If you’re a sufferer of chronic headaches or migraines, you don’t need convincing that they’re one of the most painful, debilitating conditions you could possibly suffer. Millions upon millions of dollars a year are spent on trying to find relief from this crippling illness. But what causes migraines? Basically it’s a decrease in oxygen to the brain because something triggers the blood vessels to contract. If the brain receives less oxygen per milliliter of blood, it will simply increase the amount of blood flow to increase the overall amount of oxygen received. In order to increase the amount of blood flow it must dilate the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. When these vessels dilate, it stretches pain fibres that wrap around the outside of these vessels. When these pain fibres are stretched they are activated and start sending pain signals into the brain, resulting in your perception of pain. If the trigger to contract these blood vessels remains, the typical pounding nature of the migrainous headache can result.
Headaches and migraines may also be caused by a misalignment or dysfunction of a vertebra in the top of the neck. This then causes inflammation and tension of the joints, muscles and blood vessels at the base of the neck, which then transfers pain up into the skull. A “normal” headache can in fact be the trigger for many people to experience a migraine.
So what can chiropractic do to help? By performing gentle but specific adjustments to the neck and upper back we restore the normal alignment and function of the vertebrae in the neck, which removes the tension that causes headache and migraine symptoms. As well as removing the tension, the inflammation around the joints, muscles and blood vessels is decreased and the pain fibres begin to be deactivated.
177 volunteers who had been suffering neck pain and migraines for over 18 years entered a study. All of those who received chiropractic care were able to reduce their medication intake, with a significant number reducing their intake to zero. Additionally, 59% reported no neck pain after 2 months, and another 35% had a significant decrease in neck pain.
This is not the only study to show these results; there have been dozens more which all show similar outcomes.
There are other factors that contribute to headaches, but these figures, and chiropractors’ everyday experiences show that neck problems are a huge contributor.
Do you suffer from headaches or migraines? The answer may be simple. Come in and see what we can do.
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