Migraines are a headache disorder that is most known for recurring head pain that ranges from moderate to severe. As much as 15% of the world population suffers from migraines. Reports of migraine symptoms have been found as far back as 1500 BCE. It is an ancient illness still causing people today much pain. People usually begin having them during adolescence, and they worsen in middle age. With women, they may become less common after menopause.
Symptoms of Migraines
- Throbbing pain usually on only one side of the head
- Nausea and vomiting
- Episodes lasting between 2 and 72 hours
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or odor
- An aura or a visual disturbance that strikes before the head pain
- Pain that worsens with physical activity
People at Higher Risk for Developing Migraines
- Women due to their fluctuating hormones
- People with one or both parents who have migraines
- Boys before puberty
- Girls after puberty
- Pregnant women
- People with a misalignment in the upper cervical spine
The 4 Phases of Migraines
Migraines have four known phases, but not all four are always present. Let’s dig into each stage to help migraine sufferers understand what they may be going through before, during, and after a migraine attack.
1. Prodrome Phase
This is the stage before the onset of a migraine. About 60% of migraine sufferers experience prodromal or premonitory symptoms. These symptoms hit anywhere from two hours to two days before a migraine begins. It may or may not include an aura.
Symptoms of Prodrome Phase
- Cravings for certain food
- Stiff neck muscles
- Sensitivity to odors or noise
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Depression or extreme elation
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines download our complimentary e-book Natural and Drug-Free Ways to End Your Migraines by clicking the image below.
2. Aura Phase
An aura is a perceptual disturbance experienced by those suffering from migraines. It can be visual, sensory, or motor symptoms that occur slowly over a few minutes and last around an hour before the headache comes on.
Symptoms of Visual Aura
- Seeing flickering light in part of the visual field that restricts your ability to read or drive
- Starts near the center of vision and spreads out
- Zigzag lines appearing to the side of the vision field
- Commonly black and white but some people also see rainbow colors
- Blurry vision or temporary disappearance of some part of your vision
Symptoms of Sensory Aura
- A feeling of pins and needles that starts in the hands and diseminates to the nose or mouth
- Numbness that stays after the tingling disappears
- A spinning sensation
- Motor problems and weakness
- Speech or language issues
- Auditory hallucinations or delusions
3. Pain Phase
The headache is commonly felt on one side with an intensity that ranges from moderate to severe. However, in at least 40% of migraine cases, the pain is suffered on both sides and accompanied by neck pain. Bilateral pain is more prevalent in those who do not have an aura. Physical activity may worsen the headache.
Symptoms of Pain Phase
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and odors
- Nausea and vomiting
4. Postdrome Phase
This stage takes place after the headache has subsided. Many people report feeling “hung over” as the experience and symptoms are quite like the morning after you have had a long night of drinking. Some may feel very joyful and refreshed, while others fell down or depressed. This may change for the same person at different times.
Symptoms of Postdrome Phase:
- Mood changes
- Cognitive issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
The Conventional Way of Managing Migraines
The first thing physicians recommend is to take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or Tylenol (acetaminophen). They may also suggest medication to care for nausea that commonly goes along with migraines. If nausea and pain continue to persist, triptans or ergotamines will most likely be prescribed, possibly with caffeine. Other known medications that may be suggested are topiramate, valproate, and metoprolol. While these medications are sure to provide some relief and cover up the symptoms, migraines will likely return another day if the root cause of is not addressed.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Gives Hope to Migraine Sufferers
In many cases, the underlying cause of migraines is a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, specifically the atlas and axis vertebrae. What causes a misalignment in this area of the body? It can be due to minor or major trauma. Car accidents resulting in whiplash are often the source. Other trauma that causes a blow to the neck or head is also to be blamed, such as sports accidents or simply tripping and falling.
How does a misalignment in the upper cervical spine result in migraines?
A misalignment in this area can put tension on the brainstem, as they are in the same area of the neck. This means the brainstem can relay faulty signals to the brain. This can result in a migraine. Additionally, nerves and blood vessels can be negatively affected in the neck, also causing migraines.
Here at Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Sacramento, in California, we help our patients recover from their migraines by performing a light and precise method to realign the bones of the neck. This does not require forceful cracking of the spine or neck. Rather, it is a more natural approach to help the bones return to their proper position. Our method results in a longer-lasting adjustment. Once the correct alignment is achieved, migraine patients can enjoy positive results in as little as one or two adjustments.
Our Sacramento migraine chiropractic clinic is always open for anyone with migraines or other chronic conditions. Schedule a consultation with us to start your healing journey!
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Gottlieb call 916-965-7155 or just click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.