Migraines can strike at the least convenient times – not that there is any convenient time for a severe headache, nausea, sensory sensitivity, and the many other symptoms of this debilitating neurological condition. If you suffer from migraines, one of your primary goals likely is to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. With that in mind, we’re going to present you with four potential ways to reduce how often attacks come about. The last one is bringing hope to many migraine and headache sufferers around the world.
#1 Keeping a Migraine Journal and Avoiding Triggers
This is the number one preventative measure that is recommended by doctors. A migraine journal is a way to keep track of what happened in the hours or days preceding an attack. This may allow you to learn what triggers your episodes. If any of these triggers are avoidable, you can then limit the frequency of your migraines by circumventing contact with the triggers.
Unfortunately, some of the more common triggers (such as weather-related triggers) are unavoidable. In these cases, at least you have some warning that a migraine may be coming. However, there are some migraine triggers that can be sidestepped more easily. For example:
- Not getting enough sleep – Be sure to set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Skipping a meal – If you can’t eat three full meals per day, be sure to have several smaller meals.
- Failure to manage stress – We can’t avoid all stress, so learning to cope with it is vital since stress is one of the most common triggers.
- Having too much or too little caffeine – You may need your cup of coffee in the morning to stay migraine free, but having several cups throughout the day may have the opposite effect.
- Certain food or food additives – While food triggers are not very common, there are some foods and additives that are more likely to bring on a migraine. Also, be sure to stay away from anything you are allergic or sensitive too.
- Dehydration – Mild dehydration can cause a migraine so be sure to have at least eight glasses of water per day – more if you are exercising, work hard, or in a hot climate.
#2 Use Essential Oils
While the benefits of essential oils for migraines still requires more research, there are many people who swear by the positive results. Thus, we’re going to take a look at a couple of the essential oils people claim help with migraines and the possible reason for the benefits.
- Lavender Oil – This can be inhaled or applied to the temples in a diluted solution. A small study in 2012 revealed that patients who inhaled lavender oil during a migraine recovered from the attack 15 minutes faster than those who did not. You may choose to use a diffuser to keep the scent in the air at all times, especially if you enjoy lavender anyway. It may have a calming effect, thereby helping to reduce migraines that are brought on by stress.
- Peppermint Oil – Peppermint oil contains menthol (yes, the substance that goes into cough drops, topical pain relievers, and many other products). According to a 2010 study, applying a menthol solution to the temples may help to relieve pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light.
#3 Stretching, Exercise, and Meditation
These are all ways to reduce pain in the body and to control stress. Numerous studies have been released that reveal the benefits of daily exercise. Controlled stretches, such as Pilates, are particularly beneficial when it comes to strengthening the body as well as releasing stress. Plus, meditating on positive things can help with sleep problems, and lack of sleep is a common migraine trigger.
#4 Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
If you have tried chiropractic for migraines and were not impressed, it is important to note that upper cervical chiropractic is a subspecialty that takes a completely different approach from general chiropractic. In what ways?
- Focus – Only the C1 and C2 vertebrae at the base of the skull are directly targeted.
- Precision – Diagnostic imaging is used to pinpoint misalignments to mere hundredths of a degree.
- Gentleness – Low force corrections are used, so there is none of the popping or cracking that is associated with general chiropractic.
- Safety – As a result, this is a family-oriented form of care that can help infants, the very elderly, and everyone in between.
- Frequency – As adjustments hold, appointments can be made further and further apart.
- Cost-Efficiency – Less frequent appointments make this a cost-effective way to deal with related health problems.
But you may wonder how migraines are related to the upper neck. Here are three ways:
- Blood Flow – The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the brain. Any misalignment that inhibits this flow can lead to migraines.
- Brainstem Function – The C1 (atlas) houses the brainstem. A misalignment can put pressure on the brainstem and thereby affect proper function. Migraines are frequently related to the brainstem.
- Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Drainage – When a misalignment restricts CSF drainage, intracranial pressure can result. This too can lead to migraines.
Therefore, if you are suffering from migraines, especially if you have any history of neck injury or pain, it makes sense to seek out upper cervical chiropractic care. To learn more, find a practice in your area with the help of this site. You may be a few gentle adjustments away from experiencing fewer and less severe migraines. Some patients have even found complete relief.
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