How do Migraines Work & How Can a Chiropractor Help?

By definition, a migraine is an ongoing throbbing headache that often impacts one side of the head. While the severity of migraines can vary, at their most severe, migraines can be debilitating and linger for hours or even days at a time.

Migraines are often recurring and disruptive, but what exactly causes migraines to begin with, how do they differ from regular headaches, and who can help with your symptoms? Many seek various means to help quell the impact of migraines, but one of the effective but lesser-known options is treatment from a chiropractor.

The reality is, sometimes even those who face these debilitating headaches don’t know what exactly a migraine is, why it happens, or how a chiropractor can help. Learn more about how these practitioners can help with migraines and how migraines work in general to better understand and treat your migraine. 


How Does a Chiropractor Help with Migraines?

 Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in spines, joints, the nervous system and muscle. Migraines, for one, are triggered by muscle tension, poor posture, stress, and bodily exertion – all of which are in the wheelhouse of these experts who can help alleviate these triggers. 

Chiropractors, for example, are trained to treat issues in the spine, which is an integral part of your central nervous system. Having a spine out of line, either due to poor posture or tense muscles, may lead to the nervous system not correctly transmitting the signals it needs, leading to a migraine.

Additionally, many people find seeing a chiropractor a relaxing and peaceful time, which reduces stress — another common trigger for migraines. A chiropractor will also likely be able to help give you advice for your daily life, including posture tips and stretches to help reduce tension within the body.

The good news is there are local chiropractors in a majority of communities – you just need to find the best resource to find a chiropractor for you! For example, it’s easy to find a local Vancouver chiropractor with Medimap, an online booking platform where you can locate and see the hours of local clinics in your area.


How Do Migraines Occur?

It is estimated that more than one billion people worldwide suffer from migraines, according to the World Health Organization, but there isn’t one specific reason that a migraine can occur. It is believed to be caused by how the blood vessels operate, chemical imbalances, or the way the brain and nervous system communicate. Migraines can strike at any time, too young and old alike, male or female, whether they’re physically active or not.

Whatever the reason, several confirmed conditions can trigger a migraine to occur, such as the following:

  • Muscle tension
  • Poor posture
  • Heightened periods of stress, depression, or anxiety
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Dehydration
  • Diet (including alcohols, caffeine, etc.)
  • Hormonal changes
  • Over-exertion

How Is a Migraine Different from a Headache?

A migraine shares similarities to a standard headache in that the leading symptom is throbbing pain, usually in one side of the head. But unlike headaches, migraines can come with several other unwanted symptoms.

For example, a common migraine symptom is known as ‘aura,’ in which the migraine causes the affected individual to see strobing lights and blind spots that obstruct their vision and make it difficult to keep their eyes open. Another symptom is a tingling sensation in the hands or fingers, even potentially losing feeling in the area temporarily.

For those who experience frequent migraines, the aura can come as a warning sign, as it can occur hours before the physical pain of the migraine begins. This gives the migraine sufferer potential time to seek treatment and cancel plans or call in sick to work before the worst of the migraine hits.

Migraines can also cause other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or extreme fatigue. The fatigue especially can hit hard following a particularly exhaustive migraine spell. 

Migraines are often reoccurring, but with the right knowledge and treatment, individuals can plan ahead to reduce the occurrence and symptoms of migraines. 

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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