Suppose you feel throbbing in your head coupled with severe neck pain. At first, you ignore it, thinking that it’s just an ordinary headache. Sadly, a few days later, it comes back with a vengeance. This time, you experience a new sensation: light sensitivity. It completely throws you off, causing you pain even just from watching TV or staring out in your window. Then, it dawns on you that the problem you experience is a migraine attack with light sensitivity or photophobia. So, you begin reading about relief options for migraineurs, such as upper cervical chiropractic care.
Every chiropractor for migraines has worked with countless ailing individuals who experience light sensitivity during a migraine episode. It’s frustrating and sometimes worrying, especially when it prevents you from functioning properly. So, with that in mind, we thought of taking a deeper dive into light sensitivity in migraine episodes and how you can cope when you experience them.
The National Headache Foundation says that about 80 to 90 percent of migraineurs experience light sensitivity or photophobia. This means that many people deal with a similar level of discomfort when exposed to bright lights from the window or the computer screen. Some migraineurs note that they only experience sensitivity to lights during an episode and tend to stop after a certain period.
However, some upper cervical chiropractic patients claim they experience a sudden onset of their symptoms after seeing bright and flashing lights. At times, it could only take 5 minutes to a couple of hours before the migraine phase starts.
Some patients are more at risk than the others
Anyone can experience or develop light sensitivity during a migraine attack. However, studies note that some patients are more prone than others due to the following:
- Eyelid spasms and eye irritation
- Corneal abrasion
- Bacterial keratitis
Some patients who seek a chiropractor for migraine attacks have these risk factors. And unfortunately, they experience worse bouts of headaches and light sensitivity.
Not all types of light affect those with photophobia
If you have light sensitivity and a migraine, chances are, you’re sensitive to all kinds of light sources. Your eyes might react to a fluorescent bulb, sunshine glare from a car’s windshield, or flashing lights from your TV screen.
Blue light, which usually comes from computers and mobile screens, also tends to have the worst effects on people with photophobia. Working in offices can be difficult, especially if it requires sitting in front of a computer desk for hours.
Fortunately, many upper cervical chiropractic patients note that they experience relief when they expose themselves to green light. According to a study by researchers from the University of Arizona, green light therapy can help curb migraine symptoms, such as sensitivity to light.
What To Do When You’re Sensitive to Light
If light sensitivity is among your main migraine symptoms or if you are photophobic due to existing conditions, it could help to do the following:
- Avoiding or minimizing exposure to bright lights (artificial or natural) during a migraine episode
- Trying special glasses designed for people with light-sensitive eyes
- Minding the time spent using computer, TV, and mobile device
- Investing in lighting fixtures that allow adjusting the light intensity
- Scheduling activities so you can avoid staying outside when the lights get too bright
And, because light sensitivity often goes hand in hand with migraine episodes, you should also practice migraine remedies and management techniques. Some notable examples of these tactics include:
- Steering clear from your triggers (salty food, low or high caffeine intake, alcohol, etc.)
- Keeping an active lifestyle to boost the release of the body’s natural pain killers
- Tracking your migraine episodes with a journal to establish patterns and critical bad habits to avoid
- Trying temperature therapy or using hot and cold compresses to relieve tense muscles and nerves on the head and neck area
- Taking a break, especially when you feel extremely burnt out from work or school
- Improving your sleeping habits to ensure you have enough time to rest during bedtime
Can a Chiropractor for Migraines Help with Photophobia?
Besides the tips above on how to cope with light sensitivity during a migraine attack, you might find it helpful to try seeing a chiropractor for migraines for a consultation. You likely have cervical spine misalignment, and that’s contributing to or possibly, triggering your migraines.
When your neck bones don’t align well with the rest of your spine, they can press your brainstem and other nerves located along the neck. This affects your brain’s communication pathways and prevents your brainstem from doing its jobs, such as regulating sleep, digestion, and blood pressure.
Consequently, this can lead to the onset of various symptoms that trigger a migraine episode. The misaligned bones also strain your spinal column, contributing to the beginning of other debilitating conditions.
If your migraine attacks and light sensitivity problems have been bothering you for quite a while, you can consult with a migraine chiropractor. This way, you can determine how far your C1 and C2 bones shifted away from their original places. It will also help your upper cervical chiropractor to figure out how many series of adjustments your neck bones need.
Receiving upper cervical chiropractic adjustments might be the answer to your ailing condition. Take the next step and experience better improvements in your migraine attacks and light sensitivity with the help of an upper cervical chiropractic doctor.