• Drew Smy

The Lowdown On Migraines

During my time with Team Peak I have had a lots of conversations with clients who have experienced migraines, which is not surprising since it is estimated that there are 190,000 migraine attacks experienced every day in England and 6 million people suffer from migraine in the UK.

Prevalence has been reported to be 5–25% in women and 2–10% in men. Prevalence of chronic migraine in the UK is not known, although some researchers consider the rate could be 1 in 1000 people!!

A migraine is defined as a recurrent throbbing headache that typically affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by autonomic symptoms which could be nausea, dizziness and light sensitivity. They can often last between 5 and 72 hours.

Although it is not clear on the exact cause of migraines one theory is that they are due to hormonal changes, caused by some of the brain cells being excited and releasing serotonin and oestrogen to narrow the blood vessels in the brain. This creates that throbbing pain. This possibly explains the increase in migraine prevalence in females compared to males.

Although the initial cause is not fully understood we do know that Diet, screen time, stress and poor sleep patterns can all trigger migraines.

A migraine will usually present in four stages with the first being called the prodrome stage where you may experience irritability, euphoria, depression and fatigue upto two days before the pain starts.

The second phase, or aura phase is usually where you get a sensory change so becoming more sensitive to light sound or get some dizziness.

The third phase is the pain phase which is when you will experience the head throbbing and dizziness and nausea, which can last between 5 and 72 hours. The Postdrome phase is the final phase which is where you may experience low mood, lack of concentration and fatigue.

With regular care a clinician will be able to spot some of these warning signs meaning that you are prepared for a migraine attack helping reduce the effect it has on your life.

Furthermore with regular care, common triggers may be noticed helping to prevent them from happening as frequently. Also, studies have that manual therapy such as Chiropractic and Massage can provide prevention to the occurrence frequency of migraines.!

Coupled with regular Chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue work, here are some good habits that could help prevent migraines or headaches

  • Having a blue light filter on your screen

  • Set a bed time on your phone so that you can get a good night sleep

  • Try some meditation or mindfulness to help reduce stress

  • Reduce your caffeine intake

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