Migraine is a complicated condition which includes a vast array of different symptoms. Most of us associate migraines with severely painful headaches, yet there are a number of other symptoms that can occur with or without a headache. For instance, visual disturbances often referred to as auras, light sensitivity, sensitivity to sounds and smells, nausea, and vomiting.
Your symptoms may vary in length and frequency, yet migraine attacks typically last from a few hours to a few days.
Many migraine sufferers are sidelined for hours in a dark room until their symptoms begin to fade. This condition can have a terrible impact on all areas of one’s life.
If you are experiencing a headache with an aura, and other symptoms listed above it is likely you are suffering with a migraine.
It is can be very difficult to distinguish between headaches and migraines. Firstly, you may suffer from both. Secondly, not all migraines are experienced with auras and therefore it isn’t always clear what you are experiencing. If you are experiencing a headache with an aura, and other symptoms listed above it is likely you are suffering with a migraine.
If your headache has none of the other symptoms listed above then you are likely experiencing some other form of headache
Unfortunately from a western medical perspective, there is no known cause for migraine attacks. Having said that, it appears that people who suffer from this condition exhibit changes in their brainstem. It is possible that these changes play a role in the cause of migraine attacks.
The following is a list of triggers commonly seen in migraine attacks:
Hormonal Changes in Women:
Fluctuations in estrogen levels play a role in migraines. Women typically experience a migraine right before or at the start of the period when estrogen levels drop.
The use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy often worsen migraine symptoms. Changing these medications can be very helpful in reducing the symptoms and severity of migraines.
Cheeses, salty foods, and processed foods are triggers for migraines.
MSG and aspartame may be triggers.
The consumption of wine and heavily caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
A major factor in many conditions including migraine headaches.
Glare from the sun or other bright lights can trigger migraines, as can loud sounds. Smells from perfume, smoking, and paint thinners also can induce migraines.
Changes in Sleep:
Jet lag, missing sleep, or getting too much sleep are all implicated in migraines.
Weather changes, or changes in barometric pressure can initiate a migraine.
Hormonal medications and vasodilators can induce migraines.
Physical exertion, and sexual intercourse both may trigger migraines.
Do not be deterred by conventional information that states frequency and intensity of migraines cannot be improved. Our clinical experience suggests otherwise. How we define success may differ from patient to patient; whether it is a reduction of migraines from over 10 per month to 1 every 3-4 months, or whether it is being headache free; success is relative to the patient.
Although there are many factor leading to headaches or migraines, and we always need to differentiate each case individually; I can say that treating the patient’s neck has consistently shown the largest impact on these cases.
I can say that treating the patient’s neck has consistently shown the largest impact on treating migraines
We generally use a combination of acupuncture and herbs when treating these conditions. Along with this, we offer dietary advice and corrective exercises when appropriate to help patients overcome headaches or migraines in the most efficient manner possible.