Have you ever woke up with a dull headache and just knew it was going to escalate into a full blown migraine headache by lunch? If you are a migraine sufferer that scenario is all to real. The worst part is that the migraine pain can or will leave you debilitated for possibly hours or days.
Very few people avoid ever getting a headache, and when they appear they can manifest in many different ways. They may affect the whole head or just a part, and they may be felt as anything from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing. Unfortunately headaches can last a few minutes or a few days and produce ill side effects such as nausea.
There are many reasons for headaches, including drug reactions, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), tight neck muscles, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, stress and fatigue, but most can fit into one of two categories: tension (cervicogenic) headaches and migraine headaches. A third less common category is called cluster headaches which is similar to the migraine.
The Migraine Headache
Around 25 million people a year in the U.S. experience migraine headaches, 75% of whom are women. Migraines are characterized by intense pain and throbbing, often coupled with nausea and sensitivity to light or noise. Their duration may be a few hours to several days, and there is sometimes a precursory visual symptom known as an “aura” that alerts the sufferer to the coming attack. This aura may be experienced as flashing lights or a dream-like appearance to the world.
Migraines tend to run in families and sufferers usually have their first attack before they reach 30 years old. Apart from this, the experience varies, with some people having several attacks every month, others perhaps once a year. They may also become more or less severe as the sufferer gets older.
The process of a migraine headache is that the blood vessels in the brain firstly constrict, and then dilate. The constriction decreases the blood flow, causing the visual symptoms many people experience. Even if an aura does not occur, most sufferers know when a migraine is nearing. When the blood vessels then dilate, the rapid increase in blood pressure is what leads to the pounding headache, which thumps in time to the heartbeat.
Why exactly the blood vessels constrict is not fully understood, although several common triggers have been identified. These include lack of sleep, stress, flickering lights, strong smells, a change of weather, and certain foods – the chief culprit being the amino acid tyram.
There is some good news when it comes to headaches. There are safe and effective natural solutions available to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of various headache types inclusive of the most debilitating one – the migraine headache.
A Safe Effective Natural Solution
Chiropractic care has been proven to help alleviate the symptoms of tension and migraine headaches by improving and restoring normal postural patterns.
Chiropractic treatment is aimed at normalizing muscle tension, restoring joint range of motion, and stabilizing the body to reduce abnormal stressors. Optimizing postural control of the head and neck reduces the workload your muscles must apply just to keep your head up during the day. The proper spinal alignment and muscle control helps give the body a fighting chance of avoiding a headache brought on by tension.
Headache sufferers also tend to breathe more from their chest and shoulders as opposed to their diaphragm. This leads to repeated elevation of the shoulders and upper back muscles hundreds of times a day, leading to increased tension in the head and neck. Chiropractic restores function to the spine, ribs, and hips to maximize breathing and good postural control and optimal function.
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