Symptoms and Characteristics of Every Migraine Phase - Ames Chiropractor

symptoms-and-characteristics-of-every-migraine-phaseMigraines are a global concern, affecting as many as 1 billion people. A migraine chiropractic doctor in Ames, Iowa like my self helps minimize the symptoms of this neurological condition. This requires an individualized approach since every person experiences migraine episodes differently.

Patients may have either episodic migraines or chronic migraines. 

Episodic migraines

Migraine headaches occur for 1 to 14 days per month.

Chronic migraines 

Migraine headaches last for 15 or more days per month. About 4 million people have chronic migraines.

Symptoms of Each Stage of Migraines

A migraine attack often starts when a specific sign or symptom sets in a few days before the actual headache. Migraines can progress through phases, and every stage brings on unique symptoms.

Phase 1 – Prodrome Symptoms

Also known as the pre-headache phase, the prodrome stage occurs in 40% of migraine patients. This phase serves as a warning that a migraine episode is on its way. The following symptoms may come about during prodrome:

  • Fatigue
  • Neck pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Too much yawning
  • Food cravings
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Mood changes (irritability, anxiety, depression) 
  • Cognitive issues (trouble speaking or finding words)

Phase 2 – Aura Symptoms

Only a quarter of migraine patients experience aura. Recognizing an aura can help a patient curtail an episode early on, before it even proceeds into the headache phase. Here’s a list of the possible aura symptoms:

  • Visual disturbances:
    • Flashes of light
    • Wavy lines
    • Blind spots
    • Blurry vision
    • Partial loss of sight
    • Small floaters or blank spots in the visual field
  • Confusion
  • Oversensitivity to touch
  • Changes in hearing
  • A brief episode of phantosmia (smelling things that aren’t there)
  • Vertigo or dizziness

Phase 3 – Headache Symptoms

Headache is the hallmark symptom of migraines, although not everyone experiences it when they have a migraine. During the headache phase, inflammation of the trigeminal nerve happens, resulting in severe pain. The headache phase may also involve other symptoms:

  • Severe headache
    • Often on one side of the head
    • Pulsating or throbbing
    • Can persist between 4 and 72 hours
    • Gets worse during physical exertion
    • Referred pain in the eyes and into the teeth, sinuses, and jaw
  • Hypersensitivities
    • Sound
    • Light
    • Smells
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Panic or anxiety

Phase 4 – Postdrome Symptoms

Sometimes referred to as the “hangover” phase, this stage occurs after the extreme headache. It can last for a couple of hours or days. During the postdrome, migraine patients may experience the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate and focus
  • Lower levels of comprehension
  • Mood changes – a patient’s mood may swing in the opposite direction of the prodrome stage. If before a migraine attack you were anxious or depressed, you may feel euphoric or energetic during postdrome. 

A Natural Solution for Migraine Symptoms

Whether you experience episodic or chronic migraines, you are most likely seeking pain relief alternatives or strategies to avoid future migraine attacks. Aside from following some migraine hacks, there is one key therapy that can help you — upper cervical chiropractic care!

Upper cervical chiropractic care has provided hope and relief to migraine patients by managing the symptoms of the condition. This type of care focuses on the alignment of the upper cervical spine, particularly the topmost vertebrae: the atlas and axis. 

Why Focus on the Upper Cervical Spine?

When either the atlas or axis vertebra misaligns, it can lead to upsets in the central nervous system, which is where migraines originate. (Migraines are a neurological disorder after all).

Correction of these types of misalignments has lessened the severity and frequency of migraine episodes in patients, as demonstrated in these findings.

The atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae are responsible for the following:

  • Providing support for the head
  • Allowing the wide-range of movement so the head can move in various directions
  • Protecting the brainstem, a crucial element of the central nervous system (it facilitates the sending of nerve signals between the brain and body)

The bones in the upper cervical spine have unique shapes and functions compared to the rest of the bones in the spine.  However, these are also the very reasons they are more prone to misaligning. It can easily happen due to daily wear and tear, or from an accident or injury. 

Effects of Upper Cervical Misalignments

Any misalignment in this region can lead to irritation of the brainstem, which is closely connected to the trigeminal nerve. The swelling of the trigeminal nerve can result in muscle spasms and tension in the neck and face. From here, migraines and other headache disorders can come about. 

Fortunately, a migraine chiropractic doctor in Ames can provide a solution. Through upper cervical chiropractic care, restoration of the proper alignment of the upper cervical spine is possible. This can make way for the natural healing of the body and return the optimal function of the central nervous system. 

Here at my practice, Read Health Center in Ames, Iowa, I provide customized care for each patient. Every upper cervical adjustment is done with precision and gentleness, and without aggressive manipulation of the bones.  

Upper cervical chiropractic corrections can bring longer-lasting results than other types of care. If you seek lasting relief for your migraine symptoms, a good place to start is by calling (515) 233-8880 or sending a message to set an appointment with me. I would love to hear from you and provide any help that can minimize your migraine symptoms and attacks.

References:

http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/

https://migraine.com/migraine-basics/migraine-phases/