Headaches and Migraines
We have all at one time experienced a headache. That familiar tightness in your temples, the throbbing pressure behind your eyes, or those tight muscles behind your head and upper neck. These type of headaches are primarily caused by tension and most often result in slight to moderate amounts of pain coupled with muscle tightness.
Migraine headaches however, are a combination of both a nerve and vascular dysfunction. The pain tends to be severe and debilitating.
During and preceding the onset of the symptoms of a migraine headache, blood vessels swell. They overfill with blood which in turn causes the surrounding nerves to become stretched. This nerve stretching causes the nerves to become irritated and that causes the nerves to release chemicals that cause an inflammatory response. This leads to the extreme pain experienced..
What is a Migraine?
A migraine consists of pain on one side of your head or face. A migraine generally lasts anywhere from 4 hours to as long as 4 days. Oftentimes, migraines are preceded by warning signs.
These may include:
- sensitivity to light
- stiff neck muscles·
- altered visual perception called “auras”
- feeling tired or depressed
- numbing or tingling of the face
- altered senses of taste, touch, or smell
- food cravings
- feeling euphoric
Once a migraine has begun, symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Clammy hands and feet
- After a migraine is over, individuals have reported feeling either drained or euphoric.
What Triggers a Migraine?
Many outside forces can trigger a migraine. While they vary among people, here is a list of the most commonly reported triggers:
- Caffeine withdrawal or too much caffeine
- Some foods – dairy, wheat, chocolate, eggs, rye, tomatoes, and oranges
- Use of aspartame and sucralose (artificial sweeteners found in things like diet drinks or sugarless gum)
- Emotional stress
- Lack of sleep
- Use of MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- Menstruation or menopause
- Use of nitrates (a preservative found in some meats)
- Physical stress
- Overuse of pain medication
- Skipping meals
- Environmental factors such as weather or altitude
- Pulsating lights or loud noises
- Red wine or other alcohol
- Tyramine (found in chocolate, some cheeses, fava beans, sausage, smoked fish, soy, and yogurt
Anti-Migraine Medications Can Also Trigger Migraines
Many headache medications, including those specifically designed for migraines, contain caffeine. Herein lies the paradox: caffeine can both cause and relieve headache pain. If you take the addictive quality of caffeine into consideration however, maybe it isn’t a mystery after all. If caffeine withdrawal is the root cause of a migraine, then providing the body with the substance it craves will stop the withdrawal.
Caffeine and Migraines: What’s the Connection?
So why not just continue to dose yourself with caffeine? It’s a two part problem; first, it’s very difficult to get the dose just right.
Additionally, caffeine seems to sensitize the brain to the effects of adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that dilates the blood vessels of the neck and head. The higher the caffeine intake, the higher the likelihood of increased severity and frequency of your headaches. Those who suffer from migraines would be best served by gradually decreasing their caffeine intake, (by 10% each day), and see whether being caffeine-free helps to end the debilitating headaches.
Dr. Ptak Offers a Drug-Free Migraine Pain Relief Program
Research shows that the artery involved in migraine headaches is the basilar artery. Research also shows that the neurological innervation responsible for the tonality (muscle tone), of the arterial wall resides in the upper cervical spine.
Decompressive, elongation maneuvers specifically designed to release midbrain and upper cervical neurological tension have been shown to be most successful in alleviating migraine pain.
These decompressive maneuvers, (versus the compressive maneuvers that result in the “cracking sound”), are what Dr. Ptak has been using to help thousands of migraine sufferers for nearly 3 decades.
The migraine care protocol in Dr. Ptak’s office has been documented to not only help you reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, but to be a permanent solution to this debilitating problem.
Dr. Jeffrey Ptak – A Los Angeles Chiropractor with Experience Solving Migraines
Dr. Jeffrey Ptak, DC, MA of Ptak Chiropractic has been offering chiropractic relief from migraines for nearly 3 decades. If you suffer from these debilitating headaches, call Dr. Jeff at (310) 473-7991. Together, we can solve your migraine woes.