Migraines and Chiropractic Treatment
It often starts with lines or spots or different colored lights performing a dance in front of your eyes. After a short period of time these symptoms develop into a whole raft of more serious symptoms such as general irritability, visual hallucinations, emotional depression, a sensation of numbness, gastrointestinal changes such as constipation and diarrhea. Finally the pain begins and it can range form a mild pain through to more intense feelings of agony that can last for hours or days.
If you get migraines, then you'll know that a migraine is more than just a headache. It's an intense and throbbing pain, which often occurs in one side of the head, although it can be more generalised. This is the classic migraine that people all over the world suffer with on a daily basis.
Migraines fall into two main categories,
Signs and Symptoms:Migraine without aura common symptoms
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Sensitivity to noise (phonophobia)
- Sensitivity to smell (osmophobia)
- Feeling cold or hot
- Inability to think clearly or perform normal activities
- Loss of concentration
- Visual disturbances - wavy lines, flashing lights, blind spots
- Stiffness or tingling in neck, shoulders, or limbs
- Lack of co-ordination
- Slurred or muddled speech
- Loss of consciousness (very rare)
- Feeling "washed out"
- Poor concentration
- Either lethargy or full of energy and revitalised
Causes of MigraineThe causes of migraines are not fully understood. There are a number of different theories as to the cause.
1) Vascular Theory. It is thought that the initial vasoconstriction of the arterioles causes the prodromal and aura symptoms in advance of the headache. The lack of oxygen causes the localised release of serotonin and this results in vasodilation that causes arteries here to widen, leading to the headache. As the arteries widen the pain gets worse and worse. Migraines appear at intervals with days, weeks or months between attacks rather than being a daily headache.
2) Nervous System Nervous system theories suggest that rapid changes in activity of nerve cells in the brain cell and in particular the brain stem have been implicated in migraine and a chemical messenger called seratonin is also thought to be involved. This can be the result of an unstable autonomic nervous system, reduced magnesium levels that result in destabilised nerve membranes or abnormal brain electrical activity ( EEG).
Although migraine is not life threatening, we know how it can impact on your quality of life.
How will I be assessed for Migraine?Your Back to Health Chiropractor will conduct an extensive background history as well as a thorough examination and possibly even x-rays.
Usually there is some specific triggering factor may include any one following:
- Physical exertion
- Tension headaches
- Emotional stress
- Rapid blood sugar changes
- Vasoactive foods such as histamine in citrus juice, tyranine in chocolate nuts cheese and red wine, MSG in processed foods coffee tea and alcohol
- Some medications
- Environmental toxins, allergies and sensitivities, chemicals
Your Chiropractor will assess your posture and look for the underlying cause of the headaches which will look at all of the following factors:
- General posture and flexibility,
- Palpation may reveal muscle tenderness and tightness,
- Specific orthopedic tests to the neck ,
- Muscle tests to determine the extent of weakness,
- Neurological assessment if required,
- X-rays of the neck and or spine may be conducted depending on the extent of your problems and the examination findings.
- Your Chiropractor will discuss with you exactly what examinations will be appropriate and will require your consent before undertaking an examination.
What sort of treatment will I receive for migraine?Your Back To Health Chiropractor will perform various adjustments and movements, usually with his or her hands. The adjustments are designed to correct identified problems and allow you to regain movement and reduce headaches and other associated pain. Your chiropractor may also provide appropriate stretches and exercises to help improve posture.
Other strategies your Back to Health Chiropractor will help you develop include:
- Stress management
- Identifying and manage he triggers
- Soft tissue therapy
- Rest including sleep
- Hot packs and heat
How effective is the treatment? Proof chiropractic worksReference: The Medical News 22nd May 2005 http://www.news-medical.net/news/2005/05/22/10268.aspx
Seventy-two per cent of migraine sufferers in a clinical trial experienced either 'substantial' or 'noticeable' improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment, defying historical skepticism of chiropractics by some medical practitioners. The randomised clinical trial was undertaken by Dr Peter Tuchin, a chiropractor for the past 20 years, as part of his recently-completed PhD thesis at Macquarie University.
"Around 22 per cent [of patients] had substantial reduction - which means that more than 60 percent of their symptoms reduced during the course of the treatment," Tuchin says. "What makes this a really strong result is that this was a really chronic group - the average length of time they'd had migraines was 18 years. To get a change of that sort of magnitude in a really chronic group was quite amazing.
"Another 50 per cent had quite noticeable improvement. They either found that the frequency of the migraines was less, the length of time they had them was less or that they didn't need to use their medications as much. This last result is very significant because some of the migraine medications are very strong drugs which have lots of side effects. Some of the migraine medications also have the problem of giving instant relief to the migraine, but creating another 'rebound migraine' the next day."
The trial used 123 migraine sufferers, whittled down from around 1000 who applied after seeing a television program about the research. This group was divided into a treatment group who received chiropractic care, and a control group who were told they were receiving a form of electrical physical therapy.
"Both groups kept a record of their migraines for the whole six months, noting down how often they got them, how severe they were, how long they lasted, and if there was anything they could think of that contributed to them," Tuchin explains. "For two months prior to any treatment they just diarised their migraines, followed by two months of treatment and then two months of post-treatment."
If you suffer with Migraines and would like to find out how a chiropractic can help you then call 0207 000 1728 to make an appointment now.
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