Migraines are a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. They are not a simple headache, but can cause symptoms like intense pain, nausea, and light sensitivity. Many factors can contribute to the onset of migraines, including structural issues.
Structural issues are any physical problems that affect the structure of your body. These include bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. These issues can cause pain, discomfort, and disability in moderate to severe cases. Structural problems can result from numerous factors including poor posture, previous injuries, and degenerative conditions.
Structural issues can trigger migraines by causing nerve compression and or irritation. It can lead to symptoms like pain and inflammation. For example, when the joints in the neck do not move like they are supposed to it can compress nerves and blood vessels, leading to headaches and migraines. The causes can be joint motion issues, herniated discs, degeneration, or other spinal conditions.
The neck and shoulders are two of the most common areas where structural issues can occur in migraine patients. Poor posture can cause misalignments in the spine, and arthritis can cause nerve compression and muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. Poor posture can lead to trigger points (knots) in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. These trigger points can cause migraine headaches. Trigger points and spasms are commonly located in the trapezius, levator scapulae, suboccipital, sternocleidomastoid, semispinalis capitis, splenius capitis, just to name a few.
They cause tension and compression in the nerves and blood vessels that supply the head and neck, resulting in headaches and or migraines.
Structural issues in the jaw can also cause migraines. Misaligned teeth, jaw clenching, and TMJ disorders are common causes of structural problems in this area and can cause tension that leads to migraines. Many patients who struggle with migraines also have jaw issues. The jaw is connected to the neck by a complex system of muscular and fascial attachments. One of the ways you can test this is to open your mouth and see if you can fit 3 horizontal fingers easily between the bottom and top teeth.
Spinal misalignments like herniated discs or scoliosis can cause nerve compression or irritation, leading to migraines. Poor posture can lead to chronic tension in the trapezius muscles and suboccipital muscles which leads to an increase in compression of soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. A good test to determine if your posture is contributing to your migraine disorder is if your head is a significantly displaced forward relative to your shoulders.
Treating migraines involves addressing the underlying cause of the problem – the structural issue is a big component of migraineurs. Chiropractic adjustments can realign the spine and relieve nerve compression. Myofascial therapy along with physical therapy can address muscle tension and strengthen the muscles around the affected area. Myofascial work on the jaw can improve its functioning and lead to a reduction in head pain days.
Lifestyle changes can also be beneficial for managing and preventing migraines. Maintaining good posture and practicing stress-reducing techniques can help prevent migraines from occurring. It is also vital to avoid triggers like some activities, like exercising your chest, and shoulder muscles.
Seek professional attention if you suspect you have structural issues causing migraines. Delaying treatment can lead to further worsening of symptoms. A thorough examination and diagnosis can identify the underlying cause(s) of your migraines. Our migraine specialists will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
For more on migraines caused by structure issues, contact Calibration Chiropractic + Functional Health at our office in Mansfield, Texas. Call (817) 779-3435 to book an appointment today.