migraine-and-heart-conditions-the-surprising-correlationMigraines are one of the most prevalent neurological conditions. They are so prevalent, in fact, that they afflict about 1 in 4 Americans. Often mistaken as just a terrible headache, migraines are way more complex and involve various symptoms such as a debilitating headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, vision problems, and sensitivity to sound, smells, and light.

What’s the exact cause of migraines? Despite it being a common disorder, this is a question that remains unanswered by scientists and medical researchers. More studies are underway to uncover more about their origin. What’s certain so far is that migraine sufferers face challenges each day, such as sleep disturbances and having to deal with anxiety and depression.

Even children may experience migraines. In fact, infantile colic is believed to be an early form of migraines. Another thing known about migraines is that people suffering from them are more susceptible to developing cardiovascular conditions.  

Migraine Sufferers at Higher Risk for Heart Problems

A recent study concluded that those with migraines might have a higher risk for developing heart conditions such as the following:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Abnormalities in their heart rate
  • Blood clot

Around 51,000 migraine patients and 510,300 non-migraine patients were involved in the research. After checking every patient’s history, it was revealed that migraine sufferers had a higher chance of developing problems with their heart and blood vessels than those without migraines.

For every 1,000 people who participated in the study, the following were the results:

  • Blood clot-related stroke – 45 migraine patients vs. 25 migraine-free patients
  • Heart attack – 25 migraine patients vs. 17 migraine-free patients
  • Irregular heartbeat – 47 migraine patients vs. 34 migraine-free patients
  • Life-threatening blood clots in their veins – 27 migraine patients vs. 18 migraine-free patients

While the data shows a correlation between migraines and heart conditions, researchers were not able to determine how they are related. They are looking at the possibility that the arteries in the brain may unexpectedly constrict when a person goes through a migraine attack, possibly resulting in an increased risk of stroke. Another theory is those migraine sufferers have the habit of lying down for an extended period, specifically if they have a chronic condition, which could easily cause blood clots. Lastly, they believe that high blood pressure, a common condition among migraine sufferers, may have its contribution.

The Link Between Migraines and Your Brainstem

The exact source of migraines remains a mystery in the medical field, but it is believed that migraines stem from problems within the brainstem. The brainstem sits in the topmost part of the neck, forming a junction at the base of your skull. When one of the vertebrae around the brainstem misaligns, it can result in malfunction. Two of the most critical vertebrae are called the atlas and axis, and they are part of the upper cervical spine. They are very mobile as they allow the head to move in all directions.

Many reasons can cause a misalignment in the upper cervical spine, including those listed below:

  • Birth trauma (e.g. forceps or vacuum extraction)
  • Falls
  • Car accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Work-related injuries
  • Concussion
  • High levels of physical or emotional stress

Any of these can result in misaligned bones in the upper cervical spine. Misalignments in this area put undue stress on the surrounding tissues, further irritating the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and the spinal cord.  Even the slightest misalignment of just millimeters can lead to big problems.

How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Eases Migraines

The upper cervical spine is probably the most complex region in the entire spine due to its shape and unique function for movement. Upper cervical chiropractors, including us here at Back in Action in Odessa, Missouri, are skilled and trained to take care of this area of the spine. We use scientific measurements and advanced imaging to spot any misalignment. We use extremely accurate adjustments based on each patient’s issues and needs. Unlike traditional chiropractic techniques, upper cervical adjustments are unique as we use a safe and gentle technique, never forceful with cracking the neck.  

Benefits of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

Correcting an upper cervical misalignment can benefit patients in multiple ways, including the chance of stopping migraines from ever occurring again. Some of its benefits are as follows:

  • Healthy blood flow – When a misalignment occurs, the regular blood flow within the head and neck are disrupted, leading to migraines and other types of headaches. You can regain the healthy flow of blood in your vessels once you get an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment.
  • Normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid – Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) brings nutrients to the spinal tissues. It is initially produced in the brain and then moves down from there. CSF also serves as a vehicle of the body to remove metabolic waste products from the tissues of the spine. Receiving an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment can help you restore the healthy flow of the CSF.
  • A well-functioning nervous system – Your spine protects the fragile spinal cord. The region nearest the neck – the upper cervical spine – contains the brainstem. A misalignment here can result in brainstem dysfunction, leading to several unpleasant conditions. By correcting the misalignment, your nervous system is more likely to function at its best.

If you seek a chiropractic clinic for migraines near Odessa, MO, Back in Action is the right choice. Our goal is to address the root cause of your migraines by ensuring these body systems are functioning at their optimum. Caring for your upper cervical spine can provide long-term relief to your migraine symptoms and other health conditions. To begin your upper cervical chiropractic care, call us for a free consultation.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/news/20180131/migraines-tied-to-higher-heart-trouble-risk#1

http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/

http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/headache/migraine