Migraine Stages and a Surprising Natural Solution

migraine-stages-and-a-surprising-natural-solutionMore and more patients seek the help of an upper cervical chiropractor in Clear Lake, WI due to migraines. A migraine is a disorder known to cause recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe. Most of the time, although not always, the headache affects one side of the head.

Migraines are pulsating in nature, and last from a few hours to 3 days. Some of the accompanying symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell.

Migraines are one of the most common neurological conditions, affecting more than 39 million people throughout the United States, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

Almost 5 million people have at least one migraine attack per month, and another four million have chronic migraines, meaning they have at least 15 migraine days per month.  The circumstance is skewed heavily toward women – 28 million are impacted and 85% of these ladies are chronic sufferers.

How a Migraine Attack Occurs
There is no predictable script that a migraine episode follows. However, there are four separate phases that a migraine sufferer is likely to experience. Learning to recognize the stages of a migraine episode can be beneficial for migraine sufferers, helping them to prevent an attack from worsening or prepare for an oncoming attach.

There are four distinct migraine stages:

Migraine Phase 1: Premonitory Phase
Beginning hours or even days before the onset of traditional migraine headache symptoms, the first phase is the premonitory phase, also known as the prodromal phase. It serves as a warning sign that a migraine is coming. Likely prodromal symptoms include the following:

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

Migraine Phase 2: Aura Phase
According to the American Migraine Foundation, about one-third of migraine patients will experience the aura phase during a migraine attack. The visual changes associated with the aura phase are very commonly associated with migraines. But there are other symptoms related to this second phase of migraines:

Migraine Phase 3: Headache Phase
The headache phase can be the most debilitating stage of all the migraine phases. The headache section of a migraine can be characterized by the following:

Migraine Phase 4: Postdrome/Recovery Phase
The last section of a migraine attack is the postdromal phase. Some people call it the “migraine hangover” because it can leave the person feeling awful for up to a couple of days after the headache disappears. Postdrome signs and symptoms can resemble those of the first phase, and they can also include the following:

A Surprising Natural Solution for Migraines
Certainly, migraines and your neck are related, especially given the fact that neck pain is such a frequent symptom among migraine sufferers. Migraines can frequently start following a head or neck injury. Sometimes they may not show up for months or even years after the incident. 

Atlas Misalignment Results in Migraines

A head or neck injury can misalign the uppermost vertebra in the neck. Misalignment of the atlas (C1) vertebra can result in quite a few difficulties that can lead to migraines. This is because the atlas plays an important role.

Some of these factors can lead to migraines and may bring on other chronic conditions as well. If someone is dealing with migraines, whether infrequent or persistent, having your atlas alignment checked by an upper cervical chiropractor is key to achieving a lasting solution.

Get the Help of Northern Roots Family Spinal Care 

Northern Roots Family Spinal Care in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, focuses on restoring atlas alignment, and by doing so, correcting the root cause of migraines and different headache-related conditions. If an atlas misalignment is found, I can apply specific upper cervical chiropractic adjustments to gently resolve the problem. 

The most important aspect to remember when it comes to migraine stages and natural solutions is to get to the root cause of the problem. If upper neck issues are causing your migraines, then correcting that upper neck misalignment will make all the difference to your health and life.

Call my office at 715-303-7121 or fill out this online form to start your adjustments with a reliable upper cervical chiropractor in Clear Lake, WI.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. O’keefe, call our Clear Lake office at 715-303-7121. You can also click the button below.
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4 Distinct Migraine Phases – 1 Natural Solution for Relief

Migraines are one of the most prevalent neurological disorder with more than 37 million people across the United States affected.  Almost 5 million have at least one migraine attack per month while another 4 million suffer chronically, meaning they have at least 15 migraine days per month.  The condition is skewed heavily towards women – 28 million are impacted and 85% of those women are chronic sufferers.

Despite how migraines are publicized, they are not simply just a bad headache.  Believe it or not, some people can even experience a migraine episode without the associated headache pain.  A migraine is actually a combination of neurologically-based symptoms that can have up to four distinct phases, each having its own set of possible symptoms.  Not all migraine sufferers will experience each of these phases, and one attack can vary from the next.

How a Migraine Attack Unfolds

There is no predictable script that a migraine episode follows, but there are four separate stages or phases that a migraine sufferer might experience.  Learning to recognize the different phases of a migraine episode can be a useful tool for migraine sufferers, helping them to obtain an accurate diagnosis or even prevent an attack from worsening.

Migraine Phase 1: Prodrome/Premonitory Phase

Beginning hours or even days before there other phases, the prodrome phase is the first potential one of a migraine episode.  It serves as a warning signal that a migraine attack is coming. It is estimated that between 30% and 40% of migraine sufferers will experience the prodrome phase.  Likely prodrome symptoms include:

Migraine Phase 2: Aura Phase

The aura phase, though experienced by only about a quarter of migraine sufferers, may be the most often talked about phases of a migraine attack.  The best known and most easily recognized symptoms of the aura phase are the visual changes that can occur. There are other possible symptoms of migraine aura as well:

Migraine Phase 3: Headache Phase

When it comes to a migraine attack, the headache phase can be the most debilitating of them all.  During the headache phase, symptoms are not limited exclusively to the head, other areas of the body can also be affected.  The headache phase of a migraine can be characterized by:

