In the U.S. there are approximately 37 million migraine sufferers. About three million of those people suffer from chronic migraines. Migraines are different than headaches. Migraines typically last longer and the cause of migraines is quite different than the cause of most headaches. Effective migraine treatment can be difficult to find because many migraine treatments are trial and error. Sometimes the best way to treat a migraine is to stop it before it progresses. In some cases, knowing and recognizing the different migraine predictors can stop a migraine before it starts. The key here is knowing which migraine triggers apply to you and taking preventative measures to reduce their likelihood of occurring. Properly self-identifying the difference between a headache and a migraine will help guide you to the right treatment options.
There are two main categories for migraine treatment. Using a combination of Abortive Therapy and Prophylactic Treatment can decrease severity and frequency of migraines. If you suffer from migraines it is important to know which options are most likely to bring you relief.
The best migraine treatment is a preventative one. To prevent migraines from occurring or to minimize the severity it is important to know what may trigger your migraine. Identifying triggers takes time. Some of the most common triggers for migraines are:
- high fat diets
- high sodium diets
- processed foods
- hormonal fluctuation
- caffeine withdrawal
- changes in the weather
- changes in air pressure
- changes in sleep
- anxiety and stress.
Once triggers have been identified they can be addressed. This stops migraines before they start or can shorten the length of a migraine.
Migraines vs Headaches
There is a difference between migraines and other headaches. The most common headaches are cluster headaches and tension headaches.
Cluster headaches are not caused by food or emotions but instead are caused by dilations in blood vessels of the brain due to the release of serotonin and histamines. They reportedly occur at the exact same spot, around the same time of the day, during a specific time of year. This makes them fairly predictable.
Tension headaches are typically felt just behind the eyes, in the face, neck, and at the base of the skull. This is the most common form of headache pain. Tension headaches are frequently caused by eye strain, stress, and hunger and can be recurring or chronic.
But migraines are extreme headaches.
Migraines are associated with severe head pain. Vascular headaches can last for hours and sometimes days. Migraines differ from other headaches in intensity, duration, and symptoms producing a much higher pain intensity described as moderate to severe when compared to other types of headache pain. Vascular headaches tend to last for more than 3 hours and are constant. In some cases, migraines can even last for days. By comparison, tension and cluster headaches typically resolve within 3 hours.
Another way that migraines differ from headaches are the associated symptoms. Headaches typically have produced only one symptom, pain. Along with pain, other symptoms associated with migraines are nausea, photophobia, dizziness, sensitivity to sound and smells.
There are two common types of migraine treatments. The first step in treating a migraine is to determine whether it’s a headache or a migraine. After distinguishing it’s a migraine you can decide which treatment approach will work best for you. Migraine treatments are categorized under, abortive therapies and prophylactic treatments. Abortive treatments attempt to stop an existing migraine. This usually involves oral medication or injections. Prophylactic treatments try to prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of future migraines. One of the most effective prophylactic treatments for preventing migraines is chiropractic spinal manipulation.
Chiropractic spinal manipulation prevents migraines by addressing and controlling migraine triggers such as a pinched nerve or stress. Maintain a schedule of regular, preventative chiropractic care is not a promise that migraines will never return. As we’ve seen here, the causes of migraines are broad and can be difficult to completely eliminate. However, scheduled treatments to those bodily systems which are affected by these causes has been shown to greatly reduce the occurrence of migraines and well as many other types of pain.
To learn more and begin your journey to increased health through natural means, schedule an appointment with my office for a consultation at 585-321-3200.