Can you tell the difference between migraine myths and facts? Sadly, despite the fact that there are about 39 million Americans suffering from migraines, many people still don’t know the difference between truth and fiction when it comes to this neurological condition. We’re going to take a look at some of the worst migraine myths and reveal the truth. Then we will discuss a way to get natural help for your migraines.
Myth #1: A Migraine Is a Bad Headache
The headache phase of a migraine is the most well-known. However, migraines are so much more than just a bad headache. This is a neurological condition with numerous symptoms that can vary from patient to patient. Plus, there can be three other stages to a migraine.
For those who experience the prodrome stage, they may experience symptoms such as food cravings, increased yawning, difficulty concentrating, irritability, sensitivity to light and sound, neck pain, and more. These symptoms can occur for up to 24 hours before the headache phase.
The second phase, experienced by about 20-25% of migraineurs, is aura. This occurs within an hour before the headache phase. Symptoms can include visual disturbances, numbness and tingling, or sensory hallucinations.
Even after the attack, some patients may experience a postdrome phase. This can include heavy mental fog and extreme fatigue. Besides all of this, it is necessary to mention that a person can have symptoms in all four phases and not even have a headache because headache, while the most common symptom, only occurs with about 85-90% of migraines.
Myth #2: There’s No Link Between Your Migraines and Your Neck Pain
This particular migraine myth may stem from the fact that neck pain is rarely listed as a migraine symptom. However, about 75% of migraine patients report neck pain either before or during the headache phase. Perhaps you have noticed that pain or stiffness begins in your neck and creeps its way up into the back of your head before the headache phase begins.
This may be part of the reason that some people confuse migraines and tension headaches. You may have, at first, thought your migraines were just tension headaches because they began with neck pain. These are the muscles where the body stores tension or stress. However, you can tell a migraine headache apart from a tension headache if you have any two of these four characteristics:
- The headache is moderate to severe in pain
- The headache affects just one side of the head
- The headache grows worse with physical exertion
- The pain is a throbbing or pulsing sensation
Myth #3: There’s No Link Between Your Migraines and an Injury
The fact is that no one can say this because no one knows with absolute certainty the underlying cause of migraines. What we do know is that migraines often begin following an injury such as a car accident, sports injury, or some other form of head or neck trauma. Migraines and neck pain are also symptoms that are commonly associated with post-concussion syndrome.
Myth #4: Migraines Are Inherited
While it is true that the genetic propensity toward migraines is the subject of study, this is not an inherited condition. Of course, if you have been diagnosed, there is a 90% chance that someone else in your family gets migraines as well. But that could be due to the fact that 12% of adults and 10% of children get migraines. It would be tough not to be related to a migraineur unless you are from a small family. The more direct argument is that a person living with migraines has a 50% chance of having a child who gets migraines. If both parents get them, then that stat raises to 75%. This is why researchers are looking for a genetic propensity.
Myth #5: Caffeine Addiction Is Causing Your Migraines
Withdrawal from caffeine can cause a headache, and it may even trigger a migraine, but it’s not the main issue. In fact, caffeine can sometimes help a migraineur. Researchers have discovered that there may be a link between cerebral blood flow and migraines. Since caffeine improves circulation in small doses, it may help you curb an attack. That’s why several over the counter pain relievers have caffeine as an ingredient. Just be careful to avoid overindulging in caffeine. If you have coffee in morning, try to avoid caffeine intake for the rest of the day.
Myth #6: There Is No Source for Natural Migraine Help
This may be the biggest migraine myth of them all! Upper cervical chiropractors have had success in helping migraine patients. One of the reasons that this specific form of chiropractic may be of benefit is that we focus on the top two bones in the neck, the C1 and C2. Misalignments in the region can affect brainstem function as well as the flow of blood to the brain. While the cause of migraines is still unknown, these factors are evident.
If you have suffered a head or neck injury, you may have an upper cervical misalignment that is impacting the inner workings of your central nervous system. To learn if this may be behind your migraines, schedule an examination by an upper cervical practitioner in your area. If a misalignment exists, we can use safe and gentle adjustments to correct it. For some migraineurs, this has led to fewer and less severe migraines or even complete resolution of the condition.