Migraines Are Very Common
Migraines are a form of severe headache that affect about 15% percent of the population globally. Also, many migraine sufferers experience pain that can be debilitating to the point of jeopardizing one’s career.
It’s more than an ordinary headache, and according to the Mayo Clinic:
A migraine can cause an extreme pulsing sensation or a throbbing. Migraines usually only affect one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to sound and light.
Secondly, migraine attacks may cause severe pain for hours or days, and can be so extreme that the pain may prevent you from going to work or school.
Plus, warning symptoms known as aura can occur before or along with the headache. These can include blind spots, flashes of light, and/or tingling on one side of the face or in your arm or leg.”
Take Inventory of Your Symptoms
When tackling any medical issue, it’s a good idea to keep track of symptoms. Using a journal, spreadsheet, or other system that works for you, record your habits and experiments to help determine what’s working and not working. Here’s a few things to consider:
Are there certain foods that trigger or calm your migraines?
Based on recommendations from your healthcare team, have you made an honest change to your diet and noted any changes?
If you are using medications, are you using them as advised and recorded their effects?
How is your body moving? Are you flexible?
Do you spend long periods of time in one position driving, on the computer, reading, or in some other sedentary position?
Have you been prescribed exercises? Do you actually do them?
Migraines are associated with stress. What are the stressors in your life?
How do you mange stress?
Do you actively engage in self-care? Also, how and when do you take care of your emotional needs?
Taking inventory of your symptoms and health habits will help you and your healthcare team come up with a plan to address your migraines.
Holistic Approaches that Work
Assessing whether therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic care are effective in treating migraines is challenging. However, when surveying chiropractic care studies, scientists stated that studies had problems with methodology. These studies concluded that “the evidence to support spinal manipulation is poor and insufficient to support its use.” Indeed, while complex, it is simpler to study the use of medication than methods that rely on the practitioner’s experience and skill. One can look at the results of a 5mg or 10mg dose of medicine, compare it with a placebo, and make conclusions.
How does one deliver exactly the same “dose” of acupuncture or chiropractic care to patients and then measure the results? It’s definitely more challenging that studying a pill. It is difficult to standardize holistic care and to measure it scientifically.
In spite of challenges to measuring the value of chiropractic care, research conducted by a group in Australia did summarize their study results and stated that chiropractic therapy was often effective. They found that “22% of participants reported more than a 90% reduction of migraines as a consequence of the 2 months of chiropractic. Approximately 50% more participants reported significant improvement in the morbidity of each episode.” 
Anecdotal evidence, which would be completely inadmissible in a scientific forum, also points to chiropractic care being an effective aid for chronic migraines without drugs or surgery. On a website where people self-reported the effect of chiropractic care, 29% of respondents (129 of 542), all symptoms were eliminated. Contrasted with only 13% who claimed no benefit at all.
We are each responsible for our health. Be bold and do your research when looking for solutions to your migraines. Each person is unique, so be honest with your doctors, give them as much information as you can to help them use all of their training to help create a custom solution that fits your needs.
Guest Blogger Bio: Martha de Forest is a dual degree engineer and certified integrative hypnotherapist. She has been married for over 30 years and has raised two daughters.
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