For anyone who has experienced them, migraines represent debilitating pain and general inconvenience. Migraine headaches can last for hours to days, typically causing nausea and high sensitivity to light, sound, and even smell. And while there is no cure-all for migraines, chiropractic care may help ease the toll these episodes take on the body.
What is a migraine?
The exact science behind migraines is not fully known yet. However, it is widely accepted that migraine attacks start from a trigger, whether it’s emotional, physical, environmental, etc.
From there, the neural pathways react adversely and cause the blood vessels to constrict or dilate, which affects the flow of oxygen to the brain. Chemical imbalances from this initial response lead to inflammation and swollen blood vessels, resulting in the pulsation associated with this condition.
Potential migraine triggers
The causes of migraines vary from person to person, but genetics may make you more susceptible to these headaches. Generally, migraines can be linked to any number of physical, chemical, and emotional triggers. For instance, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, as well as certain foods and medications can cause an attack. Additionally, physical and psychological causes like muscle tension, poor posture, stress, and anxiety can lead to an episode.
How can chiropractic care ease migraine symptoms?
Granted that your episodes result from physical causes such as shoulder and neck tension or postural misalignments, then chiropractic care as a treatment option should come as no surprise.
Misalignments of the spine, or subluxations, cause muscle tightness, which irritates the nerves and negatively affects blood flow to the brain, which has been linked to migraine attacks. Adjustments aim to relieve pressure on nerves that may be constricting the flow and sending pain signals.
Likewise, massage therapy focuses on trigger points in the back, neck, shoulders, and head to alleviate symptoms. Massage relaxes tense muscles allowing nerve signals to travel to and from the brain quickly and efficiently. It also works to release toxins and normalize any chemical imbalances that could potentially spur a headache.
Together, chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy may ease the severity, duration and frequency of migraine by improving the body function:
- Encouraging effective nervous system communication
- Soothing muscle tension
- Restoring proper blood flow
- Promoting the body’s natural healing process
- Decreasing the effects of stress and anxiety
Determining if chiropractic care is right for you
Chiropractic care is just one facet of a multi-stage approach to migraine treatment, as there are several likely causes to address. Come to your chiropractic session with a list of questions that can help you guide the conversation toward healing and comfort.
- How often should I come to the chiropractor to reduce my attacks?
- Should I come in while I’m experiencing a migraine or when I feel one coming on?
- What treatment options can I pair with chiropractic visits to maximize my results (OTCs/pain medication, exercise, etc.)?
Taking a proactive approach to your care can help you feel your best and avoid some of the pain associated with migraine headaches. The specialized staff at Total Body Chiropractic & Massage will assess your body, learn your triggers and help build a treatment plan to boost your comfort.