- Throbbing or pounding head pain
- Usually one-sided
- Sensitivity to bright lights, loud noises, and certain odors
- Nausea and vomiting
Migraines will not just go away by drinking lots of water and lying down in a dark room. While this can be helpful, there is so much more involved with migraines. These headaches can last anywhere from 2 to 72 hours and can be extremely debilitating, causing one to miss out on family, work, and social activities. This condition is also associated with some surprising facts many people do not know.
Surprising Facts About Migraines
- Lightning storms can bring on migraines. A study was conducted of those suffering from migraines in Missouri and Ohio, and an interesting connection was discovered. The risk of getting a migraine was much higher on days when there was lightning close by. Other things, such as barometric pressure and humidity levels, did not play a part in the elevated risk, although these had been linked to migraines previously. The theories are that electromagnetic waves produced by the lightning may be triggering migraines. Or it may be due to the increased production of ozone or fungus spores.
- Migraines are associated with other serious health problems. People that have migraines are at an elevated risk of cardiovascular problems and stroke in comparison with the general population. When you have an aura with your migraine, are over age 35, smoke, or use oral contraceptives, you are at an increased risk of stroke.
- A drop in stress can lead to a migraine. Most people recognize that an increase in stress can cause a migraine. However, the opposite is true also. Completing your final exams or getting your work presentation over with may feel like a relief. However, research reveals there is a 20% increased risk of a migraine episode when your mood goes from sad or nervous to happy or relaxed. The theory on this is that these “let-down” migraines may be due to a sudden drop in hormone levels.
- Migraines are sometimes brought about by the wind. Some people suffering from migraines insist that the wind is a trigger for their migraines. One study backs this up. Researchers in Alberta, Canada saw migraines increase in risk when Chinook winds were prevalent and exceeded 23 miles per hour. Chinook winds are warm winds coming from the west. At least half of migraine sufferers have a sensitivity to humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure.
- Migraines have been linked to suicide risk. Several studies have been conducted that show people with migraines have an increased risk for attempted and completed suicide. The risk increases even more for those with an aura or who have other sensory symptoms along with a migraine, such as flashing light. Dawn Buse, Ph.D., from Montefiore Medical Center in NYC says that depression and migraines share a similar biology and this may be an important link.
- Medication to help migraines may often make them worse. This is referred to as a medication overuse or rebound headache. For some reason, the medicine meant to help migraines can backfire and cause you to have a worse headache that happens more frequently. This can occur with triptans (specific drugs for migraines), NSAIDs, narcotics, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and other medications. It is recommended not to use migraine medications more than twice a week, in order to avoid this problem.
- Exercise prevents migraines. It has been discovered that daily exercise can be as effective as daily medication or relaxation in combating migraines. This was confirmed by a study in the journal Cephalalgia where participants exercised for 40 minutes, 3 times a week. Scientists theorize that sweating may reduce stress hormones.
- Migraines are tied to menstruation. Hormones again play a part here. Many women get their first migraine when they get their period or become pregnant. Relief is often seen after menopause. Oral contraceptives can also bring about or change the severity and frequency of migraines.
- You can have a migraine without a headache. Some have aura-like symptoms, nausea and vomiting, constipation, and dizziness without a headache. This can still be a migraine, as a headache is just one of the main symptoms of this condition.
Finding Relief for Migraines
Another interesting and little-known fact about migraines is that they can be caused by a tiny misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. If the C1 or C2 vertebra is out of alignment by only ¼ of a millimeter, it can wreak havoc on the entire body and cause a number of different health problems, including migraines.
The brainstem is protected by the C1 and C2 vertebrae. Therefore, if they misalign, they can actually put the brainstem under pressure and hinder blood flow between the brain and the body. The brainstem can begin sending improper signals. Oxygen flow to the brain can become reduced while the pressure within the skull can increase due to this hindrance.
Here at Precision Chiropractic West, we help our migraine patients by using a technique called Atlas Orthogonal. This is a gentle, precise method that allows the bones of the neck to move back into place naturally without popping or cracking the spine or neck. Once this is corrected, the body can begin healing from the damage done due to the misalignment. This can regulate oxygen flow and restore communication throughout the body. Many see an improvement in migraines in only one or two adjustments. Some see them go away and not return.
To schedule a complimentary NUCCA consultation call 925-829-7900 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.