If you get migraines, you probably get frustrated with all of the crazy things you hear people say about them that just aren’t true. Ignoring ignorance can be difficult, but if you want to find natural help for your migraines and reduce the frequency and severity of your bouts, here are some migraine myths that you need to get past.
Myth 1 – Migraines Are Just Bad Headaches
You knew this one had to be at the top of the list. How do people still believe that migraines are just bad headaches in 2019? There is so much information out there showing how serious this neurological condition can be. But that’s why we use the term ignorance. Unfortunately, if someone is in the 88% of the population who doesn’t get migraines, they may not bother to understand the condition.
Myth 2 – More Medicine Is the Best Treatment
An over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever may occasionally help you get through a day of work or an important event that you have to attend during a migraine. However, taking more and more medication is not the solutions to migraines. Here are the three biggest reasons to avoid medication overuse:
- Rebound headaches – Taking to much medication can cause rebound (medication overuse) headaches. Most of these medications are designed to be used fewer than 10 days per month, and none of them are designed to be taken on a long-term basis. Sometimes we forget that OTC is not synonymous with safe for daily use and forget to check the label for proper dosing. Headaches are a well-documented side effect of taking pain relievers too often.
- They don’t always help – Remember that migraines aren’t headaches, so you can’t expect a medication designed for a common headache always to be able to help with a migraine. Why do they help sometimes? The onset of a migraine can be related to blood flow or inflammation, and things like ibuprofen and caffeine (two common ingredients in OTC headache medications) can help with those underlying issues.
- They are symptomatic relief – The headache is just one symptom of a migraine. Even if the pills help the headache, you may still suffer many other symptoms. Plus, the pills are not helping the underlying cause of migraines, so they won’t do anything to stop the next one from happening.
Myth 3 – You’re Doing Something to Cause the Migraines
Let’s be clear – there are lifestyle adjustments you can make to reduce the frequency of your migraines. If you know your triggers, avoiding them (when possible) is smart. But your triggers are not the cause of your migraines. So you are not to blame for your condition.
With that in mind, what are some of the things you can do to have fewer migraines? Depending on your triggers, any of the following may help you:
- Use proper posture
- Use caffeine in moderation
- Have a set sleep schedule
- Don’t skip meals
- Avoid medication overuse
- Avoid sensory overload (strong smells, bright lights, etc.)
- Don’t smoke
Myth 4 – Your Neck Pain Isn’t Related to Your Migraines
Neck pain is frequently left off of migraine symptom lists. However, about 75% of migraineurs report neck pain either before or during the headache phase. That can’t be a coincidence. The real question that needs to be asked is in regard to how the two are related. Here are three ways in which neck pain may actually be at the source of migraines:
- Blood flow – When the cervical spine is misaligned, it can reduce blood flow to the brain, and this blood flow is very often at the root of migraines and other neurological conditions. The vertebrae of the neck have loops called vertebral foramen. These loops are the passageway for the arteries that bring blood to the head. However, any misalignments can affect the proper flow of blood, even in very minor ways, and can lead to migraines.
- Brainstem function – The top bone in the neck, located at the base of the skull, is called the atlas. This is because it balances the head. However, it also surrounds and protects the brainstem. As a result, even the slightest misalignment can apply pressure to the brainstem and affect its proper function. This, in turn, can cause migraines and other neurological problems.
- Intracranial pressure – When the top bones in the neck become misaligned, this can prevent cerebral spinal fluid from draining properly. As a result, cerebrospinal fluid may begin to pool and increase intracranial pressure. This is another element that may lead to neurological issues.
These misalignments that cause pain are all also potential underlying causes of migraines, so the link between neck pain and migraines should not be ignored.
Myth 5 – There Is No Way to Find Natural Help
If your underlying problem is a misalignment of the C1 and C2 vertebrae, upper cervical chiropractic is the perfect way to get natural help for migraines. This subspecialty of chiropractic involves diagnostic imaging to precisely calculate misalignments combined with gentle adjustments to provide long-term relief. There is no popping or twisting of the neck. Low force adjustments are safe and can provide long-lasting relief once the surrounding soft tissue stabilizes.
If you are suffering from migraines on a regular basis, give upper cervical chiropractic a try. This may be the safe, natural source of relief that you have been searching for. Scheduling a no-obligation consultation with a practitioner in your area is the first step.