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Chiropractic and Migraines

Do you or someone you love suffer from migraines?  Have you tried many medications, undergone expensive testing, but still have no real solution to your headaches?  Do you get headaches, but aren't sure if they are migraines?  Are you interested in a natural, holistic, non-drug treatment for your headaches? 

If so, please read on.

What Is A Migraine?

            There are really two types of migraines-classic and common migraines.  All migraines are usually described as "pulsating, throbbing, or pounding" and tend to be worse on one side of the head, although both sides may be affected.  The pain is usually worse around the temples.  Some people also have neck pain, or pain that begins at the base of the skull and moves up over the head.  The pain usually starts as a dull ache, but gets worse quickly, and may last anywhere from 6 hours to several days.  You may also experience nausea and vomiting, chills, fatigue, increased urination, sensitivity to lights and/or sounds and smells, sweating, numbness, tingling, weakness, and difficulty concentrating.  In a classic migraine, the migraine is directly preceded by an "aura". The aura is a warning that a migraine is coming, although not all auras are followed by the headache.  An aura usually occurs 15-30 minutes before the headache, and may involve blind spots, flashes of light and color, blurred vision, eye pain, and even weakness and difficulty communicating.  Common migraines aren't preceded by the aura, but they may last longer than the classic migraine.  After a migraine, many sufferers describe a "hung over" feeling, where they may feel tired, mentally dull, and have neck pain.

What Causes Migraines?

            A migraine is caused by abnormal brain activity.  But scientists aren't really sure what causes this abnormal brain activity.  It is believed that migraine suffers may have brains that are more sensitive to external factors than the average person.  When something triggers the migraine, there are abnormal electrical, vascular, and biochemical changes in the brain that causes the migraine symptoms.  If you have parents who suffer from migraines, you may be more likely to have migraines.

            Common migraine triggers include alcohol, sleep pattern changes, bright lights, certain smells, allergic reactions, hormonal changes (such as with birth control pills or during the menstrual cycle), smoke, stress, missed meals, weather changes, loud noises, and exercise.  There are many foods that are also known migraine triggers, such as: chocolate, wine, aged and processed food, caffeine, foods containing nitrates, MSG, pickled or fermented foods, certain fruits, and other foods.

How Can ComfortWorks Help Me? 

            Chiropractic is a non-invasive, non-drug, more holistic way of looking at physical problems.  At ComfortWorks, our specialty is the musculoskeletal system.  We address areas of spinal, muscular or neurological irritation.  We look for areas of the spine that have lost their normal flexibility or that are moving incorrectly, and we correct that with an "adjustment".  In particular for our migraine sufferers, we generally focus on the cervical, or neck area, the jaw, and the upper back.  We usually do a combination of adjustments, and "myofascial release", a special type of therapy that helps with irritation in the muscles and other soft tissues of the neck.  We also have a therapeutic massage therapist on staff for our patients who may have more extensive muscle problems.    

Your first visit will consist of a physical exam, which will include orthopedic, neurologic and other tests.  We do not do X-rays in our office, or require them of every patient.  We will review your complete health history with you, and discuss any particular concerns or issues you may have.  Your treatment will begin at that same visit. 

At ComfortWorks, we don't just adjust you and send you on your way.  We also offer specific lifestyle advice tailored to your particular situation, such as exercises you can do at home, nutritional changes you can make, and changes you can make in everything from how you sleep to how you sit at work.   Every migraine sufferer is different, and as we get to know your specific situation we tailor our advice accordingly.  However, chiropractic cannot help every migraine sufferer.  We usually recommend an initial trial period of about 2-3 weeks to see if chiropractic is something that will help your individual case. 

Many people come to ComfortWorks as a last resort, after undergoing extensive testing that revealed nothing, and after trying many medications that all have side affects and left them feeling groggy and unwell.  Many people have told us that they wish they had come here first, before undergoing the expense and side effects of traditional medical treatment.