If you have ever experienced a migraine, you know just how debilitating it can be. Nausea, vomiting, blind spots, sensitivity to light and sound, and pulsing or throbbing pain are just a few symptoms associated with this severe form of headache. Many people also experience blind spots or visual impairment before a migraine; this indicator is known as an “aura.”
Unlike a regular headache, migraines result when blood vessels in the head swell instead of contract, which can cause swollen tissue in and around the brain that becomes intensely painful. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that more than 39 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches regularly.
Dealing with migraines is no easy task. Symptoms can last from 4 to 72 hours and may leave you drained and exhausted the next day. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and pain injections are common treatments for migraine headaches. However, these medications aren’t always enough and only address the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. Fortunately, many people have found relief from migraines through chiropractic treatment.
What Causes Migraines?
The cause of migraines is unclear and may vary depending on hormones, genetics, and the environment. Stress, fatigue, serotonin, and estrogen levels may all play a role in the occurrence and severity of migraines. However, changes in blood flow and nerve cell communication in the brain often contribute to migraine pain.
The constriction of blood vessels in the brain can decrease blood flow and cause the visual impairments often experienced with the ‘aura’ sensation some get at the onset of a migraine. When these blood vessels expand, the sudden increase in blood pressure contributes to the throbbing, pounding feeling most commonly felt during a migraine.
Many people who suffer from migraines also experience neck pain and stiffness. Muscle tension and nerve irritation in the head and neck caused by spinal misalignments can affect blood flow to the brain, which may increase the severity of the headache. This is where chiropractic care can come into play.
Can a Chiropractor Help with Migraine Headaches?
While chiropractic treatment for migraines is still actively being researched, many people have found relief from migraines through the help of a chiropractor. Since chiropractors specialize in treating the spine and neuromuscular system, they may use various spinal manipulation techniques to adjust the spine and surrounding muscles. These chiropractic techniques can improve nerve functioning and blood flow to the brain, reducing the occurrence and severity of migraines.
What to Expect from Chiropractic Migraine Treatment
At O’Dell Family Chiropractic, our chiropractors help treat migraine headaches with a series of adjustments, manipulations, and exercises for the head, neck, and upper thoracic spine. After an initial consultation and diagnosis, we will implement a comprehensive corrective spinal care plan suited for your specific needs.
Corrective spinal care for headaches and migraines may include:
- manual adjustments, or adjustments using a handheld tool to the spine and joints
- soft tissue manipulation around the head and neck
- Myofascial release
- Trigger point therapy to relax muscles, improve blood flow, and relieve pressure on compressed nerves
- Manual exercises to strengthen underused muscles in the neck
- Dietary and lifestyle management suggestions to alleviate stress, improve relaxation and help reduce the onset and duration of migraines
How often should you go to a chiropractor for migraines? After an initial consultation, your chiropractor can give you a better idea of how often you should receive treatment to see the best possible outcome. The regularity and duration with which you see your chiropractor will depend on your specific condition and health goals.
For example, if your chronic migraines result from a spinal misalignment you’ve had for years, the chiropractor may want to see you weekly for a number of months. This extended period of time will allow them to gradually and diligently address all the underlying conditions. Someone with infrequent migraines but no spinal misalignment may have a different treatment plan. In short, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer for how often to see a chiropractor. It’s best to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor to see what plan is best for you.
Want Relief from Your Migraine Pain? See O’Dell Family Chiropractic
If you’ve suffered from migraine pain, you don’t have to suffer alone. Our expert doctors at O’Dell Family Chiropractic want to help you return to a pain-free life. Our holistic approach to healing treats the body from the inside out. Our targeted methodology for spinal care can help improve spinal function, alleviate pressure on the nervous system, and help to reduce the occurrence and severity of headaches. Contact us today at 585-671-9210 or visit our website to schedule an appointment or to get more information about our personalized approach to migraine relief.