Did you know that migraines can be considered a neurological disease? This is especially true for the 39 million people in the U.S. that suffer from these on a regular basis. Some migraines and headaches can be so debilitating that they cause vision loss and intense enough pain that patients can’t get out of bed. Even children suffer from migraines and headaches. However, natural therapies that focus on the musculoskeletal system, the spine and the nerves can all help with your headaches and migraines!
Migraines: What Are They?
Environmental factors, lifestyle habits and chronic conditions can cause changes in your body as your body reacts to stimuli. Some reactions increase blood flow in certain parts of your brain. With some blood flow, you might get a headache that then stops when blood flow normalizes in the brain. With a migraine, your body might have a sudden reaction to any number of stimuli that causes chronic blood vessel swelling and irritation. This can happen quickly and can happen in only specific regions of your brain. Chronic pain or pain that lasts longer than normal is most likely a migraine.
Headaches and Migraines 101
If you get a headache or migraine often, you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at how common your head pain is:
- More than 38 million Americans suffer from migraines. Any given year, between 2 and 3 million people have that head pain reach chronic levels.
- Studies show that about 13% of people in the U.S. have consistent problems with both headaches and migraines.
- On a world-wide scale, about 2 billion people have a migraine frequently.
- Women tend to get migraines and even headaches more than men do, at about an 18% rate compared to men’s 6%.
- About 25% of people that get migraines will have at least one a week.
- Some migraines can be so severe that about 24% of Americans that get them visit the emergency room each year.
What’s the Difference?
There actually is a difference in what a migraine is and what a headache is. Headaches can stem from triggers such as an illness (cold, flu, virus). These stop when your illness is over. You might get a headache that is there for an hour and then it is gone. A headache will generally only be accompanied by head pain and mild symptoms such as yawning because you’re tired.
However, a migraine is very different and you can know the difference because a migraine will cause more chronic symptoms such as:
- Loss of vision or seeing spots in your vision
- Throbbing or chronic pain, sometimes regional to a specific area
- Feelings of lightheadedness
- Fainting or dizzy spells
- Pain that is so chronic that you can’t think or function
- Yawning that you can’t seem to stop
- Depression, irritability or other mood-related symptoms
- Difficulty speaking, writing, standing up, thinking straight and more
- Vomiting from the pain or indigestion
- Neck and head stiffness
- Numbness or tingling
- Problems with physical exertion, as pain tends to worsen
- Sensitivity to lights and sounds (and possibly smells)
- Symptoms that can last for hours or days
When you get a headache, it will go away rather quickly. A migraine can be completely debilitating to the point where patients may not be able to get out of bed. They can even lead to problems with work or safely operating machinery or vehicles. When you feel a migraine happening, take steps to try to calm the starting symptoms before they worsen.
Common Triggers and Tracking
If you find yourself saddled with headaches or a migraine from time-to-time, see if you are causing them to happen with common triggers such as:
- Skipping meals. Migraine sufferers need to keep their blood sugars in normal ranges to avoid problems.
- Dehydration. You should drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces each day. If not, you will find not only migraine problems with your body, but electrolyte imbalances and nutrition-caused chronic conditions.
- Poor or insufficient sleep. Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to function normally. Teens, children and especially infants need much more. If you cut out sleep and get migraines a lot, this could be the cause. If you suffer from insomnia, make sure you have medical or dental consultations to remedy the problem.
- Stress. Everyone has stress in some form. Chronic stress generally causes either headaches or migraines in patients, high blood pressure, trigger points and back pain, weight problems and much more. Take time each day to do something that de-stresses you. Meditation—even for just a minute or two—can really help in the workplace or with a rowdy home life.
- Exercise. This can both help stress and reduce problems with chronic problems. However, too much exercise or too strenuous can certainly cause aches and pains, a headache or migraine, dehydration and other issues you don’t want. We can help you with customized exercises to reduce your head pain while relieving your stress.
- Caffeine products. More than 80% of Americans start their day off with caffeine. This is considered both a drug and a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although it’s a legal drug, it is still an addicting drug.
Help for Your Headaches and Migraines
Have you reduced the likelihood of all the common migraine triggers and you still experience them? See if our professional therapies can do the trick to relieve your pain and symptoms! We have massage therapy to relax your neck and back muscles, chiropractic adjustments to correct pressure and relieve stress, neuromuscular reeducation, vibrational traction techniques and more. Call Spine Correction Center of the Rockies today at (970) 658-5115 if you suffer from migraine headaches!