You notice a stabbing pain behind your eyes, and you don’t know why. You aren’t alone. Health organizations currently recognize 17 different types of headaches. Some can be more debilitating than others. One of the more common and crippling varieties is called a migraine.
Signs & Symptoms
A migraine headache is usually an intense, throbbing pain, located on one, or sometimes, both sides of the head. Most people with migraine headaches feel the pain in the temples or behind one eye or ear (although any part of the head can be involved). Besides pain, migraines can also cause nausea and vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. Some people may even see spots or flashing lights, or have temporary loss of vision.
Migraines can occur at any time of the day, though they most often begin in the morning. The pain can last a few hours but may last up to a day or two. Some people get migraines only once or twice a year, while others, once or twice a week!
Avoiding the Trigger
Here are some tips to help prevent you from being one of the 29.5 million Americans who will suffer a migraine this year:
- Eat at regular intervals. Hunger is a known migraine trigger.
- Avoid known food triggers. Some of the typical food triggers include chocolate, alcohol/wine/beer, dairy, citrus, fried foods, pork, onions, tea/coffee, and seafood. Foods that contain nitrates, MSG, or aspartame (better known as NutraSweet) can also trigger migraines.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a known trigger of headaches. Keep yourself hydrated with 6-8 glasses of water each day. Avoid caffeinated beverages.
- Sleep 6-8 hours per night. Migraines have been linked to lack of sleep, as well as excessive sleep.
- Avoid strong odors. Scents such as deodorizers, perfume, and smoke are all known to create headaches in some individuals.
- Avoid prolonged periods at the computer or near fluorescent lights. Avoid glare. Have your eyes regularly checked by an optometrist to minimize the effects of eye strain. When using a computer monitor, consider antiglare and proper lighting. Newer screens such as Plasma and LCD reduce the flicker.
- Avoid excessive use of over-the-counter medication that has caffeine. Frequent use of these types of medication can increase the likelihood of progressively more frequent “rebound headaches.”
Studies continually cite chiropractic as an excellent treatment for headaches and migraines. A Harvard Medical School published a systematic review in 2019 regarding the research on migraines. They found: ” spinal manipulation reduced migraine days as well as migraine pain/intensity.” They conclude that chiropractic may be a useful therapeutic technique for migraine sufferers.2
Another study followed 104 migraine sufferers. They found that those who had their upper neck adjusted by a chiropractor saw a meaningful decrease in their headache intensity and duration with no significant adverse effects.3
A new study’s findings show that supplementation with vitamin D may be a viable option to help migraine sufferers. This study found that vitamin D dosage of 1,000 – 4,000 IU/day could reduce the frequency of attacks in migraineurs.4
If you’re looking for a solution to your migraines (or any other form of headache), you aren’t alone. Our doctor is trained in recognizing and categorizing the different types of headaches and finding the appropriate treatment for each. If you’d like to talk more about your particular case, please contact our office. (734-427-6333)
- National Headache Foundation – Headache Categories
- Rist PM et al. The impact of spinal manipulation on migraine pain and disability: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Headache. 2019 Apr;59:532-542.
- Chaibi A, Benth JŠ, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine: a three-armed, single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial. Eur J Neurol. 2017 Jan;24(1):143-153.
- Ghorbani Z et al. Neurol Sci. 2019.