Migraines are disabling for all those who suffer frequent attacks. They are normally one sided, caused intensive pain, vomiting and all those who get an attack prefer to stay in a dark room until recovery. More women are affected than men by a margin of 4 to 1. Frequency of migraines may vary. Some may suffer monthly attacks, mostly associated with menses, while others may suffer them several times a week.
What are the Causes?
Medical research shows that most migraine headaches are vascular in origin. So many things can trigger headaches such as caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, cheese, peanuts, bright lights, aspartame, etc that any person may be allergic to. As you know, weather changes that result in barometric pressure are also related to migraine headaches. However, no solid underlying cause has been definitely discovered till date.
Research shows brain-stem interaction with some nerve pathways that are directly responsible for causing migraines. Later on, we will discuss how a completely natural procedure called upper cervical chiropractic, which has been helping thousands recover from debilitating migraines. This procedure targets the brain-stem and the craniocervical junction (CCJ skull, atlas axis junction).
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Ways In Which It Helps Brain-Stem Function and Migraine Headaches
The upper cervical spine is one of the most complex biomechanical areas in the body. It houses most critical structures of the body, the brain-stem. There are so many theories on how the upper neck trauma can be the underlying cause of the brain-cell dysfunction which has been shown to cause extensive migraine attacks.
A recent discovery, myodural bridge (connection between the muscle lying at the base of the skull and the sheath (dura mater) covering the spinal cord) has become important for treatment following neck injury. Concussions, motor vehicle accidents, and other whiplash injuries can lead to structural injuries to ligaments and other soft tissues situated in the atlas axis skull region. This causes tightening of the muscle that effectively connects to the dura mater covering the spinal cord resulting in irritation and torsional stress. Many upper cervical chiropractors have found that by correcting this structural issue, there has been marked improvement in the migraine headaches in large number of patients. In fact, in some patients these headaches have completely disappeared. It is believed that with restoration of motion to the misaligned joints, the brain stem function improves.
Dentate cord theory
John F. Grostic discovered this theory. It maintains that several anatomical relationships are responsible for torsional stress that occurs on the spinal cord. Two tiny ligaments firmly attach to the inner side of the ring of the first cervical vertebrae (C-1 a atlas). These ligaments also attach further to the dura mater (sheath) which covers the spinal cord. Whenever there is trauma induced misalignment, a displacement produces some “pulling” on the dura mater. This distorts the normal anatomy of the spinal cord. This irritation also disrupts normal function, causing postural distortion throughout the patient’s spine.
Based on their experience, upper cervical chiropractors can visualize that misalignment of the atlas is blocking communication to the parts of the body and affecting the body’s ability to correct the problem itself.
Dr. Seymour Diamond, Executive Director (National Headache Foundation) recently shared a much more effective new imaging technique that allows doctors to show what they believe is the main cause of migraine headaches: a malfunctioning brain stem. According to Dr Diamond, “when brain stem, located close to the top of the neck malfunctions, it leads to swelling of blood vessels around the brain, setting up intense chain reaction that results in acute migraine headache”. it is clear many things are responsible for triggering migraine but question still remains about the root cause.
What is the role of a Upper Cervical Chiropractor?
These chiropractors run objective neurological tests to ascertain the existence of cord irritation in the upper cervical spine. Once it’s determined that there is indeed a problem affecting brain stem, they take precise articular joint X-rays to determine the direction of the misalignment. Angles are then measured off the problem joints and then they carry out precision spinal correction.
There is no pulling, popping or cracking of the neck during this correction. It’s gentle, precise and painless. Following the spinal correction, the patient will take rest in a “recuperation” room. This allows body to calmly relax and regain control of its right spinal position. Prompt follow up care is important to ensure progress is accruing. On each visit, upper cervical chiropractors will carry out tests to determine whether another spinal correction is necessary or not. Over time this adjustment holds and healing occurs in the entire body. Remember, “nature needs absolutely no help just no interference.”
I hope this article reaches all those who’re interested in natural solutions to migraine headaches and other chronic health conditions. Actually, upper cervical chiropractic has just one-goal-restoration of body function. Once this is achieved, it’s possible that host of other health conditions may automatically resolve as a natural by-product of efficient body function.