National Migraine Awareness Month


Did you know that one in five people experience migraine headaches, with 75% of those being women in childbearing age? Headache disorders, with most being migraines cost the healthcare system 31 billion dollars annually and effect more than 37 million people a year. Properly diagnosing a migraine can be difficult because they can present in various ways but common symptoms include: pulsing or throbbing head pain that is often one sided, increased sensitivity to light and odors, nausea and vomiting, vision problems such as blurred vision, partial loss of sight, and seeing flashing lights.  There are many things that can trigger a migraine headache such as strong fragrances, bright lights, changes in the weather, loud noises, stress, certain foods such as chocolate, nuts, foods prepared with MSG, and the premenstrual time in women.

As a chiropractor, migraines are a common complaint by many of my patients. In my office, I take a look at things through a natural approach that can help decrease the severity and frequency of migraines. Along with chiropractic adjustments specifically to neck region that can significantly improve symptoms, I also address the patients’ nutrition and other factors. The first and most important part is having my patients track their migraines by starting a journal. I tell them to write down the day, time, and severity of their pain. Along with this, keeping a food journal is very important. In many cases, certain foods can trigger migraines and if you can find the culprit this can prevent further ones from happening. If you find certain foods are triggering headaches, those foods should immediately be removed from you diet. Missed meals are also a common trigger because of the fluctuation of blood sugar that can escalade pain that triggers a migraine. For women, they should be aware of where in their cycle headaches are occurring. It is common that before menstruation there is a drop in estrogen levels that can spark migraines.  Sleep is another aspect that should be monitored in a migraine journal. Sleep disturbances can increase frequency, so it is important to try to remain on a consistent sleep routine.  Going to bed and waking up within the same hour each day can help you stay on schedule.

Relaxation techniques can be beneficial and greatly reduce the frequency of migraines by lowering stress levels. These techniques include yoga, mediation, or any physical activity that release endorphins. If you are looking for natural ways to help besides medication, you can try supplementing with B2, which is Riboflavin, CQ10,  and the herb butterbur. B2 and CQ10 have both shown to reduce the frequency of migraines, but not the severity of when they do occur.

Studies that looked at migraine headaches and chiropractic care combined the results of 22 studies, which had more than 2,600 patients total. The studies show that chiropractic treatment serves as a good preventive treatment for migraines. Those who had chiropractic treatment saw the number of attacks drop 90% In that same study, 49% said they had a significant reduction in pain intensity.

There numerous natural and safe ways to help with migraine headaches, but it starts with trying to identify possible triggers. Once these are established, a plan can be put into place to help decrease the likelihood of migraines. As June is Migraine Awareness Month, if you know someone who suffers please share this information!




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