The difference between a headache and a migraine are rooted in the specific cause. Migraines are connected to changes deep in the brain involving neural function and blood flow. A Migraine generally will last between 4 and 72 hours. One of the hallmarks of a migraine is they generally have a few different stages. At the beginning of the migraine, you may experience symptoms such as nausea, neck and shoulder stiffness, difficulty with speech and concentration, diarrhoea, and visual aura such flashing lights or blind spots in your vision that last for 15-30m.
There are a broad range of different triggers for migraines. These are quite broad and complex and can be different between individuals. Keeping a constant watch on your specific triggers will help to reduce the consistency of your migraine. Triggers can often be, exercises, too much or too little, stress, sleep, too much or too little. Also, specific foods, and bright light and noise can also trigger migraines. There has been a link identified between muscle strain, especially in the neck and shoulders and postural stress as well as dehydration.
Chronic neck and shoulder pain, and fibromyalgia have been associated with migraines and headaches, especially chronic presentations. While some people possess natural predispositions to these health conditions, pain medication plays a role.
Some people may be overly sensitive to the medication taken to relieve pain and tension. As a result, they may get overuse headaches. As discussed, migraines should be checked by a professional such as your doctor, chiropractor, or physiotherapist. Once the nasties have been ruled out, a specific and tailored treatment program often provides relief for those who suffer from migraines.
Some important considerations
Because the brain is a factor in migraine onset, and specifically a change in blood flow, we must consider some more serious conditions with Migraine. Research has shown that there is a link between migraine and stroke. Individuals who experience migraines with the aura symptoms (visual changes) are more likely to have a stroke later in life.
At Perth Allied Health Clinic, we consistently recommend generalised conditioning. This is improving you overall fitness and muscle conditioning. This always helps with reducing the risk of chronic disease. Dietary considerations are also important. Emphasis should be on lowering blood sugar, cholesterol, and maintaining healthy blood pressure.
All migraines should be checked by a professional. At Perth Allied Health Clinic our Chiropractors and Physiotherapists are trained to assess and give recommendations of care for headaches and migraines. We see a lot in clinic and if you are struggling, book in with us by clicking the booking link below!