Migraine Headache

Migraine Causes and Treatments

Each year, around 28 million people suffer with migraines in the United States. About 2/3 of those that have migraines are women. The pain that happens during a migraine can be quite intense.

When a migraine happens, the blood vessels near the brain will first constrict and then later dilate. During the time that the blood vessels are constricted, the person will often feel some of the varied pre-migraine symptoms that are known as the aura. Some of these symptoms can include sensitivity to noise, spots or flashing lights in the vision, and a change in the sense of smell.

When the blood vessels dilate, the throbbing and pounding begin. This pain can be quite unbearable. For those that have been blessed to not suffer with migraines, the pain that is felt is similar to the throbbing pain that is felt when you smash your finger, except that the pain is in the head. In fact, the pain that you feel with a migraine may be caused by the same reason smashing your finger results in pain: Vasodilation, Inflammation, and Nerve Sensitivity.

Here comes the Pain

After the blood vessels near the brain have been constricted for a while, they change and dilate. With the dilation, the blood vessels become permiable and leak inflammatory chemicals out of the blood. The dilation of the blood vessels occurs as a result of a signal that is released from the brain and surrounding tissues when they experience something that is recognized by them as “not right”.

In the case of migraines, some possible common problems that can cause the blood vessels to dilate and leak inflammatory chemicals is excessive firing of the nerves in the brain, imbalances of neurotransmitters, and inflammation that is already present in or around parts of the the brain.

As stated earlier, the leakage of fluid from the blood creates greater inflammation. As the levels of inflammation around the brain increase, the cranial nerves that give sensation to the head and face get irritated, causing pain and tenderness to be felt in the areas where they convey sensation.

You remember the pains that you have felt when smashing your finger, the throbbing, pulsatile pain? Well, that pain as was stated earlier, is also caused by those inflammatory chemicals that are released from the blood after your finger experienced it's own problem, the hammer hitting it.

What can be done to help my migraines?

To help stop the migraines that you are suffering with, you can either choose to take medications or try a more conservative alternative. A few of the common medications that have been used to help with migraines are:

  • Triptans, (such as Imitrex) Triptans work by constricting the blood vessels
  • Ergots (such as Migranal) Ergots work by constricting the blood vessels
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) Is anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever
  • Excedrin Migraine (Acetaminophen, aspirin, caffeine) Used to stop and also ease pain of migraine.
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil) Trycyclic antidepressant --- helps to alter the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

Medications are not perfect

  1. They don't really do anything to correct the real cause of the headache and will have to be taken over and over again.
  2. Medications are hard on the body. Not only can your medications cause serious side effects, but they are also taxing on the liver, the stomach, and the kidneys. Some of the side effects from medications are a result of the wearing out these areas of the body.
  3. Using headache medications too much can make them less effective to where they no longer help to get rid of your migraine. Also, the overuse of your medications will often result in perpetuating your headache symptoms. Yes, your headache medicine can give you a headache.

Chiropractic care

Several studies have shown that chiropractic treatments can help with Migraines. In fact, some studies have shown that adjustments are as effective as medication in the treatment of migraines, but without any of the side effects.

Another benefit of chiropractic adjustments is that they can help to decrease both the frequency and the intensity of the migraines. This means with Chiropractic care you will get your migraines less often and when you do get them they will be less intense.

At Springville Chiropractic, our treatments are quite effective and can help you feel better again. Our treatments include adjustments and a technique named Trigenics® that helps to fix the muscle problems that are present with migraines.

Do you want to start treatment? Download the new patient form and call us to make an appointment: 801–489–4990.

What are the Triggers for your headaches?

The causes of migraines are many. For one person, a certain food may cause the onset of a migraine, while in another, the cause can be the result of bright lights. The following are a few of the things that can start a persons migraine.

  • Alcohol
  • Certain foods such as aged cheese, nuts, peanut butter, deli meats, foods with monosodium glutamate, onions, and bananas.
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Skipping meals
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Bright lights
  • Loud noises
  • Fluctuation of hormones --- (migraines may occur more during pregnancy, or around the time of the menstrual period).

It is thought that each of these triggers result in the initiation of the sequence of events discussed earlier, where the nervous system becomes irritated, and over stimulated, leading to the constriction and later the dilation of the blood vessels.

Fixing the root cause

As you can see, the real problem with migraines isn't the food, the stress, the hormones, or the other triggers, but how your body deals with these things.

If you really want to make a big change in how often you have migraines, and the intensity of them, then it is critically important that you change how your body reacts to those things that are the triggers of your migraines. The way to do this is to find out why your body is reacting to your triggers, and fix that.

Through a specialized model of care called Functional Medicine, we will analyze and perform diagnostic tests to find where your body's is malfunctioning. When we know the physiological processes that are not working, we can create a treatment plan that is customized just for the needs of your body. We can help you so that your body functions more normal and no longer react like it does to your migraine triggers.

If you would like to receive chiropractic treatments to help you get out of the pain that you suffer with, call us to set up an appointment.

If you feel that you need further help in correcting the many of those underlying factors that make you more prone to migraines call us and let us know that you would like a Functional Medicine appointment.

There is no need to continue to suffer with those headaches, call now: 801–489–4990.