Wondering How To Treat Chronic Migraines?

Wondering How To Treat Chronic Migraines?

If you’ve ever experienced chronic migraines, you know how painful and debilitating they can be. You may be able to get through your day as normal or with mild disruption when you have a sinus or tension headache but according to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraines. Migraine pain can often be extreme and many doctors just don’t know how to alleviate that pain.

What you may not realize is that chiropractic treatment is a fantastic option for treating migraines. Seeking out migraine treatment from a chiropractor can help you feel better faster, even when other doctors and specialists have told you there is nothing they can do to help you.

What Are Chronic Migraines?

Some people tend to call any intense headache a migraine, but a true migraine sticks to some very precise criteria. Typically, a migraine is less common than a tension headache, registering from moderate to severe on the pain intensity scale. It is a recurrent headache that lasts from between four hours to three days and affects more females than males.

In order to be considered migraines, headaches must also have at least two of the following characteristics: pulsating pain, unilateral location, nausea or vomiting, visual or auditory sensitivity, and aggravation of the headache by physical activity. About 20 percent of migraines sufferers will see visual auras before a migraine headache comes on. Visual auras vary from person to person but often include blind spots, flashing lights, zigzag patterns, and vision loss in part of one or both eyes. 

When a migraine occurs, the blood vessels in your head expand and the tissue around your brain swells. This swelling is very painful and for many migraine sufferers, it can lead to characteristic migraine symptoms like vomiting, visual disturbances, and increased sensitivity to light. Migraines are so much more than just a headache and for many people, painkillers don’t have much of an effect on them. 

According to the International Headache Society, chronic migraine is defined as a headache occurring on 15 or more days per month for more than three months, which, on at least 8 days per month, has the features of migraine headache. Chronic migraines occur in approximately 1% of the population. Studies estimate that about 2.5% of people with episodic migraines will transition to chronic migraines each year.

There is a range of well-recognized risk factors among people who transition from episodic migraines to chronic migraines including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Other pain disorders
  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Snoring
  • Severe emotional or physical trauma
  • Head/Neck injury
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Acute medication overuse
  • Persistent, frequent nausea

When someone goes from episodic migraines that occasionally disrupt their lives to frequent chronic migraines they can feel hopeless but we treat many people with chronic migraines in our chiropractic office and are able to reduce their pain.


How To Treat Chronic Migraines

As you can see in the video above, when Bob came to us with chronic migraines we were his last resort. This is common for many of our patients because many doctors and specialists are not able to provide pain relief from chronic migraines. Nothing seemed to work for Bob. He had gone to physical therapy and had some success with dry needling, but because of the way the physical therapist was dry needling, that pain relief was very temporary, and when the pain returned it was more intense than ever.

Bob visited a neurologist who gave him a pain shot in the neck but told him there was nothing more he could do for him. This neurologist even told Bob to report back if he came across something that worked because he was at a total loss. We are often the last resort for people with chronic pain who have been to all of the doctors and specialists available. The great news is that we’re able to help patients in this situation. Remember, just because you’ve been everywhere else and tried everything to treat your chronic migraines doesn’t mean there’s no hope for relief.

Our treatment plan with Bob includes dry needling, ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation (e-stim), and manual manipulation of the cervical spine. 

If you’re not familiar with dry needling, it uses a thin monofilament needle to penetrate the skin and treat underlying muscular trigger points or muscle tension, injuries, and pain. This process has been proven to relieve and improve neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments in many patients and is amplified when we apply electric currents to the needles. It may sound painful, but it doesn’t hurt and all you’ll feel is a twitch in the muscle. Dry needling provides a natural way to relieve pain using anti-inflammatory mediators that exist in the body to decrease the sensation of pain.

Ultrasound is a therapy that can be utilized to handle injuries related to joints, muscle spasms, as well as most soft tissues. This ultrasound creates small sound waves that in effect vibrate and massage soft tissues and muscle. These sound waves do an excellent job of facilitating the body's healing process in addition to decreasing scar tissue formation. Ultrasound therapy is a painless therapy that uses an ultrasound wand applied to the target area and moving it around in small circles for about five to ten minutes.

Electric muscle stimulation, also known as EMS or E-stim, is a process where electric currents are sent through muscles in order to make them contract. Many chiropractors utilize superficial electric muscle stimulation where the currents are delivered via small pads that stick to the skin but we can also apply E-stim directly to the needles during dry needling to maximize the effects of both therapies.

The combination of these therapies and manual manipulation of the cervical spine have decreased Bob’s pain from chronic migraines by more than 50% in just two weeks. If you’re experiencing chronic migraines or chronic pain of any sort, know that there is hope. We often see patients who feel like there was no hope for them to feel better, but because we look at the body holistically, we’re able to provide pain relief when no one else can.

Do you have chronic migraines or chronic pain? Are you sick of doctors and specialists not having any solutions for you? Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors or call (410) 296-7700 and get ready to feel better faster!

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Kalkstein Chiropractic
200 East Joppa Road #300
Towson, MD 21286
(410) 296-7700