5 Drivers of Migraines - Neurologic

A migraine is a neurological disease that can cause pulsing or throbbing, debilitating head pain. Many people suffer from migraines that last for hours or days. Light, sound, movement, and other triggers can lead to symptoms such as head pain, numbness, nausea, vertigo, tiredness, and visual disturbances. The pain is usually on one side of the head. The disorder affects about 12% of Americans. And it is one of the leading disabilities worldwide. Unfortunately, migraines effect females greater than males. Migraines are the worst during a female's most productive years in life. Learn about the neurologic drivers of migraines.


Types of Migraines


There are distinct types of migraines. These include:


  • Common migraines (migraines without auras): These migraines usually strike without warning

  • Complicated migraines (migraines with auras): Patients experience an aura before the pain. They affect 15% to 20% of individuals who suffer from migraines

  • Chronic migraines: Migraines that last days are considered chronic. Some people suffer from migraines for two weeks every month and require medications for several days

  • Silent migraines (acephalgic migraines): Sometimes, migraines occur without head pain. Patients experience the aura without the headache. (Visual changes)

  • Hemiplegic migraines: Patients experience temporary paralysis or neurologic sensory changes on one side. They may also experience extreme weakness, temporary numbness, tingling, dizziness, or vision changes

  • Ocular migraines: Also known as retinal migraines, they often cause temporary vision loss in one eye and a dull ache. The pain moves from the back of the ear to the rest of the head. Partial or complete vision loss can last a minute, hours, or weeks

  • Migraines with brainstem auras usually cause vertigo, double vision, loss of balance, and slurred speech, before the actual headache. The symptoms occur suddenly, and patients may experience vomiting and ringing in the ears


Stages of Migraines


There are four main stages of a migraine. They include prodrome that lasts several hours or days. It is often called the preheadache stage. The next stage is the aura, which can last a few minutes to one hour. This is the time most professionals recommend you take abortive medications, like Triptans.


Most people do not experience the aura stage, while others have the aura and headache simultaneously. The actual migraine or headache can last four to 72 hours (about 3 days). The postdrome or migraine hangover stage affects 80% of individuals and can last one or two days. During this phase, a sufferer may experience fatigue.



Neurological Drivers of Migraines


A migraine is a neurological disorder, a form of primary headache. It can be persistent and chronic, causing severe disability. The head pain is usually only on one side and is accompanied by sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. Patients that have head pain in multiple locations may be suffering from migraines and tension headaches.


Migraine pain occurs when the nerve fibers in the brain’s blood vessels are activated. Due to cortical spreading depression. Which is like the activity that seizure sufferers have in their brains. The blood vessels travel between the membrane layers that protect the brain and spinal cord. If not treated, migraine attacks can last days. Migraines can be due to genetic, environmental, neurological, hormonal, structural, and or lifestyle factors.


Migraineurs are neurologically sensitive individuals, meaning that the sensory stimulation coming into their brain: sound, light, barometric pressure, and smells at times is too much for them to process. A migraine patients' brain and nervous system can have many issues, some of which include dynamic vision (eye movement problems), balance problems, coordination problems, and autonomic problems (blood pressure, heart rate, digestion), and when these issues are addressed, they can regain functionality and reduce head pain days.


Triggers of Migraines

Migraines have several triggers. They include:


  • Hormonal imbalances (Women)

  • Alcohol or excessive caffeine

  • Emotional Stress

  • Sleep deprivation or changes in sleep patterns

  • Too many sensory stimuli (lights and sounds)

  • Intense physical exertion

  • Weather changes

  • Dehydration

  • Foods or food additives

  • Certain medications

  • A change in eating habits or skipping meals (blood sugar changes)


Migraine Treatment and Management


Migraines are chronic, but treatment can reduce the severity of the symptoms. Patients take preventive medications when migraines occur several times a month. They can help reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms. But most migraine medications are only 40-60% effective depending on which studies you are looking at. Leaving migraine sufferers looking for complementary and alternative treatments.

Chiropractic treatment along with a comprehensive approach including nutritional counseling, hormonal management, stress reduction, and neurological therapy. Can help manage migraines by reducing the days in a month a person experiences pain.


For more on neurologic drivers of migraines, visit Calibration Chiropractic + Functional Health at our office in Mansfield, Texas. Call (817) 779-3435 to schedule an appointment today.

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