Anyone who suffers from migraines or knows someone who does can testify as to just how miserable they are to cope with. As many as 39 million American men, women, and children have migraines and as many as 1 billion globally suffer. Here are some interesting facts about migraines you may not be aware of:
- Migraines rank as third in the list of most prevalent illnesses in the world.
- Out of every four households, one has a migraine sufferer that lives in it.
- Migraines are most common in the age range of 25-50 years.
- As many as 90 percent of migraine sufferers have family members with migraines.
- Every 10 seconds, someone in the US goes to the emergency room for head pain, with over 1 million visits being for acute migraine attacks.
- Around 25 percent of migraine sufferers get an aura before their migraines, usually a visual disturbance lasting less than an hour.
- Women get migraines three times more often than men.
Migraines are a neurological condition that has extreme neurological symptoms. They are well- known for:
- Throbbing or pounding head pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme sensitivity to light, smells, and sound
Migraines can be very painful and can last for several hours or as long as a few days. Some people have what is called an aura. It is a type of warning sign that comes on before the head pain hits. It is usually visual in nature and may include such things as flashing lights, blind spots, or tingling on one side of the face or in the extremities on one side.
Symptoms of Migraines by Phases
- Prodrome: These subtle changes may occur one or two days before a migraine occurs:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Frequent yawning
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Aura: This may happen just before or during migraines. The majority of people do not experience this phase. Auras are symptoms of the nervous system and usually include visual disturbances — wavy lines, flashing lights, sparkles, or zigzag vision. However, in some instances, auras can be touch sensations (sensory), speech disturbances (verbal), and motor or movement issues. You may have weakness in your muscles or even feel like someone is touching you. The symptoms of an aura begin gradually and build up over several minutes. They may last for 20 to 60 minutes and can include:
- Vision loss
- Problems talking
- Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body or in the face
- Hearing music or other noises
- Pins and needles feeling in the arm or leg
- Visual phenomenon
- Attack: Migraines usually last from 4 to 72 hours and this varies depending on the person. Migraines may happen every now and then or several times a month. Some people have what is called chronic migraines that occur for more than 15 days during a month’s time. When experiencing a migraine you may have:
- Pain on one or both sides of the head
- Blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Throbbing or pounding head pain
- Lightheadedness, possible fainting
- Sensitivity to light, sounds, and certain odors
- Post-drome: This is the final phase of a migraine and can have one of two effects: you can feel exhausted and washed out or elated and full of energy. This lasts about 24 hours and you may have:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
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.
Causes of Migraines
Migraines are generally misunderstood and often misdiagnosed. No one is sure of the exact reason why they happen, although many theories abound. Genetics and environmental factors seem to play a role. It is suspected that migraines may come about due to changes in the function of the brainstem and how it interacts with the trigeminal nerve, one of the body’s major pain pathways. Brain chemicals may also be to blame if they are imbalanced. Serotonin, the hormone that helps to regulate pain in your nervous system, may be involved as it has been seen that serotonin levels drop during a migraine attack.
Finding Relief for Migraines
Since the brainstem and nervous system are involved in migraine development, it is a good idea to find out what is causing the problem with these systems. One thing that has been observed repeatedly is that migraine patients often have a misalignment in the top bones of the neck. The atlas (C1) and axis (C2) are located in the same region as the brainstem. In fact, they were designed so as to protect this delicate part of the body. If they become misaligned due to a blow to the head or neck, they can actually put pressure on the brainstem and cause it to send improper signals to the brain. This can affect hormone production as well as cause issues with the trigeminal nerve. All of this adds up to the pain of migraines.
We employ a gentle method that allows the neck bones to move back into place without the use of force. Rather, it is a more natural process that leads to a longer-lasting adjustment. Once the bones have moved back into place, the body will begin to heal from the damage done. Case studies and our own patients have reported seeing much improvement in their migraines. Some patients see them go away entirely.
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