Migraines are the world leading cause of disability out of all neurological disorders. They are the seventh leading cause of disability of ALL diseases! The average migraineur spends 5.3% of their life in a migraine episode. That is 3.18 seconds out of every minute of your life spent with a migraine. If someone was yelling at you and calling you names for that long every minute of your life you’d likely want that person to take a long walk off of a short pier. That being said migraines are a terrible disease and unfortunately there is strong evidence showing that there are genetic factors that contribute to having them but you can do a great many things to lessen and prevent them far short of inventing a time machine and going back in time to change your parents.
The very fortunate thing is that migraines are a disorder of the brain and the brain is very malleable thanks to the phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change, modify and adapt both function and structure throughout your life in response to your experience. The beautiful part about this fact is that you control so many of the variables of your experience! The question is: Are you willing to learn a new way of helping yourself? If your answer is a firm yes, then California Neurohealth and chiropractic neurology can help. The right type of treatment will change your brain in a way to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines episodes, make them easier to predict and can abort them before they get full blown so you can get on with your life.
Why Do Migraines Happen
There are many triggers for migraines that are well understood and while they all have external events as part of the phenomena, the problem that results from those events, the migraine, is a consequence of altered brain function. What that means is that a change in environment is only a problem because of an abnormal alteration in brain function that leads to a migraine in genetically susceptible individuals. Your genetics are the figurative window to let the migraine headache in but altered brain function is what opens the window.
It is known that sleep deprivation, excessive caffeine or stimulant use, certain drugs, missing meals, changes in temperature or barometric pressure, exposure to high winds, bright sunlight, hormonal fluctuations and stress can trigger a migraine. All of these triggers cause a unique challenge for the brain that influence nerve pathways in the brain to cause a change in function and initiate the cascade of events leading to a migraine headache. The beautiful thing is that many of these triggers are also modifiable risk factors. Specific drug-free interventions can make your brain function more robust and able to tolerate these challenges without having a migraine headache occur as a result.
How To Alleviate Migraine Symptoms
When a migraine happens there are many ways to abort the headache and the quicker you act the better your chances to be successful. In our office we use a combination of interventions tailored to your unique makeup such as the specific applications of manual therapy, thermal therapy, neuromodulation using a gentle form of electrical stimulation, photobiomodulation (which is the use of specific wavelengths of light) applied to the skull and neck, as well as acupuncture. There are also specific plant-based medicines that can be helpful to prevent migraines and lessen the pain if one were to happen. You may have noticed that there was no mention of drug therapies. Many of the patients we help have experience with drug therapies and are choosing to stop them due to a lack of efficacy, intolerable side effects or increased headache frequency, as in the case of rebound headaches. In fact many of the drug-based interventions run the risk of increasing migraine frequency over time, even if they help in the short run.
We also have patients who use pharmaceuticals in their migraine care and we co-manage them with their primary care doctor or neurologist. We do not judge or criticize our patients for their choice to use pharmaceuticals in their care and firmly believe that all tools can be useful for the right person at the right time. At California Neurohealth our mission is, first and foremost, to stop your migraines and help you take their life back.
How To Stop Migraines From Happening In The First Place
There are various methods of rehabilitation used at California Neurohealth. between headaches to improve your robustness to migraine triggers. These methods can include various forms of neuromodulation of the trigeminal and vagus nerves using electrical stimulation and acupuncture, therapy to address dysfunction of the neck and jaw, restoring your ability and commitment to exercise, dietary intervention to reduce blood sugar dysregulation, improving your healthy response to stress, addressing sleep challenges such as insomnia, sleep apnea and hypopnea, vestibular therapies to improve motion sensitivity, visual therapies to reduce eye strain, addressing hormonal regulation, ergonomic advice, lifestyle counseling, addressing allergies and/or hypersensitivities, and the list goes on and on. This is much more of a proactive path than simply taking pills or getting injections and in the end the benefits of this approach have much crossover into improving the overall quality of your life independent of reducing migraines.
What to do to get help from our Chiropractic Neurologist
The first step for you is to schedule an appointment for an evaluation with Dr. Chris DeMartini DC DACNB, our attending board certified chiropractic neurologist. During this appointment he will listen intently to your story and ask the right questions to get the information needed to best support you. He will make every effort to get the complete understanding about your goals for care and what you want your health to be. An examination will be necessary to identify what the unique aspects of your body function are that make you susceptible to migraines.
Dr. DeMartini will devise a treatment plan and give you clear directions for a better path of health for your life. This plan will include specific action steps to begin making your life better from day one towards the goal of as few migraines as possible over your lifetime. While we do have patients whose migraines have stopped all together under our care it is not always possible and despite this our patients still find the help we offer to be of great value. We look forward to being on your new winning team!