Can Migraines After A Whiplash Injury Get Worse?

Have you ever been involved in a nasty car accident, a sports collision, or a fall that resulted in a sudden jolt to your head and neck? Has your neck and head been hurting since sustaining the traumatic injury? Do you experience severe headaches that don't improve even after using your go-to remedies for migraines, or have your headaches worsened since the unfortunate event?

Notably, it's common for patients with a history of whiplash injuries to experience severe headaches. Some who have been experiencing headaches before having whiplash injuries also notice worse symptoms. 

But why does this happen anyway? Can spinal misalignment cause migraines? Is it possible for whiplash-related migraines to get even worse? Will the body heal on its own? Will it help to seek an Upper Cervical doctor?

Read on to understand what it takes to manage whiplash-related migraines so they don't completely take over your life and affect everything that matters most to you.

How can whiplash trigger migraines?

If you have never had migraine episodes, you will likely get them after sustaining a whiplash injury. This happens because of the unique structure of the upper cervical spine. Traumatic injuries to the neck, like whiplash, impact the connective tissues supporting the atlas and axis bones – two vertebral bones that protect various delicate nervous system structures. Naturally, problems will occur if these bones shift even by a fraction of a millimeter (a common consequence of neck trauma). 

For starters, it could heighten your brain's pain sensitivity and affect the fluid balance (blood and cerebrospinal fluid) in the head. On top of that, the unnatural position of the atlas and axis bones affects the rest of the spine, causing a tugging motion on the muscles, joints, and ligaments crucial to maintaining your posture. 

These factors increase your risks for recurring migraine episodes that will likely worsen with time if you don't address the resulting posture problem. 

How can whiplash worsen migraine symptoms?

Besides triggering migraines, it's crucial to note that whiplash injuries can also exacerbate pre-existing migraine symptoms. This problem occurs because of the following factors:  

  • Inflammation: The trauma to the neck can cause inflammation in the surrounding tissues, which can irritate the nerves and trigger a migraine attack. Additionally, inflammation can lead to muscle spasms and stiffness, further exacerbating headache pain.
  • Altered blood flow: The upper cervical spine is crucial for maintaining proper blood flow to the brain. Damage to the vertebrae or surrounding tissues can disrupt this flow, leading to migraine symptoms.
  • Cervicogenic headaches: These headaches are caused by a dysfunction in the neck and can be triggered by a whiplash injury. They often feel similar to migraines and can even occur concurrently, making the overall pain experience much worse.
  • Emotional stress: A whiplash injury can be a traumatic event, and the stress and anxiety it brings can contribute to an increase in migraine frequency and intensity.

How can you cope with whiplash-related migraine?

So, what can be done to alleviate migraines that have worsened due to a whiplash injury? Calling an Upper Cervical Chiropractor is a good starting point. With the help of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care, you can address postural imbalances that affect your nervous system. Through gentle, precise adjustments, you can ease the pressure off your nerves, muscles, and other tissues, and restore normal fluid balance in the brain, helping you get to the bottom of the problem.

If you're suffering from worsening migraines after a whiplash injury, don't lose hope. Reach out to an Upper Cervical doctor near you to get your topmost neck bones examined and adjusted (if needed). This way, you can lessen the severity and frequency of your migraine headaches. With ample care, you can relieve your symptoms and regain control over your life. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to take advantage of a holistic and effective migraine remedy. Bring back the joy and vitality in your life. Book your appointment with an Upper Cervical Doctor today!

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.