A woman in a grey sweater having a migraine headache in west kelowna
Headaches are one of the most common complaints that are seen at chiropractic clinics. All headaches can be further categorized by cause and presentation such as: cervicogenic (caused by the neck), migraine with or without aura, tension-type, cluster, giant cell arteritis, and the list goes on. Each headache requires evaluation by a trained medical professional to determine the classification and the best form of treatment.

What is a migraine?

A migraine is a severe headache that is caused by a complex cascade of neurotransmitter release, neuronal activation, vasodilation, and release of inflammatory markers. Essentially, this cascade causes a combination of pulsating head pain, sensitivity to light/sound, nausea, vomiting, and even changes in vision or ability to communicate. These symptoms can be debilitating and are often triggered by something such as food, weather, hormones, alcohol etc. Once triggered, the mentioned cascade affects the brain and brings on the symptoms.

How common are migraines?

In the United States, over 14% of adults over the age of 18 have experienced a migraine or severe headache within the last 3 months. Nearly 1 out of every 7 Americans are affected annually. Furthermore, women between the age of 18-44 were more twice as likely to have a migraine than a male in the same age range. If you're currently experiencing migraines, you are not alone.

Can diet cause migraines?

Potentially. However, there is no one diet that cures migraines for everyone. Each person who suffers from migraines has their own triggers which may include certain foods, eating habits, or alcohol consumption. Common triggers include nitrates such as hot dogs and bacon, caffeine or caffeine withdrawal, red wine, magnesium deficiency, or skipping meals. The jury is still out but ketogenic diets or eating more frequently may reduce occurrence and severity of headaches.

Migraines and chiropractic?

Many people who have chronic or episodic migraine headaches also show decreased neck range of motion or tightness. A randomized trial by Chaibi showed that manual therapy may significantly decrease the severity of symptoms in people who experience migraines at least once a month. Chiropractic treatment is a great way to increase neck range of motion and decrease muscle tension through spinal manipulation and manual therapy. Addressing these issues may benefit those who suffer from migraines.
Dr. Courtney Means

Dr. Courtney Means


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