As a chiropractor in Sun Prairie, WI we see complaints of migraines on a weekly basis. Headaches are so common that 50% of Americans will report a headache every year and migraines are considered to be a specific type of headache. Migraines are actually a neurological condition that causes extremely incapacitating symptoms for some people. Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraines and 85% of chronic migraine sufferers are women. Healthcare and lost productivity associated with migraines are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the United States.
So how do you know you have a migraine? Migraines typically present as a severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. Some complain of pain behind the eye or on the side of the jaw. Migraine attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following disabling symptoms: Visual disturbances (aura), nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and sound. Some additional symptoms include tingling or numbness in the face or arms. About 25% of migraine sufferers also have an aura, which is a visual disturbance that occurs before the migraine begins. Migraine attacks last between 4-72 hours, making them incredibly difficult to live with and plan around.
Like every condition we see in our office, its necessary to find the root cause of the migraines. It can be helpful for you to keep track of any migraine triggers in order to avoid them in the future. At Noble Choice Chiropractic, we focus on the mechanical and physical triggers that cause a migraine such as problems stemming from the muscles, joints, discs or something else. We’ll also help you with lifestyle changes for the other causes
If you have a bone (vertebra) in your neck that isn’t moving correctly, this can cause pressure on the nerves and cause headaches. The pain won’t go away until this issue is corrected. Chiropractic adjustments put the spine back into alignment with correct movement alleviating symptoms such as migraines. Chiropractors are specially trained to find these misalignments and correct them for migraine treatment and prevention.
How We Treat Migraines in Sun Prairie, WI
Comprehensive Exam and Consultation
In order to get to the root cause of your migraines, the doctors will first perform a detailed consultation and specific examination. This will allow them to understand your problem in terms of your personal history and current condition as well as set goals for your future. The doctors really listen and understand how your migraines are affecting all facets of your life.
Pain can be life altering, but it is a signal telling your body that something isn’t functioning correctly. During the examination, the doctors will perform chiropractic, neurological and orthopedic testing to isolate the problem. These tests help the doctors discern if the pain is from a bone, muscle, nerve, disc or a combination of these structures. Once they determine the cause of your migraines, they can get you on the path to healing better and faster.
X-rays are one of the most useful tools in diagnosing the cause of your migraines and Noble Choice Chiropractic is proud to offer digital motion study x-rays in our office. A proper cervical curve is important to help distribute any stress throughout your neck. The straighter the neck is, the more problems people tend to have such as neck pain, headaches and decreased range of motion. Static x-rays show the curve along with bone alignment and disc spaces. X-rays are also taken through range of motion so you and the doctors see exactly where the problem is in the spine before starting care.
Specific Chiropractic Care
Migraines are often caused by what is known as a subluxation. A subluxation occurs when a bone shifts out of alignment with the rest of the spine. This can cause irritation to the nerves which results in symptoms such as neck pain, migraines or decreased motion in the neck. Subluxations need to be corrected right away as they can lead to arthritis, degeneration, chronic pain and other symptoms. In the case of migraines, special attention is paid to the first 2 vertebrae of the neck.
At Noble Choice Chiropractic, we use only the most advanced, scientific techniques to get you better. We do this by performing a specific chiropractic adjustment to these subluxations. The adjustment takes pressure off the nerves and allows the joints to move properly. A moving spine means a functioning body and our goal is to get you feeling better faster! If your migraines are caused by subluxations, you are likely to continue having symptoms unless these areas are corrected.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
Migraines are often aggravated by muscle imbalance due to poor posture. Unfortunately, many Americans have a condition called Upper Cross Syndrome, where the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back are tight in some areas and weak in the other. This causes improper posture and extra strain to the muscles of the spine, resulting in headaches.
The doctors at Noble Choice Chiropractic know that every body is different. We create a custom exercise plan that will correct these imbalances and improve your posture. This helps to strengthen your muscles, allowing your chiropractic adjustments to hold better and longer.
