Migraines 101: Everything You Need to Know About Migraines

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It’s difficult to describe the debilitating pain caused by migraines without experiencing it firsthand. Nearly everyone has had a headache at some point in their life. About 15% of the general population, however, regularly suffers from severe, recurrent headaches. Known as migraines, they typically begin during adolescence and become progressively worse over time. According to the Migraine Research Foundation (MRF), chronic migraines are the sixth-most debilitating medical condition in the world. If you suffer from migraines, you should read the following post to learn more about this potentially debilitating condition and how to manage it.


The 4 Stages of a Migraine

A typical migraine consists of four stages: the prodrome, aura, pain and postdrome stage. The prodrome stage actually occurs before the headache, usually manifesting in the form of altered or depressed mood about one to two days beforehand. Following the prodrome stage is the aura stage, which occurs immediately before the headache. During the prodrome stage, an individual may experience increased sensitivity to light and sound as well as other forms sensory sensitivity. Then there’s the pain stage, which as the name suggests, is characterized by pain sensations in the head and neck. The final stage of a migraine is the postdrome stage, which involves impaired thinking, weakness and mental fatigue following the headache. The postdrome stage can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.


Magnesium and Migraines

Magnesium intake can affect your risk of developing migraines. Our bodies use this essential mineral for a number of things, some of which include regulating muscle function, regulating blood pressure levels and building new bone tissue. But many people fall short of consuming 420 mg of magnesium as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that three in four adults fall within this category, meaning they are magnesium deficient.

And new evidence has emerged linking magnesium deficiency to migraines. According to a study of 40 migraine sufferers cited by Migraine.com, 20 participants had low levels of magnesium in their body. When given magnesium via an intravenous (IV) drip, about half of these participants reported lower levels of pain. So, if you suffer from migraines, make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet.


Stress and Migraines

Stress is a contributing factor to migraines for millions of people. According to Healthline, nearly 80% of people who suffer from migraines report psychological stress as a trigger. When you feel stressed, your body will experience a myriad of changes due to increased levels of cortisol. Dubbed the “stress hormone,” cortisol causes your heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to rise. Unfortunately, these effects can indirectly lead to a migraine. To manage migraines, you must also manage your stress. Mindful meditation, deep breathing and yoga are all time-tested ways to relax and lower stress levels. By incorporating them into your daily life, you’ll have a lower risk of developing migraines.



Genetics and Migraines

If someone in your immediate family suffers from chronic migraines, you’ll have a greater risk of developing them as well. A study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain found a 34% to 51% genetic link to migraines. Researchers say this link is stronger when the migraines involve an aura. In other words, people who experience the aura stage during a migraine are more likely to pass this condition down to their children than people who don’t experience the aura stage. Regardless, though, genetics is believed to play a role in migraines.


Sleep and Migraines

A throbbing migraine can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. Conversely, it can cause a migraine as well. About one in three adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A single night of poor sleep probably won’t cause any serious or immediate effects to your health. But if you continue to fall short of the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep at night, you may experience migraines. It’s unclear how lack of sleep contributes to migraines, though it could be related to the way in which sleep resets our body’s central nervous system. When you fall asleep, your central nervous system has an opportunity to rest and recover so that it can function properly.


Consider Chiropractic Treatment for Migraines

Chiropractic treatment may reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. According to Migraine Centers, headaches, including migraines, are the third-most common reason for seeking chiropractic services. If your migraines are caused by a misaligned spine, a professional chiropractor may be able to help. A traditional spinal adjustment will realign your spine back to where it’s supposed to be. Chiropractors can also offer dieting, exercise and lifestyle advice to further assist in your battle against migraines.


If you suffer from debilitating migraines, contact us today. Atlanta Chrio and Wellness offers a wide variety of chiropractic and integrative medicine services.

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