Migraine attacks can be so painful that they can be disabling for hours, or worse, for days. The pain of a migraine can be a severe throbbing sensation that often only happens on one side of the head. Extreme sensitivity to light as well as nausea and vomiting usually accompany a migraine episode.
Migraines have traditionally been puzzling to the medical world. Their origins are not completely understood, but migraines seem to be connected with changes in the brainstem and how it interacts with pain pathways and signals to the brain. The trigeminal nerve, which branches off the brainstem also seems to play a role in the development of migraines.
The connection that upper cervical chiropractors have understood for a long time is that brainstem function can be hindered by the very thing that is designed to protect it – the atlas vertebra.
How Upper Cervical Care Can Help Migraines
There is a very close relationship between the neck, spine, and migraines. The atlas vertebra sits at the very top of the neck and has a critically important job. It provides a ring of protection around the brainstem, which plays a large role in how your brain is able to communicate with the rest of your body. When the atlas misaligns, it can irritate or put pressure on the brainstem which can lead to migraine-causing conditions in the body.
When a patient comes to our office, we always take the time to be thorough in our evaluation. We take specific measurements and images that allow us to know the precise nature of each individual’s atlas misalignment. Using the information we gather, we are able to give gentle, specific adjustments in order to restore normal atlas alignment. When the atlas is positioned properly, normal neurological function and blood flow can return. Holding that atlas alignment in place after a carefully delivered adjustment is often what it takes to achieve lasting relief of migraines.