Migraines are very debilitating to those suffering from them. New research, aided by the latest in technology, is diving deeper into the source of migraine pain. It is easier than ever to see how the brain and the nervous system function. Past thinking about migraines dealt with how the blood vessels in the head were thought to be constricted and the cause of migraine pain. New research has revealed migraines are a neurological disorder involving brain chemicals and nerve pathways. It has also been seen that migraines run in families. However, genetics is not the only answer. Some studies have revealed a connection to environmental factors.
Almost everyone has experienced a headache at one time or another. It is important to recognize migraines are not just really bad headaches. They are an extremely incapacitating group of neurological symptoms including:
- Severe throbbing or pounding head pain usually on only one side (in 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected)
- Attacks last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours
- Visual disturbances
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme sensitivity to light, odor, touch, and noise
- Tingling or numbness in the arms and legs or face
Symptoms often differ from person to person or from one episode to the next. Migraines are diagnosed by taking a close look at symptoms, going over family history, conducting medical testing, and eliminating other reasons for the head pain. It can be quite difficult to diagnose a migraine and may bring frustration to the patient and the doctor. A headache specialist may be required if your symptoms are disabling or don’t respond to care. However, before going this route, keep reading. A natural drug-free method of care is available. First, let’s look at a type of care becoming more popular and whether it is right for you.
Medical Marijuana for Migraines
Researchers have finally completed a study proving medical marijuana can actually help migraines. Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus assembled 121 people who had been diagnosed with migraines. They were given medical marijuana to help with their migraines from January of 2010 to September of 2014. They reported that their migraines went from 10 per month to less than 5 per month. Out of the 121, 103 reported seeing a decrease in migraines overall. Only 3 said their migraines increased over the time of the trial. Not all of the participants smoked the drug. Some ate it. Inhaling marijuana seemed to be the most preferred way to care for migraines as the effects took place sooner than eating it. However, smoke inhalation has it’s own negative health effects.
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The results of this study were regarded as significant by the researchers, and they feel it will be a big help to those with migraines in the states where this product is legalized. In the least, it can lead to more research. Many states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes at this point.
The researchers are still being cautious as to how they report their results. They admit not everyone should turn to marijuana to help with headaches as it affects everyone differently. It also comes with negative side effects to your health. Laura Borgelt, a professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, says that like any drug, marijuana has benefits as well as risks. She further states it is important for people to be aware of the dangers involved with its use.
Cannabis has also been seen to be helpful in the following medical conditions:
- Mental health disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pain relief for cancer patients
- Metabolic syndrome
It is believed that the reason it helps with migraines has to do with serotonin. This has not been proven though, and more research is needing to be done.
However, before you go out and find some marijuana to relieve your migraines, keep in mind the warning given about possible side effects. There is another alternative that is available that has also been seen to fight migraines and comes with no side effects. It is all natural and drug free.
How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Helps Migraines
Another very interesting study has been performed involving 101 migraine patients. Dr. Erin Elster examined these patients and discovered that each of them had a subluxation (misalignment) in the bones of the upper cervical spine. Interestingly, 87 of the subjects recalled having some type of head trauma or accident before the onset of their migraines. Some accidents resulted from skiing, snowboarding, bicycling, horseback riding, football, ice skating, gymnastics, car accidents and other similar injuries. Each of these patients was given a specific adjustment to the bones of the upper neck, tailored to their personal misalignment over a course of 1 – 8 months. Some noticed improvement right away. In fact, 85 of them reported complete resolution of their migraines. The rest saw a great improvement in severity and frequency.
Here at Symmetry Health Chiropractic Center in Cedar Park, TX, we use a similar technique to the one used in the above study. Rather than using force to pop or crack the spine and neck, we use a scientific method that uses measurements and gentle methods to help the bones move back into alignment naturally. This results in a longer-lasting adjustment that has positive results.
Unlike medical marijuana, it does not come with unwanted or dangerous side effects. It is legal in all states and is safe for people of all ages. Even babies can have this type of adjustment with no pain or bad results. Our patients are happy to report similar outcomes to those in the above study. They often leave our office feeling happier and healthier overall.
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