Chronic migraine headaches are those that occur 15 or more times a month with a headache that lasts 4 hours or more, at least 3 months in a row for individuals with ongoing or a previous diagnosis of migraine. This means that individuals with chronic migraines spend a huge amount of time dealing with debilitating pain, in many cases making them miss work or school and the activities they enjoy. There are approximately 3.2 million Americans that suffer from chronic migraine (mostly women), an astounding number.
While there's no proven cure, there are chronic migraine treatments that can help manage the pain and frequency of the attacks with most falling to into 2 groups; acute and preventive. If you're considering seeing a headache specialist or other health professional with experience treating migraines, you should keep a diary to help with your consultation regarding your pain and treatment options.
Acute medications are available by prescription or over the counter and taken as needed with the hope of stopping the pain once it has begun. Individuals, who don't respond to acute medications, experience major disruptions in their lives due to migraine, or have a high occurrence of migraine attacks, may want to consider preventive therapy. Unlike treatment options that are used at the beginning of a migraine, preventive medications are taken on a regular basis with the objective being to reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks.
The problem with taking any drugs, over the counter or prescription, is that there are an unsettling number of migraine sufferers with heart problems who should never be prescribed common migraine medications that are given the drugs anyway. All of the drugs are triptans and while they can be effective when it comes to treating migraine headache symptoms, they can also cause major problems for people with heart conditions because they temporarily narrow the blood vessels. This also includes men and women in their 40's and 50's, diabetics, smokers and those with a family history of stroke or heart disease.
Another concern is that frequent use of migraine medication does little to nothing to address the underlying cause of the attacks and can actually cause them to become more frequent. Studies have revealed that taking the drugs incorrectly (including too often) can contribute to the headache burden, leading to withdrawal or what are referred to as “rebound” headaches. This is where a destructive cycle begins, leading to the taking of even more painkillers, followed by more intense migraines. Many also find that the medication gradually loses its effectiveness yet they need to keep taking it if they want to avoid rebound headaches.
Upper cervical chiropractic care is a gentle, side effect free way to alleviate migraine headaches. Upper cervical care also improves posture and body balance, helps patients recover from painful whiplash injuries as well as balances the nervous system. Upper cervical chiropractic care is a precise, non-invasive approach which makes it a great natural alternative to chronic migraine problems. Although injections, medications and surgery are often recommended to treat migraine, you may want to consider them as a form of treatment as a last resort.
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Dr. Pete Tsiglieris of Advanced Spinal Care in Redwood City, California is an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Sunnyvale. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain and weakness. More information can be found on our website at https://bayareanuccacare.com/