Migraine and neck pain often trigger a string of sleeping problems, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and teeth grinding. Sadly, these have caused significant problems for many patients seeking help from their doctors, upper cervical chiropractors, and other health practitioners. But why do these three annoying symptoms occur anyway? What could be the reason behind them, and how can patients cope better?
Explaining the Sleeping Problem and Migraine Connection
It appears that sleeping problems such as insomnia, bruxism, snoring, and sleep apnea strongly connect with chronic migraine attacks. In a 2013 study, 85.9 percent of the respondents experienced poor quality sleep and have episodic migraines. The researchers couldn’t determine whether migraines cause sleeping problems or vice versa. However, it appears that the two often occur together and even go hand in hand with mild to severe neck pain.
Researchers and doctors have been unraveling why sleeping problems, migraine and neck pain happen together. But, so far, here are the only things that we know for certain:
- Lack of sleep is an identified migraine trigger
- Migraine often trigger insomnia because of its crippling symptoms
- Too much sleep can trigger migraine symptoms
- People who sleep more than six hours a day are more susceptible to migraines
- Patients who experience migraines are up to 8 times more likely to develop sleeping problems
- Low quality sleep can impact the production of serotonin and dopamine – two feel-good neurotransmitters that can affect the onset of migraines
- Two-thirds of patients who experience chronic pain in their body (neck, shoulders, back, etc.) have a hard time sleeping
- Hyperactive nerve cells can send the wrong information to the blood vessels, causing blood flow fluctuations (and ultimately, severe headaches)
- A cervical subluxation can cause your nerves and brain to misfire and transmit faulty information to the rest of the body
- A cervical subluxation can cause recurring neck pain and contribute to the onset of migraines and sleeping problems
Good Sleep Hygiene Can Help Reduce Migraines, Neck Pain, and Sleeping Problems
While it may be tempting to manage sleeping problems with medications, experts still recommend natural and holistic options. One way is to assess and modify your sleep hygiene. The Sleep Foundation explains that good sleep hygiene creates healthy and reproducible actions and ensures long, restless sleep. Here are things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene:
- Avoid long naps during the morning or afternoon
- Clean your room and make sure that it has good ventilation
- Limit screen exposure two hours before you hit the sack
- Use a humidifier, especially if you have sleep apnea
- Switch to a pillow that best suits your sleeping pattern
- Check the firmness of your bed to determine if it still provides enough support to your body
- Use a dim light setting if you can’t sleep in the dark
- Experiment with aromatherapy oils and decide whether they can help you calm your mind before bedtime
- Manage your sleeping and waking time and make sure to stick to a consistent schedule
- Limit sources of sleep interruptions (traffic noise, excessive cold or heat, etc.)
- Try exercising a few hours before your scheduled bedtime
- If you tend to check the clock now and then, we suggest keeping them away when you sleep
- If you have pets that often disturbs your sleep, set up a separate place for them
Other Ways to Cope with Sleeping Disorders, Migraine and Neck Pain
Besides working on your sleeping hygiene, we believe natural remedies like upper cervical care, massage, and mindfulness meditation can also help. Let’s look at the available options you can use to manage your sleeping problems, migraine, and neck pain.
Mindfulness meditation is extra handy in relaxing the mind. It also helps eliminate stress – the most significant contributor to worsening sleep disorders, migraine attacks, and neck pain. Here’s how you can practice mindfulness meditation:
- Sit comfortably in a quiet corner
- Straighten your back without overstretching your back muscles
- Be mindful of your legs and arms and notice their position or movements
- Soften your gaze by gently closing your eyes
- Pay attention to your breath and suck air from your nose to your mouth
- Let your mind wander and relax while breathing
- Once you’re ready, open your eyes slowly
Relaxing muscle massage
A soothing massage is a good remedy for a weary mind and body. It also works wonders in relieving pain and headaches. So, we suggest scheduling an hour each week for a relaxing muscle massage. If you have nearby spas in your city, you can go to a professional masseuse/masseur. Alternatively, you can use massagers like massage guns, balls, and mats and maximize your spa-like experience with an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom.
Upper cervical care
Migraine and neck pain are among the critical health complaints associated with cervical subluxation. Case studies have long established that misalignments in the C1 and C2 bones can lead to migraine attacks and recurring neck pain because of the irritated brainstem and nerve roots. That’s why several patients who experience migraines and neck pain, accompanied by sleeping problems, go to an upper cervical care doctor.
If other remedies don’t provide desirable results, you can explore upper cervical care. After all, it aims to remove signal interferences that may be causing your different organs to malfunction. Learn more about this holistic approach to coping with crippling symptoms when visiting a nearby upper cervical chiropractor.