While it’s fair to assume that most people have experienced at least one headache by the time they reach adulthood, many people are affected by frequent headaches. Roughly 12% of American adults deal with chronic migraines, or severe, recurring headaches that are defined by the throbbing pain they cause on one side of your head. At Latronica Chiropractic in Furlong, Pennsylvania, Dr. Albert Latronica is committed to providing complete, natural headache and migraine relief to patients from communities throughout Bucks County.

Migraine Q & A

by Albert Latronica, DC

What are primary headaches?

Unlike secondary headaches, which are caused by a condition or illness, primary headaches are not a sign of an underlying health problem. Instead, they’re caused by excess activity or problems with the pain-sensitive structures in your head, including the nerves or blood vessels around your skull, the chemical activity in your brain, and the muscles in your head. The three basic types of primary headaches are:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Tension headaches

While primary headaches can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, migraines usually last for a few hours to several days.

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

In addition to causing a severe pulsing sensation on one side of your head, a migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Although most migraines progress through 4 stages, you may not experience each stage every time you have one.

Prodrome stage
This occurs a day or so before a migraine strikes. It’s characterized by subtle bodily changes that may signal an impending attack, such as constipation, mood changes, food cravings, or neck stiffness.

Aura stage
This stage may occur before or during a migraine. It often includes visual disturbances, such as seeing bright spots or flashes of light, a temporary loss of vision, pins and needles sensation in an arm or leg, or facial weakness.

Attack stage
This is the migraine itself. It can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, causing pain on one side (or sometimes both sides) of your head, blurred vision, lightheadedness, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea or vomiting.

Post-drome stage
In the final stage of a migraine, you may experience weakness, moodiness, dizziness, confusion, and sensitivity to light and sound.

What can trigger a migraine?

Although it’s not perfectly understood exactly what causes the pain-sensitive structures in your head to react, migraines can be triggered by:

  • Stress and fatigue
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Environmental or seasonal changes
  • Hormonal changes: For women
  • Sensory stimuli: Lights, sounds and smells
  • Alcohol: Especially red wine
  • Certain foods and additives: Including aged cheeses and MSG

How can chiropractic care help?

Chronic migraines can often be traced to a spinal misalignment in your neck. A misaligned cervical spine can cause you to hold your head in an unnatural position, straining the muscles and nerves connected to the pain-sensitive structures in your head.

Chiropractic care can be very effective for treating migraines, particularly if your headaches can be traced to a spinal misalignment in your neck. Dr. Latronica takes a comprehensive treatment approach to migraine pain to provide immediate and long-lasting relief. Depending on your specific needs, your treatment plan may include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments: Realign your spine
  • Corrective exercises: For better posture
  • Massage therapy: Alleviate stress and tension
  • Traction therapy: Decompress your spine

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