For me prevention is always better than cure. Here I will cover some things that my patients have found effective in preventing their migraines, therefore reducing the frequency and severity of these attacks.
What is a migraine?
Migraines have been identified as a neurological condition, as they effect the bodies brain chemistry. They are also a lot more common than we originally thought. There are many different sub varieties of migraine and many have still not been classified. They are typically described as recurrent headaches lasting 4-72 hours, and are often accompanied by nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, or an aura with hand or arm numbness or visual changes.
Predisposition to migraine
There are a few factors that have been associated with the presence of migraines, and therefore sometimes management of these can help to prevent them. These include: stress; depression or anxiety; menstrual period; menopause; head or neck trauma. As a chiropractor, I have seen many people presenting to me with migraines and it is very common for them to have one or more of these factors so key to my care, is giving advice about managing these issues.
Migraines are often set off by certain things and these can be common amongst many different people. Common triggers are: altered sleep patterns; stress; foods such as chocolate, cheese, caffeine and alcohol; strong smells; bright lights; dehydration; and strenuous exercise. The best way to identify your triggers is to keep a migraine diary recording what time of day, how severe out of ten, how long it lasted, and if you had any associated effects such as sensitivity to light/sound, nausea etc. This can sometimes help to identify possible triggers. It is important not to just try and focus in triggers though as they can be hard to identify.
Active migraine prevention
As well as being aware of your possible triggers there are a few active things that you can do that have been shown to help prevent migraines in many people.
Chiropractic treatment has been recommended for prevention of migraine and I have seen the effectiveness of this in my own patients, even in the instance of those that are only present during the menstrual period. This is believed to be due to addressing underlying issues around the head and neck potentially linked to previous trauma causing an underlying dysfunction.
Acupuncture has also been recommended for prevention of migraines, and a piercing in the ear, based on acupuncture points, has been effective in some people, and again some of my own patients have found this useful. This piercing is through the Daith in the ear (shown in the photo).
Adopting good posture can also take unnecessary pressure off the muscles around the head, neck and shoulders; and sunglasses help to prevent squinting and aggravating tension in the facial muscles.
For more different types of headaches go to this site: http://www.headaches.org/2008/12/11/the-complete-headache-chart/
Yours in health,
James Revell, your Eastbourne chiropractor
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By James Revell
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