What type of Migraine do I have, and can Chiropractic help?

Of all the conditions we see here at the clinic, Migraines might be the most debilitating. While back and neck pain can be a real drag, and might even make movement a challenge, migraines can and do make life almost unliveable while they’re going on. Did you know, however, that that’s different types of migraine? This week, let’s try to identify some types of migraine, and see how chiropractic may be able to help.


What are migraines?

Migraines are not just headaches; they are complex neurological events that can significantly impact one’s quality of life.  Truthfully, we don’t fully understand what causes migraine (and therefore, how to prevent them) but we do know that various types of migraines affect individuals differently. Therefore, understanding the specific nature of your own migraines is essential for effective management and relief.  Let’s look at the common types:


Classic Migraines (Migraine with Aura)

Classic migraines are a unique subset of migraine characterised by auras that manifest before the onset of the headache. These auras can take the form of visual disturbances, such as flashing lights or blind spots, and may include tingling sensations. If you consistently experience these visual or sensory warning signs before the onset of a headache, you may be dealing with classic migraines.


Common Migraines (Migraine without Aura)

On the other hand, common migraines present without the distinctive aura, showcasing intense throbbing pain, typically on one side of the head. Accompanying symptoms often include nausea, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity. Arguably, these kinds of migraines can be more disruptive since the sufferer has little to no warning of an oncoming migraine.


Chronic Migraines

Chronic migraines can be particularly challenging, as the definition means that they occur on 15 or more days per month for at least three months, with at least eight of those headaches being migraines. Chronic Migraines are rarely all severe (although some usually are) but over time, the experience can be exhausting. If your migraines are a frequent and persistent it’s possible that you meet the criteria for chronic migraine.


Menstrual Migraines

Since we don’t fully understand the cause of migraine, it’s hard to to say what may or may not be a trigger for them – many people are convinced that certain foods, or perhaps stress can bring one on. One of the most plausible links, however, is to the menstrual cycle, with some women experiencing migraines that closely coincide with their cycle. These migraines can occur in the days leading up to, during, or immediately following menstruation


Vestibular Migraines

Vestibular migraines are characterized by dizziness and issues with balance in addition to the typical migraine symptoms. If you often feel off-balance or experience vertigo during your migraines it’s possible that this is you.


How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Since a definitive root cause of migraines has not been established, we can’t say that Chiropractic care can or cannot directly treat migraine – what we can say is that Chiropractic, as a treatment approach, focuses on the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine, and how it impacts the nervous system. Many of the symptoms of migraine, such as vestibular issues, headaches and associated musculoskeletal pain can indeed be improved through chiropractic care. Therefore, while many individuals do find relief from migraines through chiropractic adjustments it’s tricky to say whether chiropractic is treating the real cause or just the symptoms of migraine. There are several key ways that Chiropractic can make a difference:


Improved Spinal Alignment

Chiropractors use spinal adjustments to correct misalignments (subluxations) in the spine. Misalignments can disrupt the normal functioning of the nervous system, potentially contributing to migraine triggers or a build-up of tension and pain which might worsen an episode. By restoring proper alignment, chiropractic care aims to reduce nerve interference and enhance overall neurological function.


Tension and Stress Reduction

According to many sufferers, migraines are often triggered or exacerbated by tension and stress. Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate muscle tension and promote relaxation, addressing at least some of the potential stressors that may contribute to migraine episodes.


Improved Blood Flow

Chiropractic care is known to enhance blood circulation, which is crucial for overall health and well-being. Blood flow issues are one of the major hypotheses proposed for the underlying cause of migraine, so it seems reasonable to suggest that improved blood flow to the brain may help reduce the severity and frequency of migraines.


Lifestyle and Posture Guidance

While it might seem a bit general, Chiropractors are often one of the best sources of guidance on lifestyle factors, including posture, ergonomics, and exercise, which might also influence migraine occurrence. It’s unlikely that poor posture is the root cause of a migraine, but it could, for example, lead to increased tension and stress in the neck and shoulders – this, in turn, may act as a migraine trigger, or could simply worsen a migraine which would have occurred anyway.


Help with Migraines

Understanding the unique type of migraine you experience is the first step towards effective management. Since we don’t know for sure what the underlying cause is we also can’t say what the best way to treat migraine is, however for many people, Chiropractic care can be a good approach, which comes with the added benefit of being a natural, drug-free treatment. If you’re seeking relief from migraines and a way to regain control over your life, consider coming down to the clinic to see how we can help!


Blog by / March 12, 2024 / Blog

Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007