The term migraine is commonly used to describe any severe, debilitating headache. The word migraine comes from the Greek, meaning "half of the head", a reflection of the fact that classical migraines often affect only one side of the head at a time.
Classical migraine usually is preceded by a prodrome, or set of warning symptoms, often consisting of visual disturbances or other sensory problems. Both classical and common migraine may be accompanied by nausea and are both considered to begin with constriction, followed by rapid relaxation, of the blood vessels of the head. The rate of blood flow through these arteries is regulated by the autonomic nervous system.
Several studies have shown chiropractic treatment to be very effective in the treatment of migraine headache, both classical and common. As early as 1928, a prospective study of patients with migraine who had attended a chiropractor for other complaints showed that over 72 percent also had relief from their migraine headaches. Subsequent studies have shown that relief in most cases continued almost two years later.
The most common area of the spine involved in contributing to migraine headaches is the neck. This is through traction on membranes surrounding the brain, reflex effects on the trigeminal nerve, or due to pressure exerted by tight muscles on the greater occipital nerve at the base of the skull. In some cases even low back dysfunction at the sacroiliac joints can be the primary problem, leading to neck imbalances, and thus to headaches.
Often hormonal imbalances or food allergies can cause migraine headaches. However, if the spinal joints are functioning properly, these other factors may not be strong enough to trigger an episode of headache.
If you or someone you know suffers from severe headaches of any kind, consult Dr. Mattern to find out if there is a correctable cause in the form of spinal dysfunction. This can be determined whether or not a headache is present at the time. Chiropractic adjustments will usually decrease the frequency and severity of headaches, and often will eliminate them altogether!