Migraine Phase 4: Postdrome/Recovery Phase

The final phase of a migraine attack is the postdrome phase, where a person finally begins to recover.  This phase is sometimes called the “migraine hang-over” because it can leave them feeling lousy for up to a couple of days after the headache disappears.  Postdrome symptoms can resemble those of the first phase, and they may include:

A Natural Solution to Migraines that Works

There is no doubt that migraines and your neck are related, especially given the fact that neck pain is such a common symptom among migraine sufferers.  Migraines can often begin following a head or neck injury. Sometimes they may not appear for months or even years after the incident (which could have seemed minor), making it easy to think that the two may not be connected.  A head or neck injury, or even wear and tear that occurs gradually over time, can cause the uppermost vertebra in the neck to misalign. A misalignment of the atlas (C1) vertebra can cause several difficulties that can influence the onset of migraines:

Any one of these factors can contribute to the development of migraines that have the potential to become a chronic condition.  If you are already dealing with migraines, whether infrequent or chronic, having your atlas alignment checked by an upper cervical chiropractor (especially with a history of head or neck injury) is key to achieving a lasting solution.  At Northern Roots Family Spinal Care, we focus on restoring normal atlas alignment and by doing so, correcting the root cause of migraines and other headache-related conditions. If we find that an atlas misalignment is a contributing factor in your case, then all it takes are gentle, specifically delivered upper cervical chiropractic adjustments to address the problem.  This allows your body to begin its normal, natural healing process so that you can realize both short- and long-term benefits and improvements to the quality of your daily life.





How Migraines Are Linked to Inflammation

Migraines can be extremely debilitating and are very common in today’s stress-filled world. As many as 39 million in the US have migraines. Worldwide, this number reaches 1 billion. Migraines are known for the following symptoms:

Recent research has revealed that inflammation may be the source of migraines, and therefore, reducing inflammation in the body can reduce migraines. Let’s take a closer look at what inflammation is and how it causes migraines.

Understanding Inflammation

Inflammation is the process the body uses to protect itself from foreign substances. It involves the white blood cells and protects us from viruses and bacteria. The inflammatory response works to destroy, wall off, or dilute the danger to the body. However, sometimes the body’s immune system triggers an inflammatory response when it is not needed. If no foreign invaders are present and inflammation is triggered, other health problems can occur, such as arthritis. Without anything to fight off, the body begins attacking and damaging its own tissues.

Inflammation generally includes the following symptoms:

However, with migraines, these particular symptoms are not present. So, let’s see how inflammation brings about migraines.

Since pain and inflammation usually are connected, migraines have not previously been considered an inflammatory disease. It has previously been thought migraine pain had to do with the abnormal dilation of the intracranial blood vessels. However, this vascular theory has never been proven. So, where does inflammation come in?

The only headache type which seems to be linked to inflammation is migraines. A physiologist, Hans Selye, was the one who began the thought process about stress and inflammation. He describes how stress is triggered whenever anything changes in your body. This can include hormone secretion (cortisol, adrenalin, etc.). Your body recognizes stress only, not the specific type you have. For example, being in a car accident or having the flu are both read as the same stressors in the body. It will affect you the same way. In other words, to your body, stress is stress.

Stress hormones are secreted under the direction of the brain. The brain senses changes in the body and tells the glands to do their job. This reaction to stress is often referred to as the “fight or flight” response.

Cortisol is a steroid and is used by the body to control excess inflammation so that we don’t have too much or too little. If the stress you are enduring goes on for a long time period, cortisol begins to run out. Your adrenal glands get tired, just like other parts of the body. If cortisol runs out entirely, your body will begin to excrete adrenalin for a short time. This raises your heart rate, blood sugar, and makes your body feel as if it is in a race for its life.

Interestingly, chronic (long-term) steroid excretion by the body causes the same effects as aging:

Some researchers theorize that aging is actually a form of stress.

Migraines and Inflammation

The trigeminal nerve is a large nerve that supplies nerve sensations to the head and the face, areas particularly associated with migraines. It also regulates the blood vessels that supply the coverings around the brain. When this nerve was tested by placing an electrode on it and stressing it, it led the blood vessels in the brain to dilate. In turn, this causes white blood cells to leak into the surrounding area. This is the inflammation that we are talking about. If you contract poison ivy, the inflammatory response works to dilate blood vessels where the irritation is located. When the vessels dilate, the white cells are leaked into the affected tissue and they begin to fight the toxin or the infection. So, just as the body responds to poison ivy by flooding the area with white cells to fight the stress, it also reacts the same way to problems within the area of the brain, flooding it with white cells and trying to fight the problem. However, the end result here is migraines. So, what is causing the trigeminal nerve to become stressed?

How Migraines Can Be Alleviated

Now that we understand the connection between migraines and inflammation, we need to discover what is causing the inflammation. It has repeatedly been seen that migraines are connected to a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. The C1 and C2 vertebrae are designed to protect the brainstem and the nerves that run through this area of the spinal cord to the brain. However, if they become misaligned due to a mild blow to the head or neck, they can actually begin to put stress or pressure on the brainstem, affecting such things as the trigeminal nerve. If the misalignment is not cared for in a timely manner, the trigeminal nerve can continue to be under stress, leading to migraines, as mentioned above.

Here at Northern Roots Family Spinal Care, Clear Lake, we understand the importance of having your upper cervical spine in top condition. We use a gentle method that helps the bones to move back into their original position once again without the use of popping the neck or cracking the spine. Rather, our technique