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is provided as a service to our patients for educational purposes only. "If
you understand your condition, you will be able to do the things necessary to
rehabilitate much faster." Please feel free to print the information so
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Do not presume that information is meant for you if you have not seen the doctor
and received a specific diagnosis. Some conditions share similar symptoms but
require very different treatment. If you have friends or family who may have
similar symptoms, please schedule
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What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a type of headache that can be classified into two
types, classic (with aura) and common (without aura). Classic migraine is preceded
by an aura, which is a group of warning symptoms that indicates a pending migraine
headache. Common migraines do not have an aura.
4. Restricted and /or painful movement or misalignment of the cervical spine.
This is a cause that is receiving much attention recently because of the correlation
between proper biomechanics of the neck and the proximity of blood vessels and
nerves. Misalignment or decreased range of motion can interrupt blood flow and
nerve function, which in turn can trigger the processes responsible for the mechanisms
mentioned above. Closely related to this theory is the idea that a tension headache
can progress into a migraine headache. Tension headaches can also be caused by
misalignment or restricted movement of the cervical spine.
Cause: The cause of migraine headaches is still unknown.
There have been many theories that are now being studied to determine
the true cause of Migraine headaches.
- A stimulating factor or trigger starts the process. This could be
a particular food, or physical activity for example.
- Vascular Theory. Constriction of blood vessels causes the "aura"
or prodrome. Vasoconstriction causes the body to release chemicals to
reverse the constriction rapidly. The resulting dilation of the blood
vessels causes increased pressure resulting in a headache.
- Nervous system malfunction. An unstable autonomic nervous system
(which is responsible for unconscious processes in the body) can cause
abnormal brain activity
Risk factors: They include a strong family history of migraine,
some medical conditions, and the use of certain medications (such as birth control
pills). Migraines affect females (17.6%) more than males (6%).
Patient History: A migraine can occur without warning or provocation,
but most often occurs after a particular triggering event. Triggers can range
from a stressful time or traumatic event, physical exertion, rapid hormonal
changes (like puberty or menopause), rapid blood sugar changes from missed meals,
fasting etc., or foods that cause blood vessel dilation or constriction. Seasonal
allergies or environmental allergies along with certain prescription medications
such as estrogen or nitroglycerin can also trigger migraine headaches. Recently,
studies have shown a close correlation between cervical spine biomechanical
dysfunction (misalignment, reduced or restricted movement of the spine) and
- throbbing, pulsating
- usually worst on the sides of the head
- may be on only one side of the head
- may be severe or dull ∑ commonly lasts 6 to 48 hours
- Stiffness or soreness in the neck. Decreased range of motion in the neck
or pain with movement of the neck can be an indicator that your migraine headaches
originate somewhere in the cervical spine.
- Presence of these associated symptoms distinguish migraine from other types
- nausea, vomiting
- sensitivity to light and/or sound
- anorexia (no desire to eat)
- An aura, which is any of various symptoms that indicate an impending migraine,
may precede the headache. This may include visual phenomena like zig-zag patterns
in a visual field. In a complicated migraine, there may also be numbness or
weakness on one side of the body, affecting the arm, leg, or face over the
course of minutes.
- Various neurologic symptoms may be present during the headache and disappear
after the headache is relieved (dizziness, tingling or other symptoms).
Treatment: Treatment strategies are most successful when a multi-disciplinary
approach is taken. Remedies such as:
- Stress reduction through exercise and relaxation techniques is appropriate.
- Identifying and avoiding triggering events or substances is important in
preventing future migraine episodes.
- Chiropractic adjusting of the cervical and thoracic spines has been an
effective way to reduce frequency, duration and severity of migraine headaches.
This approach is most effective when applied early on in a migraine episode.
Along with chiropractic adjusting, soft tissue massage and electrotherapies
to reduce tension in the musculature are also effective tools to treat migraine
- Acupressure points over the muscles between the thumb and the first digit.
Also pressure applied with the thumb to the point on the forehead between
- 1. Foods to avoid:
- Red wine, beer, cheese, nuts, chocolate, citrus juice, coffee,
tea, alcohol, niacin, processed foods, preservatives and MSG. Do not
skip meals. Some migraine sufferers have a blood sugar regulation
abnormality called reactive hypoglycemia, which can be minimized with
frequent, small meals. 2.
- Herbs: Feverfew ( tanacetum parthenium), and Petadolex‚ (butter
root- petasites hybridus)
- Vitamins and minerals: calcium, vit. D, B2, B6, magnesium, 5-HTP
(hydroxy-troptophan), omega-3 oils (EPA, DHA) Supplements have the
most effect when taken regularly and as a preventative measure.
Another helpful thing to try while having a migraine headache is lying down
in a quiet, dark room. Applying a cold wash cloth over the eyes and hot packs
on the hands can also help alleviate some of the symptoms.
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recomendations for absolute health.