbing or pulsing pain usually on one side of the head
  • Sensitivity to light, touch, and sound
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vision disturbances (often just before an attack)
  • Little, if any, relief from over-the-counter medications

While the exact cause of migraines is unknown, many factors could be responsible for triggering a migraine attack. Some of the more common triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Hormones
  • Food and chemical sensitivities
  • Changes in your regular sleep schedule
  • Changes in the weather
  • Dehydration

How Can Migraines be Treated?

If you have had a migraine before, you know firsthand that you can think of little else but getting relief from your pain. Unfortunately, there is not a cure for the headache disorder. Treatment for migraines can run from prescription medications to lifestyle changes. However, one highly effective and often overlooked treatment for migraines is chiropractic care. 

How Can a Chiropractor Help?

Tension and strain in the muscles and fascia of the head and neck is a common contributor to headaches and migraines.  The deep muscles attaching your skull to your spine are actually attached to the covering of your brain by what is called the “myodural bridge”.  Irritation and inflammation of these tissues and the nerves around the base of your skull can affect blood flow and trigger various types of head, neck, and jaw pain.  This can also be associated with the nausea and vertigo that often accompanies migraines.  

A chiropractor can help relieve migraine pain and help prevent future migraines without the use of medications. . We first get a thorough health history to understand the timing and triggers for your headaches.  We then do various orthopedic and neurologic tests to figure out what areas of your spine and nervous system may be contributing to the problem.  

Successful treatment of migraines often involves a combination of therapies, including

  • Spinal adjustments to improve mobility and reduce tension on the spine and nerves
  • Stretches and exercises. We teach patients specific stretches and exercises that can help improve range of motion, reduce tension in the shoulder, neck, and spine, improve breathing, and reduce overall stress 
  • Lifestyle advice. We offer lifestyle advice to help you manage and avoid headache triggers
  • Nutrition counseling. Our nutrition counseling can help patients who experience headaches from poor diets and or nutrition deficiencies 

Chiropractic care is also becoming increasingly popular as an alternative treatment for migraines. In 2017, a survey of chiropractors showed that 53% of their caseload were patients who suffer from migraines. Chiropractic care is not only effective for treating migraines, but it’s safer with far fewer side effects than migraine medications.

If you have a history of migraines, Frederick Chiropractic Wellness Center would love to help you find relief. Book an appointment today to discuss how we can treat and prevent migraine attacks. 

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