Migraines are one of the most common issues that affect people in the US with nearly 39 million sufferers. That accounts for about 18% of women, 6% of men, and 10% of children. So why are there still so many myths circulating about migraines?
Common doesn’t always mean well-understood in the medical field. With that in mind, we’re going to debunk 9 of the biggest migraine myths and provide you with hope that natural relief might just be within your reach.
If you get migraines, then you’ve heard this one over and over, and it probably just about drives you mad. Here’s is the difference between a headache and a migraine. A headache is one symptom of a migraine (and is only actually present in about 85% of migraines). A migraine is a neurological condition with multiple symptoms. That’s right, migraines are in the same category of disease as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Myth 2 – Migraines Are All Just About Caffeine Consumption
Caffeine is a drug, and if your body becomes dependent, quitting cold turkey can cause headaches, but that doesn’t mean switching to decaf or getting off coffee altogether is the answer to migraines. Occasionally, a cup of coffee can help with a migraine. Why? Because it increases blood flow and migraines are often due to reduced blood flow to certain parts of the brain (more on that later).
Myth 3 – Migraines Are Genetic
About 90% of people who get migraines are related to someone who also gets them. Doesn’t that mean migraines are inherited? Nope. It just means that the genetic predisposition to migraines is passed on from parent to child. That explains why a child of a migraineur has a 50% chance of getting migraines, and if both parents get migraines those odds increase to 75%.
Myth 4 – You Can Just Take Supplements
Many who focus on natural health methods believe supplements are the answer to everything. Sometimes supplements are a great solution. However, you need to be sure that you are consulting with a physician to make sure the supplement you choose won’t interact with medications. You should also be on guard against allergens, the potential for overdose, and side effects. If your body has a deficiency that is causing the migraines, a blood test should show the problem. Then you will know which supplements to take.
Myth 5 – Migraines Are All About Diet
If you have food sensitivities, there may be certain things you have to avoid in order to keep from triggering migraines. But foods are rarely migraine triggers. It is far more common for triggers to include environmental factors, weather, and lifestyle choice. Eating healthy is certainly good for you. Just don’t expect it to cure your migraines.
Myth 6 – Medication Is the Best Migraine Treatment
We’re not knocking medication. There are times you just don’t want to be in pain and need to take something for it. But there is a danger in calling pain medication a migraine treatment. Pain medication doesn’t actually fix the underlying issue. In fact, many medications used for migraine pain can actually cause headaches and perpetuate a cycle of medication overuse. So don’t throw away all of your migraine medication, especially if you have found something that works for you. Just be sure that you are using the medication as directed and are aware of the potential side effects.
Myth 7 – Trauma Doesn’t Cause Migraines
Some of the top causes of migraines are car accidents, sports injuries, assault, and slip and fall accidents. But that doesn’t mean you have to start experiencing migraines from the day of the accident or injury for it to be related. If the initial trauma causes an upper cervical misalignment, it could be weeks, months, or even years before symptoms arise. So don’t write off that old injury as being unrelated to your migraines.
Myth 8 – Your Neck Pain Is Not a Migraine Symptom
Neck pain is one of the most common migraine symptoms. In fact, about 75% of patients have neck pain either prior to or during the headache phase of a migraine. That means that neck pain is almost as common of a migraine symptom as a throbbing headache. So don’t write off the neck pain as being unrelated. In fact, it may be your most important symptom.
Myth 9 – You Can’t Get Natural Relief from Migraines
If you are suffering from migraines, especially if you get neck pain on occasion or you have a history of physical trauma, there may be a very simple and natural solution – upper cervical chiropractic care. If the neck pain is due to an upper cervical misalignment or if a head or neck trauma caused such a misalignment, this can be creating the circumstances under which migraines occur. These circumstances include:
- Inhibited blood flow to the brain
- Reduced brainstem function
- Intracranial pressure due to lack of cerebrospinal fluid drainage
As a result, it just makes sense to have the top two bones in your neck examined by an upper cervical chiropractor. We specialize in the alignment of the C1 and C2. So if you are experiencing migraines, come and see us at Zehr Chiropractic or call us at (231) 780-9900 for more information. Many patients have seen a dramatic reduction in the frequency and severity of migraines after having an upper cervical misalignment corrected. A consultation may even be your first step on the path to becoming migraine-free!
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.