About 39 million Americans get migraines. That’s about 12% of the adult population. Kids are not free from migraines either. About 10% suffer from attacks. Is there any way to predict if a person is prone to migraines? What are the triggers of migraine episodes? We will discuss the answers to these two very important questions, and then we will introduce you to upper cervical chiropractic care as a means of finding natural help for migraines.
The Top Migraine Risk Factors
Here are a few things that could indicate migraines are likely to occur in a person’s future:
- Trauma – Whether you are in a car accident, suffer a sports injury, or have a slip and fall accident, experiencing injuries of the head and neck often precede the onset of migraines. In fact, migraines are a common symptom of post-concussion syndrome. This makes sense when you consider the fact that about 75% of migraineurs suffer from neck pain either before or during an episode. If trauma leads to upper cervical misalignments, this may be an underlying factor in the onset of migraines.
- Genetics – While migraines are not inherited, there are some genetic markers that seem to predispose a person to develop the condition. Geneticists have discovered that most of these markers have to do with the vascular system. This reinforces the theory that migraines are both neurological in nature and have vascular causes that can result in a deficient supply of blood reaching certain parts of the brain.
- Gender – The number of women who get migraines outnumber men 3 to 1. In children, this incidence is flipped, but females overtake the number of males with migraines during puberty. This goes along with hormone fluctuations being one of the primary triggers of migraines as we will discuss in our next section.
Four Things that Trigger Migraines
If you already get migraines, you may notice that certain events cause them to come on more frequently. Here are a few triggers that you may not have been aware of:
- Stress – During high-stress situations, the body releases hormones that help you to cope. When these hormone levels are elevated, migraines can occur. Another migraine trigger is when these hormone levels suddenly drop following the end of a stressful situation. These are referred to as let-down migraines. Since stress can get you both coming and going, it is important to have positive stress coping mechanisms at your disposal to keep hormone levels regulated.
- Hormones – Stress hormones aren’t the only ones that can trigger migraines. As was noted in the risk factors about, fluctuations of female hormone levels can also trigger an attack. For example, women may be more prone to migraines during pregnancy, menopause, or at certain times in your monthly cycle.
- The weather – Dramatic changes in weather can trigger migraines. These changes can occur in anything from barometric pressure and humidity to temperature and wind levels. Another common weather trigger for migraines is lightning strikes. According to one study, migraineurs experience more attacks when there is lightning in the area.
- Medication overuse – Over-the-counter pain relievers may seem like a quick way to get rid of a migraine headache or at least to manage the pain. The problem is that if you get migraines with any sort of regularity, it can lead to taking too much medication. Many of these pills can cause rebound headaches if you take them too often. As a result, you may begin to take more pills and experience even more migraines until you’re dealing with chronic migraines (15 or more migraine days per month).
Knowing your triggers can be important if they are something you can avoid like medication overuse or getting too stressed out on a regular basis. On the other hand, there is little you can do about normal hormone fluctuations, weather changes, and many other migraine triggers. Therefore, you should also be interested in looking for natural migraine help. We promised to discuss how upper cervical chiropractic can be of assistance, so let’s take a closer look at this chiropractic subspecialty.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Offers Natural Help for Migraines
Two things we have established is that both the central nervous system and blood flow to the brain play key roles in migraine occurrence. Both of these factors can be related to the upper cervical spine in the following ways:
- The atlas (C1) protects the brainstem – Even a tiny misalignment of a mere fraction of a millimeter can result in pressure on the brainstem. This, in turn, can have negative effects on the CNS that may lead to migraines.
- The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the head – Misalignments in the neck can restrict the proper flow of blood from reaching the brain. This can lead to the exact conditions that migraines thrive under.
Clearly, if an upper cervical misalignment exists, it is vital for a migraine patient to have it corrected. Upper cervical chiropractors use safe and gentle techniques to precisely adjust the C1 and C2 vertebrae. This allows for the correction of even the slightest misalignment without any popping or twisting of the neck.
If this sounds like a natural alternative that you would be interested in, consult the search page on this website to discover a preferred doctor near you. A no-obligation consultation may set you on the path to better overall health and well-being.