With headaches being as common as they are, it is a general assumption that if a headache gets bad enough, it can be called a migraine. However, this is a migraine myth that you will read about later in this article. It is true that migraines are a common condition. They affect about 39 million Americans and about 1 billion people total in the world. They also can have a serious effect on a person’s daily life. Over 90% of people who suffer from migraines are not able to do their day-to-day tasks when they are experiencing a migraine. With that in mind, this article will present the facts regarding six migraine myths and tell you about a proven treatment for migraine relief.
What Are the Myths and Facts About Migraines?
The following information is intended to help migraine sufferers and their loved ones better understand the condition:
Myth #1: Migraines are just really bad headaches.
Facts: Migraines are a complicated neurological condition that does not always include having a headache. A severe headache is one symptom of a migraine, but a person can experience a migraine without having a headache. Other migraine symptoms include the following:
- Sensitivity to smells, lights, and noise
- Visual disturbances called an aura
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Numbness or tingling in the legs, arms, or face
- Neck and/or jaw pain
- Fatigue and cognitive slow-down
Myth #2: Migraines affect women and men equally.
Facts: While both men and women get migraines, chronic migraine sufferers are overwhelmingly female. Approximately 85% of people with chronic migraines are female. It is believed that hormone fluctuation plays a role in triggering migraine episodes.
Myth #3: Only adults get migraines.
Facts: Children get migraines too. Before puberty, migraines are more common in boys than they are in girls. About 10% of children in school experience migraines. This can cause them to miss out on important learning and interaction with their peers. If a child’s parents have migraines, the child is much more likely to suffer from migraines. This suggests that there may be a genetic factor involved.
Myth #4: Migraines don’t happen very often.
Facts: The majority of migraine sufferers experience occasional episodes. But there are still 4 million adults who suffer from chronic migraines. To be diagnosed with chronic migraines, you have to experience migraines more than 15 days per month, for several months in a row. Migraines can be particularly disabling for people who experience them this frequently.
Myth #5: You can completely avoid migraines by not eating chocolate.
Facts: Some people find that certain foods can trigger a migraine. While chocolate is a common food trigger, multiple factors are often needed to trigger a migraine episode. Simply avoiding chocolate is too simplistic of an approach. In fact, chocolate may not be one of your personal triggers (and this can be good news for chocolate lovers). The following are well-known migraine triggers:
- Stress and not sleeping enough
- Certain medications like birth control pills
- Weather patterns like lightning and changes in barometric pressure
- Food additives like MSG
- Aged or smoked foods like specialty cheeses and meats
- Cologne or perfume
Myth #6: Migraine medication is successful for everyone.
Facts: Taking medication for migraines too often can actually result in your having more headaches. These headaches are called rebound headaches. And while medications to prevent migraines or ease the pain once they start can be effective for some patients, not everyone responds well to medication. In addition, migraine patients often have to put up with the unwanted side effects of their medications.
An Alternative Treatment and Hope for Relief
Depression is common among migraine sufferers because of everything that they go through. Dealing with the pain is bad enough. Not being able to go to work or interact with friends and family can have a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life. Many migraine sufferers have given up trying to find a solution that really works. The good news is that there is hope for migraine sufferers through upper cervical chiropractic care.
Since migraines are a neurological condition, it makes sense to address the condition on a neurological level. Upper cervical chiropractors are specialists in the upper cervical spine (the top vertebrae of the spine) and the effect that this area has on the central nervous system.
When the uppermost vertebrae of the spine (the atlas and axis vertebrae) misalign, they can put pressure on the brainstem. The brainstem is a vital part of the central nervous system, connecting the spinal cord and the brain. Messages that travel along the spinal cord from the peripheral nerves can become distorted or hindered on their way to the brain if the brainstem is irritated. A misaligned atlas and axis can also hinder blood flow and cerebral spinal fluid flow to and from the brain, a situation that can cause migraines.
At Blue Spinal Care, in Conway, South Carolina, we know that every migraine patient is unique. We do a detailed patient history and examination to determine the best course of care for each patient. If we determine that there is a misalignment in the upper cervical vertebrae, we use a gentle and accurate technique to encourage the vertebrae to move back into place. Patients who suffer from migraines often find that their symptoms improve after the first visit, and ongoing care helps them find further relief from their migraines. If you’re tired of dealing with the pain of migraines, call our office today to schedule a consultation.