There are some who think every headache is a migraine. Others believe if a headache is intense, it must be a migraine. But that’s not necessarily true, either.

So what, then, sets a migraine apart?

Key components of a migraine

Dr. Andrew J. Roy, D.C., founder of Advanced Wellness & Rehab, will typically begin his assessment by asking a patient to point to the part of the head experiencing pain. If hands go up to both sides of the head, that’s not a migraine.

Along with pain that’s localized on one side, here are other signs of a migraine:

  • The pain is intense, pulsing and throbbing, as compared to a milder, dull pressure of a tension headache.
  • There is a sensitivity to light and/or sound.
  • The pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting and/or dizziness.
  • There is a visual aura, a flickering or temporary blind spots, or sensory aura, such as numbness or tingling.
  • For some, an aura is a sign of an impending migraine. There might also be mood changes, neck stiffness or food cravings that signal a migraine is on the way.

Could a Memorial Day barbecue be the culprit?

Dr. Roy also delves into the patient’s activities and foods consumed prior to the onset of a migraine and encourages them to keep a written record detailing each episode.

Along with stress, changes in weather – such as temperature or air pressures – hormonal changes and exposure to bright lights, loud noises or even to certain odors, such as perfume, can set a migraine in motion. Dehydration as well as skipping meals or fasting, can also bring on the pain. And for others, it’s certain foods that are eaten that are a sign of a migraine to come:

  • Foods naturally containing tyramine – such as aged or strong cheeses, smoked fish, fava beans, soy products like miso soup or tofu – can be triggers.
  • Nitrates, found in hot dogs, bacon and deli meats, are potential offenders.
  • Alcohol, including certain beers and red wine, chocolate, caffeine, nuts and MSG have also been found to have a migraine connection.

But just like not every migraine sufferer will experience every symptom, triggers, too, are an individual as the patient.

Treatment options exist that don’t involve drugs

Migraines can be moderate to severe, last four to seven hours or days, occur randomly or almost daily. They can be an occasional annoyance or downright debilitating. Once Dr. Roy has identified a patient’s individual experience, treatment options are discussed.

Frequently, a combination of modalities will be used to obtain the best results. They include:

  • Identifying and then eliminating triggers that a particular patient experiences so as to avoid many migraines from developing in the first place.
  • During an episode, specific blood-vessel and muscle nerves switch on and send pain signals to the brain. A chiropractic adjustment to realign the spine and take the pressure off the nerves can help reduce the pain.
  • MyoKinesthetic treatment is a new soft-tissue approach done by a certified practitioner in which the nervous system is rebalanced. Testing is done to identify which nerves are not functioning properly. The muscles along the pathway of those damaged nerve roots are then stimulated to send a new message to the brain.
  • Cold laser therapy affects tissues on a cellular level. The light from the laser’s photons accelerates cell growth and increases vascular activity or blood flow, while reducing inflammation and pain sensitivity. Using the laser in the head and neck area, and particularly the sphenopalatine ganglion nerve cluster behind the nose, can be effective in treating migraines. It’s not painful and can offer long-term relief.

Why suffer any longer?

Contact Advanced Wellness & Rehab for your free consultation – the first step toward breaking free from migraine’s chains.