A survey of the migraine sufferers in your life will quickly tell you that triggers can vary greatly. An unfortunately high number of female migraine suffers experience an increase in headache severity/frequency due to regular hormone changes tied to their menstrual cycle. Commonly referred to "Menstrual Migraines" these headaches can add a level of discomfort to an already uncomfortable situation.
What makes some women susceptible to migraines at the onset of menses when so many others do not have ANY headache symptoms during the same time frame? One possible answer to this can be hormonal imbalance (ie: the body is producing too much or too little sex hormone at incorrect times during the cycle). Another possible explanation is that the body is being pushed beyond its ability to adapt to normal stressors due to an underlying issue.
Within the chiropractic community, there is a specialty known as, "Upper Cervical Chiropractic." Doctor of Chiropractic that practice this specialty are trained in the analysis and correction of spinal misalignments that have the potential to create significant strain on systems of the body. One of the many reasons why female patients under the care of an upper cervical chiropractor report decreased frequency and severity of menstrual migraines is due to the fact that upper cervical chiropractic care can reduce the overall stress on the body, pulling the patient away from the border of migraine territory.
If you imagine the body as a bucket with many holes in it, the rim of the bucket represents the maximum amount of stress the body is able handle before our health suffers in a substantial way. As stress is added to our bodies, we deal with it as best as we are able. Healthy individuals with fully functioning nervous systems can adapt to and respond to stress in a healthy and efficient manner. Misalignments in the upper neck can decrease the ability of the nervous system to respond to stress. Back to our bucket analogy, this would have the same impact as plugging some of the holes, reducing the exit of stress from the bucket.
As our stress compiles and is not dealt with, the bucket (body) creeps closer and closer to overflowing (migraine). Eventually, when our stress exceeds the body's ability to deal with it, we have a state of crisis. Specific chiropractic adjustments can reduce strain on the body and improve efficiency of stress management systems.
Even though menstruation is a natural process, it draws on the body's resources and puts a stress on the system. If a woman is already nearing the overflow point, the onset of menstruation can push the body beyond its ability to cope with stress and subsequently, a migraine can develop. When the body is pulled away from the stress threshold, naturally occurring stressors such as menses do not cause us to exceed our ability to adapt and we go about our lives, business as usual.
If you or someone you know is regularly pushed beyond their ability to adapt to stress during menstruation or at any other stressful time, give our office a call and schedule a consultation!