November Newsletter

Migraine Headache

    Migraine headaches are common causes of recurring pain in the head and neck regions.  The typical presentation of a migraine is moderate to severe throbbing or pulsating throughout the head, behind the eyes or at the base of the skull.  Some migraines can be one sided, but most involve both sides of the head.  Statistically female individuals in adolescence and early adulthood are more likely to experience migraines.  Migraines tend to be less prevalent in men and individuals over the age of 50.  

    Symptoms can be exacerbated by physical activity, hormone changes, stress and even drastic
changes in climate (hot/cold/barometric pressure changes).  While throbbing, pulsatile head pain is the main symptom there are many other symptoms that may occur including:
  • Prodrome (recurring signs prior to the actual migraine)
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Neck or jaw pain 

    Some migraine headaches are associated with nerve irritation and muscle spasms in the cervical spine.  Nerves near the base of the skull can become entrapped by muscles bound up with scar tissue adhesions that build up after recurring muscle spasms in the region.  Once entrapment of a nerve occurs it becomes more easily irritated due to the increased tension along it's length.  Some of the nerves involved in these migraines include the following:
  • Greater Occipital Nerve
  • Lesser Occipital Nerve
  • Third Occipital Nerve
  • Trigeminal Nerve

    Active Release Techniques treatments have "nerve flossing" protocols specifically focused on restoring proper movement and function to these nerves and the muscles surrounding them.  We have experience successfully helping patients struggling with chronic migraines limit the number of migraines they experience, decrease the symptoms associated with their migraines and limit the need to use migraine medications. 

    In some cases it's also necessary to assess the tempomandibular (TMJ) joint's roll in the upper cervical dysfunction.  Chronic jaw clenching and problems chewing can contribute to the muscle spasms in the head and neck that can lead to the development of migraine headaches.

    Please note that a migraine headache that involves severe pain, changes to vision, loss of sensation, fever or mental confusion can signal urgent circumstances requiring emergency care and these individuals should go directly to an emergency room for evaluation for stroke or aneurysm.

Active Performance Chiropractic focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic-related injuries.Treatment is a unique blend of Active Release Techniques®, traditional chiropractic therapy, and physical rehabilitation designed to match each patient’s goals and lifestyle.