Migraines and Their Connection to Inflammation

Migraines are not only inconvenient and uncomfortable but also can be entirely disabling. Unfortunately, they are also very common, disrupting the lives of approximately 39 million in the United States and up to 1 billion around the world. This is why many choose to consult a Stow migraine chiropractor instead of choosing to suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Throbbing and pounding head pain usually on one side
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to bright light, loud noise, and certain smells
  • Visual disturbances

Recent research has revealed that inflammation may be the source of migraines, and therefore, reducing inflammation in the body can reduce migraines. Let’s take a closer look at what inflammation is and how it causes migraines.

More About Inflammation

Inflammation is a way that the body protects itself from foreign substances. One of the active components of this process are white blood cells, which aid in protecting us from viruses and bacteria. When the inflammatory response is engaged, it works to destroy, wall off, or dilute the danger to the body. Problems arise when the body’s immune system triggers an inflammatory response unnecessarily. If no foreign invaders are present and inflammation is triggered, other health problems can occur, such as arthritis. Without anything to fight off, the body begins attacking and damaging its own tissues.

Inflammation generally includes the following symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Redness
  • Loss of joint function
  • Swelling of the joints that may be warm to the touch
  • Joint stiffness

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines and other headaches download our complimentary e-book Natural and Drug-Free Ways to End Your Migraines below.

Migraine Specialist in Stow Ohio

However, migraines do not include these particular symptoms. So, how is it that inflammation can cause migraines?

Usually pain and inflammation are connected, but migraines were not considered an inflammatory disease. It has previously been thought that migraine pain was related to the abnormal dilation of the intracranial blood vessels. However, this commonly known vascular theory has never been proven.

Migraines are the only headache type that are linked to inflammation. A physiologist, Hans Selye, was the one who originally came up with the idea that stress and inflammation could be connected. He explains how stress is triggered because of changes in the body. This can include hormone secretion (cortisol, adrenalin, etc.). Your body only recognizes stress, not exactly the type you have. For example, being in a car accident or having the flu are both read as the same stressors in the body. