If you have a family member, friend, or even coworker who deals with chronic migraines, he or she would definitely appreciate and benefit from your support. Knowing the following facts about chronic migraines will help you to offer that support and understanding and may help you to get a better grasp on what your loved one is dealing with. Here are 9 things you should know about chronic migraines.
#1 Don’t Confuse Chronic Migraines for Chronic Pain
Most people with migraines get headaches, but that’s not the only symptom. Other common symptoms of migraines include sensory sensitivity (more on that later), nausea and vomiting, vertigo, and even cognitive issues (brain fog).
#2 Chronic Migraine Patients Can Experience Daily Headaches
You don’t have to get a daily migraine for the condition to be considered chronic (15 or more migraine days per month), but some patients do experience migraines every day. Others may experience several days of migraines and then get a few days off. It would be rare to go more than a week without a migraine if a person gets them 15 or more days per month.
#3 Migraines Are on the Top 20 List of Debilitating Diseases
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), migraines are one of the most debilitating conditions that people are suffering from today. It’s right up there with other disabling conditions like lower back pain, depression, and terminal cancer.
#4 Your Loved One Is Already Pushing Him or Herself
Because chronic migraines can be so debilitating, don’t assume a patient is having a good day just because he or she went to the store or to a gathering. Sometimes your loved one will make the extra effort to do what needs to be done despite the pain and other symptoms. Just don’t expect it to happen all the time. The migraineur is in the best position to know what can be accomplished today.
#5 Migraineurs Aren’t Lazy
If a migraine patient is in bed, it’s not a choice. Sometimes when the lights are blinding, sounds are deafening, and the pain is too much to bear, you just have to pull the covers over your head and hope tomorrow is a better day.
#6 Sensory Sensitivity Can Be One of the Most Debilitating Symptoms
Besides a throbbing headache and neck pain, the other symptom that makes the top three for migraineurs is sensory sensitivity. Bright lights, loud sounds, and strong smells can be too much to bear. In fact, even when a migraine is not in progress, extreme sensory stimulation may trigger an episode. So if your friend doesn’t want to go to that concert or ballgame with you, it’s probably because it’s a certain way to trigger a migraine. Touch can also feel stronger during a migraine, so don’t take it personally if a loved one recoils from a gentle caress. It may not have felt gentle. It’s not you, it’s the migraine.
#7 Medication Is Not a Migraine Cure
Sometimes, after many trips to a doctor, a migraineur is fortunate enough to find a medication that reduces the frequency or severity of attacks. Don’t confuse this for a cure. Medications don’t treat the underlying issue, merely the symptoms. In fact, most medications that are considered “preventative” actually just block pain signals from reaching the brain. The migraine is still happening, and numerous symptoms may be present. Only the headache is being blocked.
#8 Fatigue Is Common, Even Apart from the Migraines
Being in pain, bombarded by sensory overload, experiencing neck pain, nausea and vomiting, and other symptoms can leave a person wiped out. Your friend or family member may not be having a migraine right now, but the exhaustion of having to deal with one for the past day or two can be tiring. Don’t expect someone with chronic migraines to have a great day just because a migraine isn’t occurring right this minute. Good days are few and far between when you experience migraines daily or every other day.
#9 There May Be a Way to Get Natural Relief
One thing that chronic migraine patients have found helpful in case studies is upper cervical chiropractic care. How does this subspecialty of chiropractic work and why may it help with migraines?
Migraines oftentimes begin following some sort of head or neck trauma (although they may begin months or even years later rather than right when the injury occurs). This is potentially related to the neck and would explain why neck pain is a common migraine symptom. The trauma leaves behind a tiny misalignment of the atlas (C1 vertebra). This, in turn, can cause:
- Reduced blood flow to the brain – The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the head and misalignments can affect this flow.
- Decreased brainstem function – The atlas houses and protects the brainstem, but a misalignment can have the opposite effect.
- Inhibited cerebrospinal fluid drainage – When drainage is blocked, cerebrospinal fluid can pool in the brain and go from helpful to harmful by increasing intracranial pressure.
Any of these factors can lead to chronic migraines. As a result, it is important for a patient with migraines issues, especially if a history of head or neck trauma exists, to get an examination from an upper cervical chiropractor. If a misalignment is the key underlying factor, then a gentle adjustment of the atlas may provide both immediate and long-term benefits. To learn more, contact a practitioner in your local area. Start by finding one near you on this website.