As the number of people around the world who are afflicted with migraines reaches about 12% of adults, not to mention 10% of children, it is growing increasingly important to understand this health ailment as well as possible. More than just a serious headache, migraines are a neurological condition that is comprised of numerous symptoms, making them both debilitating and sometimes even depressing to cope with.
We are going to arm you with knowledge today. First, by discussing some of the risk factors and triggers that may give insight into the underlying issues related to migraines. Then we will discuss a modern and natural form of care that is growing in popularity in recent years.
Migraine Risk Factors
What are some of the things that make it more likely for a person to get migraines in the first place? Here are some of the factors that researchers have discovered:
- Genetics – While migraines are not a genetic condition, you may be able to inherit the predisposition toward experiencing migraines. This may explain why about 90% of people who are diagnosed with migraines have a relative who also suffers from the same condition. It is also important to note that a couple where one parent is a migraineur gives children a 50/50 shot at getting migraines. If both parents get migraines, there is a 75% chance that a child will follow suit.
- Gender – Women are about three times as likely to suffer from migraines as men. It seems to have something to do with the hormone fluctuations that occur both on a monthly basis and throughout certain parts of life for a woman. In fact, pregnancy and menopause can both trigger more frequent and severe migraines.
- Trauma – Migraines are far more common in people who have experienced head or neck trauma such as in a car accident or a slip and fall injury. Migraines may also be a symptom of post-concussion syndrome as is experienced by many athletes who are injured while playing contact sports.
Common Migraine Triggers
There are a number of things that can trigger a migraine attack. Keep in mind that these are not what causes the migraines, simply what makes an episode begin.
- Stress – Stress is one of the most common factors when it comes to the onset of a migraine episode. In fact, not only can a migraine occur while a person is stressed, but there is also an increased likelihood of an attack when a person is relaxing after the stress has passed. This seems to be linked to a sudden change in hormones when the body stops producing the stress hormones during a period of relaxation.
- Sensory stimulation – Sensitivity to lights, sounds, and smells are all part of the most common migraine symptoms. However, these are also things that can trigger the onset of a migraine. Whether a loud sound occurs unexpectedly, someone is wearing cologne that is too strong, or you are getting a glare from computer screens all day, any factor relating to these senses becoming overstimulated may result in migraines.
- Medications – Since hormones can definitely affect the onset of migraines, some medications like birth control pills have been connected to migraine occurrence. There are also certain headache medications that have been known to result in rebound headaches when the medications are overused. This is pretty much the case for every over-the-counter headache medication and even many of the prescription ones.
- Lack of sleep – Migraines can make it tough to sleep, but a lack of sleep can actually trigger the next migraines. Therefore, it is important to break the cycle by developing good sleep habits if you get migraines. One of the most common issues with creating the right sleep environment is using technology in bed late until the evening. If you find that you have this issue, you may want to charge your mobile device in another room at night or at least far enough from the bed that you are not tempted to use the device while preparing for sleep.
The risk factors and triggers we have discussed to this point can help us to identify some of the underlying factors when it comes to migraines. Consider how migraines may relate to the neck.
Migraines and the Upper Cervical Spine
When the top bones in the neck are out of alignment, this can affect the entire central nervous system (CNS). In what ways?
- Blood flow – The cervical spine provides safe passage for the vertebral arteries which bring oxygen-rich blood to the head. A misalignment can restrict this free flow of blood. Depriving certain parts of the brain of a full supply of oxygen.
- Brainstem function – The atlas (C1), in particular, surrounds the brainstem. A misalignment can put pressure on this most vital CNS component and affect everything from breathing and sleeping to how the body senses pain and deciphers input from the ears, eyes, and nose.
- Intracranial pressure – A misaligned atlas can also restrict cerebrospinal fluid drainage. If it starts to pool in the head, this can result in intracranial pressure.
Any of these factors can lead to a migraine. You may also begin to see how something like trauma can result in chronic migraines. The injury causes the misalignment, and the misalignment causes the headaches and other symptoms. Stress too can be more difficult to deal with when the CNS is not functioning properly. So the misalignment can be related to both the risk factors and triggers of migraines.
To learn more, contact an upper cervical practitioner in your area. You may be amazed to see the difference in your symptoms that occur right from your first gentle and precise adjustment.
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