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Can A Chiropractor Treat Migraine Headaches?


According to the National Institutes of Health, migraine headaches affect approximately 12% of all Americans or nearly 40 million people. Tension headaches and cluster headaches are also common, causing debilitating pain and other symptoms. 40% of Americans have headaches in some way. This makes headaches one of the most common health problems among adults.

People often use over-the-counter and prescription drugs to treat headache pain, but they don’t always work. Some medicines have serious side effects, like a higher risk of GI bleeding or damage to the liver. If you don’t want to take medicine or have already tried medicine, but it didn’t help, chiropractic care might help.

What Are Migraines?

A migraine is a neurological condition that causes headaches, sensitivity to light, and sensitivity to smells or sounds. Migraine headaches typically cause throbbing pain on one side of the head. A migraine generally develops through 4 phases:

  • Prodrome: The prodrome phase can last from a few hours to several days. Migraine sufferers may experience nausea, food cravings, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and other symptoms during this phase.
  • Aura: If the aura phase occurs, which only occurs in about 15% to 20% of migraine sufferers, it can cause numbness, tingling, ringing in the ears, temporary loss of vision, or blind spots. During the aura phase, some people report seeing flashing lights or wavy lines. An aura typically lasts between five and one hours.
  • Headache: This is the most common migraine symptom. The pain may begin on one side of the head and gradually spread to the other. Migraines can last for up to 72 hours.
  • Postdrome: Because it takes a day or two to recover from a migraine, the postdrome phase is referred to as the “migraine hangover.” People suffering from migraines may experience fatigue or depression during this stage and difficulty concentrating or understanding. Some people even report feeling euphoric after the migraine headache has passed.

What Are Common Triggers for Migraines?

Migraines, according to researchers, are caused by either genetic or environmental factors. Although the exact cause of this neurological disorder is unknown, several triggers are associated with the onset of a migraine headache.

  • Stress: Around 70% of migraine sufferers report that high-stress levels trigger their symptoms.
  • Hormonal changes: Migraines are more common in women than men, possibly due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Up to 75% of female migraine sufferers say their attacks occur just before or during their menstrual periods.
  • Poor sleep: Migraine headaches have been linked to sleeping too much, not getting enough sleep, and having an irregular sleep schedule.
  • Alcohol use: Some people with migraines say that drinking alcohol, especially red wine, makes their symptoms worse.
  • Dietary habits: Some people with migraines feel worse when they eat foods with preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and salty foods.
  • Weather: Changes in barometric pressure, severe storms, or very high temperatures can sometimes worsen migraines.
  • Smells: Strong odors, such as perfume, gasoline, or chemicals, can cause migraines.

Can a Chiropractor Treat Migraines?

A skilled chiropractor can help relieve migraine and other types of headache symptoms using manual therapies such as spinal manipulation, massage, and other techniques. Chiropractic care is also beneficial in the treatment of tension and cervicogenic headaches. Tension headaches are common once or twice a month and cause steady pain on both sides of the head. Tension headaches, unlike migraines, do not cause nausea, light sensitivity, or sensitivity to specific sounds or smells. Cervicogenic headaches start in the neck, but the pain spreads to the head.

Depending on how bad your migraines are and your symptoms, a chiropractor may suggest soft tissue therapy, spinal manipulation, making changes to your lifestyle, and/or acupuncture. Soft tissue therapy is a way to treat problems with the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues of the body. It may involve massage, taping, or manual resistance techniques. In spinal manipulation, a limited force is applied to one of the spine’s joints. This kind of treatment may work just as well as medicines to stop migraines from happening as often.

Lifestyle changes are essential because they can help you avoid some of the things known to worsen migraines. If your symptoms worsen after drinking alcohol, a chiropractor may advise you to reduce your alcohol consumption or avoid alcohol use entirely. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles at points believed to be the cause of headaches. These points lie along meridians, which are pathways that allow energy to flow through the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, headaches and other symptoms occur when this energy flow is disrupted in some way.

Migraine Treatment in Kearney, NE

Every year, migraines and other types of headaches cause thousands of missed work days. They can also make driving, spending time with loved ones, and doing housework difficult. The skilled professionals at Elite Health and Wellness in Kearney, NE, are ready to listen to your concerns and develop a personalized treatment plan that may include chiropractic care, physical therapy, and dry needling to help you get rid of your migraines. To find out more about your treatment options, call us at (308) 455 1500.