It is important to know the difference between a common headache and a migraine. Migraines are a debilitating neurological condition and can have long-term effects on the brain if not cared for properly. Self-medicating with over-the-counter painkillers can actually make migraines worse if they are not used properly, so there are a number of reasons to compare this list of symptoms in order to see if your headaches are actually migraines.
Remember that this list is not meant to make a medical diagnosis. You will still have to see a doctor for that. However, if you find that your symptoms match many of the ones on this list, there may be a natural way to find some relief, and we will discuss that at the end of our article.
Migraine Symptoms You Need to Know
Here are some of the symptoms to look out for that can help you to identify if your headaches are actually migraines.
- Headaches symptoms – In order for a headache to be classified as a migraine, it has to meet at least two of the following four symptoms: (1) Moderate to severe pain (2) Unilateral (one-sided) pain (3) pain that grows worse with exertion (4) Pulsing or throbbing pain. Remember that the headache only has to meet 2 of these 4 conditions. So, as an example, you can have a severe headache that grows worse with exertion, but it can also hurt on both sides and be a constant aching feeling.
- Neck pain – This one of the most common migraine symptoms although most people don’t relate the two. In fact, about 75% of migraineurs in one survey revealed that they experience neck pain either before or during an attack. This actually makes a lot of sense, and we will come back to the link between migraines and the neck later in our article.
- Sensory sensitivities – One of the most common symptoms of a migraine is the effect that it has on the senses. A person experiencing a migraine attack is more likely to have individual senses overloaded. For example, bright lights, repetitive sounds, and strong scents can be annoying or even painful. During a migraine, a gentle caress may cause a burning or aching sensation.
- Vestibular symptoms – 25-40% of migraines are considered to be vestibular migraines. That means they feature one or more vestibular symptom such as vertigo, tinnitus, dizziness, and the like.
- Nausea and vomiting – While nausea is one of the most common migraine symptoms, fortunately, only the minority experience vomiting. Bad news for migraine suffers who get both nausea and vomiting: The National Headache Foundation discovered that you might have a more severe type of migraine that leads to more pain and fewer options for relief.
- Aura – About 20-25% of migraineurs experience aura about 20-60 minutes before the actual headache phase of the migraine. Experiencing aura doesn’t automatically mean you will get the headache also, but it often is the precursor. Aura can include many visual symptoms, including temporary loss of vision, and numerous other symptoms such as a tingling feeling in the hands and face. Patients who get migraines with aura are also more susceptible to depression and have a higher suicide rate, so it is important to treat this accompanying condition.
- Additional symptoms – There are many other possible symptoms of a migraine that occur with varying rates of frequency. Some examples include mood changes, stuffy nose (which leads some to confuse migraines with sinus headaches), food cravings, eye pain, frequent yawning (perhaps due to reduced blood flow to the brain), speech difficulties, frequent urination, and more.
As you can see, a migraine should be easily identifiable when compared to the few symptoms of a common headache. If you believe you are experiencing migraines, how can you find natural relief? The secret may be in an often-overlooked underlying issue.
The Link Between Migraines and the Neck
As was mentioned earlier in our symptoms list, about 75% of migraine patients also have neck pain. This may reveal the secret to natural migraine care. Neck pain can be caused by a misalignment of the C1 (atlas) vertebra. What effects can an atlas subluxation have on the body?
- Reduced blood flow to the brain
- Inhibited brainstem function
- Intracranial pressure due to blocked cerebrospinal fluid drainage
Any of these can be a factor in the onset and recurrence of migraines. So it makes sense to look for an atlas misalignment and get it corrected if you have a problem with migraines. The best way to accomplish this is through upper cervical chiropractic care.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care in New Jersey
At Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Monmouth LLC, we offer NJ residents a subspecialty of chiropractic care that is only performed by about 3,500 practitioners around the world. The QS3M and NUCCA methods involve precise measurements of the atlas and gentle adjustments to correct any subluxation that may be found. Many of our patients find that this has helped reduce the frequency and severity of their migraines or even helped them to become completely migraine-free. If you are looking for safe and natural relief from migraines and would like to know if upper cervical chiropractic care is the right solution for you, give us a call today at 732-617-9355, or you can submit our online contact form. We look forward to having you join our many patients who are reaching their health and wellness goals with a little help from upper cervical chiropractic care.