Common Triggers for Migraines in Sun Prairie, WI
Stress is a trigger for almost 70% of migraine sufferers. Not only do sufferers of migraines have to manage everyday stress, they also have the unknown element of wondering when the next migraine attack will occur. This stress compounds on each other and leads to an exhausting cycle. Any type of stress can be damaging to the immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick.
This is why it is so important to identify what causes stress in your life and how you best manage it. This may include meditation, exercise, better and consistent sleep in addition to chiropractic adjustments. A combination of these will decrease your migraines but also improve your overall health.
Adequate sleep is vital to your body’s overall function and migraines are just one side effect of poor sleep. It is estimated that 68% of Americans struggle with sleep. Sleep renews and repairs all parts of the body, including the brain! In fact, half of migraine attacks occur between the hours of 4AM and 9AM, putting those with sleep disorders at a greater risk.
One of the best things you can do for your overall health is get adequate sleep. Going to bed and waking at about the same time every day (even weekends), limiting caffeine and screen time at night are just a few examples of establishing better sleep patterns. Make sure your neck is also properly supported while you sleep and not causing any extra stress on your neck and head.
As mentioned above, women are more likely to suffer from migraines than men – they are actually 3 times more likely! Many women report migraines after significant life changes such as menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. This is because women’s hormones fluctuate, especially the female hormone estrogen. When estrogen levels fluctuate too much, it can trigger migraines. Hormones are very complex, especially when they occur in a cyclical pattern. It’s important to look into other factors that may help balance hormones such as changes in diet and lifestyle modifications to help decrease the amount of migraines you have.
Diet and Dehydration
As noted above, it may be helpful to keep track of any migraine triggers, especially when it comes to diet. Foods containing histamine, MSG, chocolate, cheese, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and cured meats are common migraine aggravators. As a rule, your diet is one of the most powerful ways to control your health.
Besides diet, dehydration is another common cause of migraines as 1/3 of people say dehydration is their trigger. 17%-28% of older adults in the United States are not drinking enough water. The general rule of thumb is you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, a person weighing 150 lbs should drink at least 75 oz of water every day.
Not only is dehydration detrimental to your body’s healing, it can also cause dizziness and confusion.
As chiropractors, we are not against medication. However, we believe there is a time and a place for medication. More than 70% of American adults are on some type of prescription medication-and half of those people take more than one medication.
Ironically, some headache medications can actually cause headaches, especially if those medications are taken more than 10 days out of a month. Even medications for heart and blood pressure concerns have headaches as a listed side effect.
There are so many natural, safer, alternatives to pain management including chiropractic care, massage and relaxation therapy. The less medication needed for headaches, the less chemicals and toxins your body has to filter.
Frequently Asked Questions About Migraines
Can going to a chiropractor help with migraines?
Absolutely! A chiropractor should be the first call you make for migraine relief in Sun Prairie, WI. A misalignment of the spine can put pressure on the nerves and cause headaches. The chiropractors at Noble Choice Chiropractic have helped thousands of people find relief from migraines.
What is the quickest way to relieve a migraine?
If your migraine is caused by a misalignment of the spine, then a chiropractic adjustment is the quest way to align the spine. Some people feel instant relief from an adjustment and others feel it a few hours later.
What foods should I avoid during a migraine?
While every person is different, there are some triggers that are common between migraine sufferers. Foods with MSG, caffeine, cured meats and red wine are among the most reported trigger foods.
Are migraines bad for the brain?
There is no evidence that migraines are detrimental to the brain, however chronic pain is not good for it. This is because repeated pain signals like in chronic pain change how the brain processes pain, sometimes making it harder to control and overcome.
Does exercise help with migraines?
Yes! Exercise in general is great for your body not only because of the physical changes but the chemical ones as well. Dopamine, a “feel good” chemical is released after exercise which helps to decrease pain. Aerobic exercises like running, cycling and walking have been shown to also help alleviate migraines.