how-to-survive-migraines-with-vertigoAs if dealing with migraines isn’t bad enough, when you also feel the spinning sensation of vertigo, the experience can be real torture. That’s what people with migraine-associated vertigo (MAV) often experience. Let’s dive into this condition and discuss a natural treatment that can alleviate it.

Migraine Facts and Symptoms

One of the most common and disabling chronic conditions in the United States is migraines. They are as prevalent as high blood pressure and more common than asthma and diabetes. Migraines mostly hit between the ages of 20 to 40 for most women, and at a slightly higher age for men. Women are three times more likely to get migraines than men.

Unfortunately, about 50% of migraine cases go misdiagnosed or mishandled. Some people get diagnosed with sinus headaches or other headache types when actually they have migraines. For this reason, many people take treatment into their own hands. Thankfully, more diagnostic methods are currently being developed for migraines, and people are gaining more knowledge about the disorder.

Some of the distinct symptoms of migraines are as follows:

  • Throbbing or pounding headache

  • Typically, one-sided head pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Dizziness or vertigo

  • Sensitivity to sound, light, and certain odors

  • Visual disturbances

  • Inability to complete daily activities

What Is Migraine-associated Vertigo?

WebMD defines migraine-associated vertigo or vestibular migraines as an issue in the nervous system that causes recurring dizziness or vertigo in people who have a history of migraine symptoms. But unlike traditional migraines, it doesn’t always include a headache.

About 40% of people with migraines have a vestibular symptom that disrupts their balance or causes dizziness. This may occur before, during, after, or independent of a migraine episode. The vestibular symptoms that come with migraine-associated vertigo may include those listed below:

  • Motion intolerance regarding the eyes, body, or head

  • Balance loss and ataxia

  • Dizziness

  • Feeling disoriented

  • Diminished ability to focus the eyes

  • Spontaneous vertigo attacks often with vomiting and nausea

  • Sound sensitivity and tinnitus

  • Neck pain with associated muscle spasms in the upper cervical spine musculature

  • Confusion with altered cognition

  • Anxiety and panic attacks

These symptoms may also occur with regular migraines. A study examined 200 patients from a dizziness clinic, a migraine center, and a control group from an orthopedic clinic. Those with vertigo diagnosis showed 38% of lifetime occurrence of migraines, higher than a similar group of patients in the control group. The same results were obtained when migraine patients were evaluated.

It has been pointed out in another study that patients with migraine-associated vertigo have greater cognitive impairment than those with just migraines. They scored lower on cognitive examinations than those with regular migraines. An MRI exposed they have a higher frequency of deep brain, peripheral lateral ventricle, and total white matter lesions.

Migraine Triggers

Regardless of the symptoms you experience, it is best to avoid the things that are bringing the pain and discomfort of migraines. You can sometimes reduce the frequency migraine attacks if you steer clear of these triggers:

Food and Beverages:

  • Smoked, cured, or processed meats

  • Aged or ripened cheeses

  • Excessive tea, coffee, and cola

  • Alcohol

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • MSG

  • Buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt

  • Broad beans and pea pods

  • Nuts and peanut butter

  • Particular fruit: figs, avocados, red plums, raisins, bananas, citrus fruit

  • Onions, pickles, and olives

  • Hot, fresh bread, doughnuts, and raised coffee cakes

Other triggers:

  • Hormonal fluctuations

  • Certain medications

  • Inadequate sleep

  • Changes in weather and barometric pressure

  • Stress

The Origin of Migraines: How They Develop

Scientists are still researching to determine why migraines occur. With the advancement of new technology, such as imaging equipment, additional information about how a migraine develops has been made available.

Medical researchers are linking migraine-associated vertigo to varied pathophysiology of cerebral spreading depression of electrical charges near the cortex followed by the stimulation of pain receptors in the brainstem. Neurotransmitters are then released, and blood vessels become widened near the scalp and other parts outside of the brain.

Migraines are also considered to be a genetic illness causing sensitivity to an irregular amount of neurons being released. How migraines work exactly is still being studied, but it has been confirmed that it is not completely vascular. It appears to be a mixture of neural and altered vascular courses.

The more important question now is: What is causing changes in the brainstem to happen, and how can it be addressed?

How Upper Neck Misalignments Result in Migraines

A pattern has been repeatedly observed among migraine patients: most of them have a misaligned atlas (C1) or axis (C2) bone. The C1 and C2 are the two uppermost bones of the neck which are responsible for protecting the brainstem and supporting the head. That makes these bones prone to misaligning. A misalignment in this part can result in many negative outcomes in the body. If the C1 and C2 bones become misaligned, they can put the brainstem under pressure. This can result in the brainstem sending incorrect signals to the brain, leading to migraines, vertigo, and other severe health conditions.

Here at Read Health Center in Ames, Iowa, we ensure our patients have correct spinal alignment. We perform a gentle procedure that urges the atlas and axis to return into their correct position, without having to twist or crack the spine. Once realigned, you can look forward to fewer and less severe migraine symptoms. Most of the time, successful outcomes are already felt in only one or two adjustments. If you’re looking for a migraine or vertigo chiropractic treatment near Ames, IA, give us a call today.