Migraine is a neurological condition that may leave anyone both physically and mentally drained. It often gets mistaken for a headache as it’s notorious for bringing about pulsating pain on one side of the head. Some people may also feel pain in the neck behind the ear on either side of the head.
About 13% of Americans deal with painful migraine attacks. In short, there are millions of migraineurs in the states who are left with no choice but to cope with severe pain in the neck behind the ear, headaches, and other associated symptoms of migraines.
A more recent study pointed to nerve pathways and brain chemicals as contributors to the onset of migraine attacks. In the past, medical professionals considered blood circulation as one possible cause of migraines. They also regarded genetics as another risk factor after learning that patients have family members with the disorder in 90% of the reported migraine cases.
Chronic and Episodic Migraines
Migraines are killjoys as they can make a person suffer from terrible head pains that last for hours or even days on end. Like an uninvited friend, a migraine may hit you in the middle of daily activity, forcing you to stop and just lay in bed to rest.
If you wonder what kind of migraines you have, you can tell if you have chronic migraines or episodic migraines by analyzing the frequency of your episodes.
They come about for 15 or more days in the same period.
You experience them less than 15 days a month.
The Four Phases of A Migraine Attack
How do migraines progress? Migraine attacks may consist of several stages, although not the case for everyone. Familiarizing yourself with these stages can help you gain control and mitigate the whole experience of a migraine attack.
#1. The Prodromal Phase
Prodrome refers to the onset of an attack. At least 30% of migraineurs go through the prodromal stage. During this period, also known as the pre-migraine phase, a migraineur may be subjected to symptoms such as food cravings, sleepiness, mood changes, stiff neck and shoulders, excessive thirst, and nausea.
#2. The Aura Phase
Not everyone experiences this phase, but those who do deal with auras, neurological disturbances that show up right before the infamous headache begins. Auras can affect a person’s sense of hearing, vision, balance, and speech.
Auras can be visual, causing some to see a blind spot in their vision, an arc of light, or blind spots. On the one hand, auras can also manifest as auditory or motor disturbances. You may experience ringing sounds or whispers out of nowhere, as well as numbness, tingling sensation, pain in the neck behind the ear, and speaking issues when you have an aura.
#3. The Headache Phase
In this period, a migraineur may experience mild to severe migraine episodes. Headache attacks may bring sensitivity to light, smells, and movements, not to mention vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. Lucky are those who experience this stage for only a few hours. In worse cases, migraineurs deal with this phase for days. They are stuck in a cool, dark room to rest and stay away from triggers that can make the headache even worse.
#4. The Postdromal Phase
Unfortunately, a migraine attack does not end with the headache phase. In this stage, otherwise known as the “migraine hangover,” patients may feel tired and experience recurring head pains, confusion, and sleepiness.
What Can Trigger Migraine Episodes?
Migraine triggers are subjective. Simply put, your triggers may be different from another migraineur next to you. Smelling a particular scent or eating certain foods may put some migraine patients off. Being familiar with your triggers can help you avoid future bouts of migraines. Furthermore, staying away from your triggers can help you manage and overcome migraine episodes.
List of migraine triggers that may induce and worsen a migraine attack:
- Too much caffeine
- Stress and anxiety
- Hormonal changes in women
- Skipping meals or fasting
- Processed foods and some food additives
- Sleep deprivation
- Weather changes
- Lighting changes
Natural Methods to Manage and Reduce Migraine Attacks
Addressing migraines at their roots gives you a higher chance of reducing the intensity and occurrence of your future episodes. In a study that summarizes hundreds of cases of migraines, there’s one surprising revelation: many migraine cases connect to atlas misalignments.
The atlas is the uppermost bone in the spine that links the head to the neck. This very intricate neck bone also shields the brainstem. When misaligned even by the tiniest degree, the worse things can happen in the body. Poor blood circulation, delayed brain function, body pains, and migraines are just some of the unpleasant results.
Unknown to many, atlas misalignment is not rare and may occur to anyone, especially those that keep bad posture and have suffered an injury to the head or neck.
A natural method that may help anyone with migraines due to atlas misalignment is upper cervical chiropractic care. This form of chiropractic attends to the upper cervical spine, where the atlas sits. It can help people get relief from migraines and their accompanying symptoms, including pain in the neck behind the ear.
Upper cervical chiropractic care involves a thorough evaluation of the neck to confirm whether the neck’s misalignment is the underlying cause of the migraine attacks. In the initial assessment, chiropractors begin by taking note of the patient’s medical history. In this way, they can propose a customized alignment procedure and care plan for the patient. Then, they use gentle and safe techniques in adjusting the neck back into its original position.
Upper cervical chiropractors design custom-made corrections that hold in place for long. This allows the body to recover from the damage of misalignment. If you seek a long-lasting migraine relief, especially after an unfortunate physical trauma that affected your neck or head, visit an upper cervical doctor near your area today.