Migraines affect as many as 39 million men, women, and children living in the United States. This number is 1 billion earth wide. Women are 3 times more likely to be plagued by them than men. They are most commonly known for pulsating and throbbing head pain, usually only on one side. Being physically active can worsen the pain. However, they are unique to each person experiencing them. In fact, migraines can be different each time you personally experience one. Anne Calhoun, MD, partner and co-founder of the Carolina Headache Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, states if you have previously had a migraine as one of her patients, then she will consider all of your headaches to be migraines. This is true for most doctors.
So, how can you tell if you are actually having a migraine? Here are some ways to identify them:
- Aura: Some people with migraines begin by having an aura. An aura is a type of warning to let you know a migraine is about to hit. Usually, they are visual in nature. You may see flashes of light, spots, sparkles, or lines. Dr. Calhoun says some people see a jagged line that may include cross hatches and might move in a curvy direction. Some people have auras not accompanied by migraines or any headache.
- Inability to sleep well: Having trouble falling asleep or waking up feeling unrested is typical of people with migraines. A lack of restorative sleep and the severity and frequency of migraines have been linked in numerous studies. This can be a vicious cycle as lack of sleep can also trigger migraines to occur.
- Food cravings: Before a migraine hits, some people have certain food cravings, commonly chocolate.
- Irritability, depression, or excitement: You may all of a sudden feel sad for no reason, according to Dr. Calhoun. However, others may feel elated or happy. According to Dutch researchers, there is possibly a genetic link between migraines and depression, particularly migraines with aura. The 2010 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology suggested that moderate to severe depression increases your risk of an episodic migraine (less than 15 a month) becoming chronic (more than 15 a month).
- Stuffy nose or watery eyes: Sometimes those with migraines have sinus symptoms, as well. Such things as a stuffy nose, clear nasal drainage, tearing of the eyes, or droopy eyelids are not uncommon. A study funded by GlaxoSmithKline, makers of migraine medication, revealed that 90% of people who think they are having sinus headaches are actually experiencing migraines.
- Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head: Pulsating pain is a typical sign of migraines. The National Headache Foundation conducted an online survey of patients with migraines and found that 50% always have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they have this symptom frequently.
- Neck pain: Many complain of a stiff neck that accompanies a headache. This is more than likely the early stage of a migraine. Some have throbbing neck pain after a migraine in the back of their neck. The National Headache Foundation found, in their online survey, that 38% of those with migraines always have neck pain and 31% frequently have it during a migraine episode.
- Eye pain: Migraine pain can burrow behind the eye. This is not due to eyestrain. Getting your eyes checked if they give you trouble can be helpful, but it will not help your migraines.
- Frequent urination: Having to go a lot can indicate that a migraine is coming on. This can begin to happen as little as an hour or as many as two days before the start of the head pain. This is referred to as the prodrome phase of migraines.
- Numbness or tingling: This can be similar to a visual aura but is a sensory aura. You may have a temporary lack of sensation (numbness) or a pins-and-needles feeling usually on one side of the body. It often moves from the fingertips through the arm and across the face.
- Triggers for pain can include light, smells, or loud noise: This is one reason when you suffer from migraines all you want to do is lie down in a quiet, dark, cool room. Often noises and bright light make the pain much worse. Smells can also be bad when you are undergoing a migraine.
- Nausea and vomiting: Approximately, 73% experience nausea and vomiting according to one study. It has been observed that those with nausea and vomiting have more intense pain and often have more trouble finding pain relief than those without.
- Activity makes the pain worse: Even a simple chore such as walking up the stairs can intensify pain in migraine sufferers.
- Speech problems: Problems thinking of words or being able to speak clearly can be an indication a migraine is about to hit.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.
Natural Relief for Migraines
One often overlooked reason for migraines has to do with a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. The bones that are made to protect the brainstem, the C1 and C2 vertebrae, move out of place quite easily due to their mobility. This causes them to put the brainstem under stress rather than protect it. If the brainstem malfunctions, it may send improper signals to the brain. This can trigger a migraine.
Here at Lazar Spinal Care in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we use a gentle yet effective method to help the neck bones realign naturally. We do not have to pop the back and neck or crack the spine to get the desired results. Our patients and those in case studies report similar results. Many see their migraines improve or go away entirely and not return.
To schedule a complimentary consultation call our Ann Arbor office at 734-274-5107 You can also click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.