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Migraine Headaches

 

migraine

Those who suffer from migraine will know too well that it is much more than just a headache. It can strike anywhere and any time, often without warning.

Migraine affects about 15 in every 100 people in the UK and is most common in adults aged between 20 and 50. Women are twice as likely to suffer from the condition as men.

Migraine is a complex entity, usually characterized by unilateral head pain of a pulsating or throbbing quality. Clinically, migraine is subdivided into five phases: prodrome, aura, headache phase, headache resolution and postdrome. The prodrome is experienced by about 60% of migraine sufferers and is characterized by mood changes, food cravings, increased or decreased appetite, nausea, numbness and tingling, an inability or difficulty to speak and clumsiness/weakness of one side of the body. This is followed by an aura phase, experienced by about 20% of migraine sufferers, typically characterized by bright dots of lights in the visual field and saw tooth crescents of light. Following the aura phase, the headache begins, lasting anywhere between 4-72 hours. The headache is then followed by the postdromal phase, which is characterized by fatigue, irritability, mood changes and food intolerance.

Dysfunction of the cervical spine can be related to pain in the head /migraine, via the trigeminocervical complex (figure 1). In simplified terms this involves convergence of the greater occipital nerve (second cervical nerve, C2), with the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve, V1) as it conveys pain sensation from the periphery towards the brain. This convergence can result in the brain interpreting pain as if it were originating in the head, when actually it may be originating in the joints of the cervical spine, thus resulting in a headache.

Figure 1

Chiropractic care may reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches, particularly in those patients with a cervicogenic/neck component to their migraine. Furthermore, the amount of medication required by migraine sufferers is often reduced during and following care. Some patients even report their migraines stop altogether! This can have a profound effect on people’s lives. Frequent migraines can be debilitating and can render a person unable to work, unwilling to socialise or even to get out of bed.

Find studies on migraine headaches and chiropractic here

Many patients find relief of migraines through chiropractic care. Please don’t suffer! If you would like to arrange a consultation, please call one of our clinics to make an appointment.

Is Exercise Causing Pain? Is Pain Putting You Off Exercising?

 

New consumer research from the BCA has found that two fifths (41%) of people have been prevented from exercising due to back or neck pain.

Furthermore, a quarter (25%) of respondents reported their back or neck pain has deterred them from physical activity for up to a month, with a further 9% stating their back or neck pain has led to them avoiding exercise for over half a year. An unfortunate 34% felt it was exercise itself which triggered their pain.

To help people of all ages and fitness levels back pain-proof their work-out routines the BCA has developed these top tips:

• Know your equipment at the gym: When trying a new activity, it’s always best to make sure you ask your instructor how your equipment should be set up, and make sure it’s right for you. For example, if you’re cycling or spinning, you need to set your saddle and handlebar to the correct height so that you are in a comfortable position that isn’t putting tension on your neck or back

• Know your limits: Even professional athletes aren’t born ready, it takes time to build the intensity of your practice. If you try a new sport, or want to intensify your workout, it’s important to take a slow approach and not to push your body’s limits. It is always advisable to visit a professional who can assess your body’s capabilities and advise on a safe way of training based on your body’s limitations

• Warm up and cool down: Before starting any form of physical activity, you should warm up any muscle groups which might be affected whilst you exercise. If you use them without preparing them first, your muscles could get a shock, causing you pain which could have been prevented

• Reduce the impact: If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body keeping your muscles mobile!

• Not all exercise is the same: The fittest of athletes will still find it difficult to adapt to a new sport, as each sport uses some muscle groups more than others. With this in mind, always approach a new activity with care and don’t assume that you can jump in at the deep end!

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days then you seek professional help, as an undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term problems if left untreated.

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