A migraine may seem like a really bad headache to someone who has never had one, but to migraine sufferers, they are a completely different animal. The medical community agrees, classifying migraines as a neurological condition. In fact, while a severe headache is the most common symptom of a migraine, they can occur with no head pain at all.
Migraines can occur in 4 phases, although not every migraine patient will experience all 4. What are the phases of a migraine?
Migraine Phase 1: Prodrome
The symptoms can occur hours or even days before the onset of a migraine. The most common symptom is a stiff neck. Mood swings and changes in bowel habits (both diarrhea and constipation) are also common.
Migraine Phase 2: Aura
This is the least commonly experienced phase, but if it does occur, it will happen within an hour of the migraine itself. Visual symptoms are the most common. Many people see zigzag lines, have blurred or double vision, or just experience difficulty focusing visually. A pins and needles feeling may occur in the extremities and the face.
Migraine Phase 3: The Migraine
This is the part of the attack that is actually referred to as a migraine. The most common symptom is a severe headache, characterized by moderate to severe pulsing or throbbing pain. Other common symptoms include nausea and vomiting, sensory sensitivities, and dizziness or vertigo.
Migraine Phase 4: Postdrome
This is sometimes called the “migraine hangover.” The patient feels extremely fatigued following the conclusion of the migraine. Sensory sensitivities may continue. These symptoms can last for a day or more.
In all, the four migraine phases can last for several days if a patient experiences all of them.
Finding Natural Help for Migraines
While pain pills may provide temporary relief from the headache during an attack, they do nothing to prevent the next migraine from starting. Because migraines are a neurological problem, taking care of the central nervous system (CNS) is a vital part of finding long-term relief. This is where upper cervical chiropractic may be of benefit.
The C1 and C2 vertebrae are uniquely shaped, protecting the area where the brainstem meets the spinal cord. This unique shape allows for a wide range of movement for the head but also makes misalignment a common problem. A misalignment in this sensitive area can create the right conditions for migraines to occur.
Using precise diagnostic techniques and a gentle adjustment, an upper cervical chiropractor can help to correct misalignments in this critical area for the CNS. As a result, patients may experience fewer migraines. Some see them go away completely.