What are Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches account for around 20% of all headaches.
The cause of migraines is somewhat unclear. However, it is believed that they can be attributed to the changes in the blood vessels, nerves, and chemical imbalances in the brain.
Migraine headaches are often chronic. It is believed that more women suffer from migraines than men.
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
- Pain that is pulsating and throbbing in quality, usually felt on one side of the head
- Pain often begins in the morning and worsens gradually and may be dull to severe
- Pain may last from a few hours to up to two days, if severe
- Sensitivity to light and loud noises
The symptoms may also be accompanied by the following:
- Visual disturbances such as blurred vision or a temporary blind spot
- Sensation similar to vertigo
There are some patients who experience some prodromal symptoms. This means they experience other symptoms before the headache itself occurs. These include irritability, depression, food cravings, neck stiffness, repeated yawning, and temperature changes in certain body parts. Some also experience difficulty concentrating.
Risk Factors of Migraine Headaches
Anxiety, stress, and certain smells or odours may trigger a migraine. Other risk factors include:
- Family history
- Not getting enough sleep
- Alcohol and/or tobacco use
- Hormonal changes or use of birth control pills for women
Migraine headaches may also be triggered certain foods such as:
- Food that contain preservatives and artificial flavours
- Fermented, processed, pickled, or marinated foods
- Foods that contain amino acid tyramine (smoked fish, red wine, certain beans, aged cheese, etc.)
There is good evidence that chiropractic manipulation can help migraine headaches. There have been no randomised controlled trials to ascertain whether craniosacral therapy can help with headaches, but there is a lot anectdotal evidance that it can.