Migraines

image_migraineMigraine headaches seem to be caused in part by changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin. Serotonin plays many roles in the body, and it can have an effect on the blood vessels. When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels constrict (shrink). When serotonin levels fall, the blood vessels dilate (swell). This swelling can cause pain or other problems.

Many things can affect the level of serotonin in your body, including your level of blood sugar, certain foods and changes in your estrogen level if you're a woman.

What does a migraine feel like?

The pain of a migraine headache can be intense. It can get in the way of your daily activities. Migraines aren't the same in all people. Possible symptoms of migraines are listed in the box below.

You may also have a "premonition" several hours to a day before your headache starts. Premonitions are feelings you get that can signal a migraine is coming. These feelings can include intense energy, fatigue, food cravings and mood changes.


Possible symptoms of migraines

  • Intense throbbing or dull aching pain on one side of your head or both sides.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in how you see, including blurred vision or blind spots
  • Being bothered by light, noise or odors
  • Feeling tired and/or confused
  • Stopped-up nose
  • Feeling cold or sweaty
  • Stiff or tender neck
  • Light-headedness
  • Tender scalp

In our experience subluxations (misaligment or lack of proper motion) of the upper spinal bones, especially C1 the Atlas is a signifcant factor in the cause of migraine headaches. Also a subluxation of the occiput/skull and C1 vertebra which we tell patients is like having our head screwed on too tight affects the occipital nerves that go to the head and also constricts the blood flow in the vertebral arteries that supply the brain. By making spinal adjustments to the upper neck we have relieved many migraine headaches.

Another successful treatment for migraines is acupuncture which we perform here at HealthQuest. The needles placed in stategic acupuncture points has been found to activate the 10th cranial nerve called the Vagus which balances the parasympathetic division of our autonomic nerve system and creates the relaxation response.

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