Migraines are no fun to deal with. They bring about intense pain and other debilitating symptoms. Those who suffer from them are usually looking for the best way to cope with the pain. This article will discuss some different kinds of therapies along with one that has been proven to be effective over and over again. First, let’s take a look at some facts about migraines that you may not be aware of:
- Migraines are a neurological condition.
- Migraines are very commonplace, affecting 39 million Americans and 1 billion people globally.
- As many as 18 percent of women, 6 percent of men, and 10 percent of children have migraines.
- Migraines are most commonly seen between the ages of 25 to 55.
- Migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world.
- Up to 90 percent of those with migraines have a family member who also suffers.
- Every 10 seconds someone in the US goes to the emergency department complaining of head pain.
- Most sufferers only have an attack once a month or so; however, 4 million people have chronic daily migraines (meaning they have more than 15 migraines during a month’s time).
- As many as 90 percent of people with migraines are unable to function or work while they are suffering through an attack.
- Some migraines produce other symptoms but no head pain.
- In two-thirds of the cases, only one side of the head is affected. The other one-third have pain and throbbing on both sides.
- Around 25 percent of sufferers have what is called an aura. This is usually a visual disturbance which occurs an hour or less before the pain of a migraine hits. It acts as a kind of warning sign.
- Attacks of migraines usually last between 4 and 72 hours.
- Medication overuse headaches can cause episodic migraines to turn into chronic migraines.
- Depression, anxiety, and sleep issues often co-exist with migraines.
- Women are impacted three times more often than men, making up 85 percent of chronic migraine sufferers.
- Half of all sufferers have their first attack before age 12. Migraines have been seen in those as young as 18 months old.
Ways to Care for Migraines
There are a number of different ways to care for migraines. We will take a look at some of these to see what is involved. We will then discuss an all-natural type of care that has brought many people relief.
Lidocaine is an anesthetic agent used to produce numbness (usually in a small area of skin). Lidocaine four percent aqueous solution has been seen to be effective for migraines and cluster headaches when applied through the nasal passages. Available by prescription only, there are several methods of application. The most common is using long, cotton pledgets inserted into the nose to distribute the medication. This is not easy to use for self-administration. Nasal drops or even a nasal spray are often used in self-administration.
How lidocaine works is that it numbs a part of the trigeminal nerve (the nerve that is responsible for feeling in the face) called the sphenopalatine ganglion. Pain relief comes quickly after administering the medication. However, pain relief may only last about an hour. This is why it is very helpful for those with cluster headaches as they have only brief attacks. However, if you are suffering from a migraine, you may need something lasting longer than an hour as migraines can last for as long as 72 hours. There is an option to repeatedly use lidocaine, but it can result in unwanted side effects. You may have abnormal heart rhythms and mental confusion due to the toxic effects. Where lidocaine can help with migraines is in those who take certain medications which take effect within an hour’s time. Lidocaine can get you through this period of wait time.
Neuromodulation devices are a relatively new concept in caring for migraine pain. They are often referred to as stimulators, although they actually turn down brain activity rather than ramping it up. These devices may be magnetic, temperature-altering, or electrical. Some are portable, while others require surgical placement. The FDA has approved three non-invasive devices for migraines.
- Transcutaneous supraorbital neurostimulator (tSNS): This is also called the Cefaly device. It is placed on the forehead and turned on for 20 minutes daily to prevent migraines. Studies show migraines can be reduced by 50 percent.
- SpringTMS: This is a magnetic stimulator that is placed on the back of the head and turned on for just a one-second pulse. Two pulses have been seen to stop migraines with aura 40 percent of the time.
- GammaCore: A vagal nerve stimulator, the gammaCore is placed on the neck over gel and turned on to electrically stimulate the vagus nerve for around 90 seconds to 2 minutes. It causes mild buzzing and twitching neck muscle sensations. Using this device two or three times a day can help migraines and cluster headaches.
Finding Natural Relief for Migraines
Upper cervical chiropractic care has been seeing great success in caring for patients with migraines for many years now. We focus on making sure the C1 and C2 vertebrae are in proper alignment. If they are not, they can put pressure on the brainstem and cause it to send improper signals to the brain. Misaligned bones in this area of the neck can also act as a blockage to fluid leaving and entering the brain.
The method used does not require us to pop or crack the neck to get positive results. Rather, we use a low-force method that encourages the bones to move back into proper alignment on their own. Once this is accomplished, many patients report seeing a huge improvement in headaches and migraines. Some patients even see them go away and not return.