Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Care located in Bowie, Laurel, & Silver Spring, MD
Migraine Q & A
What are the signs of a migraine?
Migraines are a neurological condition that causes severe headaches. In some cases, severe headaches can be confused with migraines due to the intensity of the headaches. Migraines have unique symptoms to differentiate them from other types of headaches. These symptoms include:
- Severe throbbing pain
- Pain often on just one side of your head
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
- Tingling or pain in your face or jaw
- Numbness and tingling in your hands
- Pain that lasts from four hours to three days
In some cases, you may experience an aura before a migraine strikes. An aura may consist of light and sound sensitivity, and it signals that a migraine is coming. When a migraine does occur, it’s common to lie down in a dark room and try to rest or sleep.
What causes migraines?
Unfortunately, the exact cause of migraines is unknown, though individual factors play a role — including overall health, hormones, lifestyle, nutrition, and family history. Common migraine triggers include:
- Certain foods, including caffeine, alcohol, dairy, and MSG
- Lack of sleep or an irregular sleep schedule
- Hormonal fluctuations, especially during the menstrual cycle
- Changes in weather, especially increases in barometric pressure
- Medical factors, including sleep apnea and teeth grinding or jaw clenching
It is believed that migraines are the result of abnormal pain signals in the brain stem. Decreasing these triggers by following a healthy diet, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and exercising can help reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.
How are migraines diagnosed?
Migraines are diagnosed based on the history of your condition, the severity of your pain, and symptoms associated with your headaches. The team collects your medical history to determine any factors that may influence your headaches — including certain medications and health conditions — and identify potential triggers.
The team then performs a comprehensive physical and neurological exam to rule out other causes of headaches, including neck tension, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, and infections. You’ll have your blood pressure taken and your neck assessed for tenderness and swelling.
Other tests include stretches and range-of-motion measurements of your neck, pressure on your neck and the base of your skull, and tests to check the nerve sensations in your arms and hands. After your exam, the team explains your diagnosis and provides treatment options.
How are migraines treated?
Although migraines can’t be cured, their severity and frequency can be reduced with chiropractic care. At AllCare Chiropractic, the team offers chiropractic adjustments, physiotherapy, and rehab to address underlying neck pain, stiffness, and discomfort. The team can also help you identify triggers and develop lifestyle habits to reduce the frequency of your migraines.
If appropriate, the team can refer you to a neurologist for pharmacologic management.
Get relief from your migraines by scheduling a visit online or by phone at AllCare Chiropractic.