As many as 39 million people in America suffer from migraines. Migraines are a neurological condition that is characterized by pounding and throbbing head pain that usually affects one side of the head. Migraines are often accompanied by sensitivity to bright light, loud sound, and certain odors, nausea, and vomiting. Visual disturbances and dizziness may also occur. Although a headache is its most common symptom, it does not always have to be present when a migraines occurs.
What Are Let-Down Migraines?
Do these scenarios sound familiar to you?
- You have final exams just around the corner. You pull through the exams, but when they are finished, you are hit with a severe migraine.
- You have been planning to go on vacation for so long. However, you spend the first day confined to bed in a dark, cold room, nursing a migraine.
- You survive your workweek facing all kinds of stressors. But once the weekend arrives, you get hit with a migraine.
If you have gone through any of these scenarios, what you experienced is called “a let-down migraine” or “weekend headache.” It is known that stress is a trigger that can prompt migraines. Let-down migraines are the exact opposite. They come about after heavy stress goes away.
Revealing Truths About Let-Down Migraines
A study done at the Montefiore Headache Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University revealed that migraine sufferers who have a drastic decrease in stress levels are at a higher risk for getting a migraine the next day. Researchers found out that the calm period following an extremely stressful event put migraine sufferers at greater risk of developing a migraine.
In the study, researchers utilized a 3-month electronic daily diary that collected 2,011 diary records. They saw 110 eligible migraines in the 17 participants. Assessed as predictors of migraines were levels of stress and reduction in stress levels.
The results of the study showed that migraines were strongest during the first 6 hours after a stressful event had passed. At that point, the risk of getting migraines grew by 500%! A contributing factor that researchers see is the hormone cortisol – which increases during times of stress and reduces pain.
A custom-programmed electronic diary was used to gather data during the study. The participants recorded information about their migraines every day. These included two rating systems for stress and common migraine triggers such as foods and drinks, alcohol, menstruation cycles, and hours of sleep. Participants were also asked to document their moods, whether they were happy, sad, lively, bored, nervous, or relaxed.
In a nutshell, this study emphasizes the importance of managing stress and living a healthy lifestyle for those who have migraines. Being aware of your rising stress levels, and managing your stress from growing too much is very important. It can be achieved by practicing stress relieving exercises and mindful breathing.
Stress Management Tips to Ease Let-Down Migraines
Stress peaks and valleys are very painful and risky to migraine sufferers. To keep your stress at a healthy level, and to reduce your migraines, follow these suggestions.
- Perform short periods of exercise: Instead of using the elevator, take the stairs, or walk to your way home after a stressful day. Your immune system will respond positively to this.
- Work your brain: Exercise your brain by doing some mental problem solving like math computations or crossword puzzles at a fast pace. Doing so can also improve the immune-system activity.
- Always practice relaxation techniques: Simple deep breathing can help the mind and body relax from the day’s stressors. Mindful breathing can help you relax in the best way. Consciously slow down your breathing, take deep breaths, and exhale gradually. This practice can lower your heart rate, slow down your brain waves, and decrease your blood pressure.
How to Alleviate the Pain of Migraines Naturally
Another effective alternative to get rid of the stress on the spine and neck is to ensure the proper alignment of the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the uppermost bones of the upper cervical spine. These bones are responsible for supporting the head and keeping it balanced over the neck. Due to their location and unique shape, they are often prone to misaligning. Something as simple as a trip and fall, a sports injury, or a car accident (whiplash), can result in these bones to move out of position. When this happens, several processes in the body may function irregularly, leading to migraines.
For one thing, blood flow to and from the brain can be affected by the misalignment. Another thing that may happen is the malfunction of the brainstem due to undue stress from misaligned bones. This can cause false signals being sent to the brain. The spine also has to compensate for the alignment, which can irritate the nerves and muscles of the neck. All of these changes can lead to migraines as the end result.
Upper cervical chiropractic care performs a gentle and precise technique to help realign the neck bones without resorting to popping or cracking. This natural method helps the bones to move back into place for longer-lasting results. Call an upper cervical chiropractor in your area to find relief for your migraines and ensure your upper cervical spine is in great shape.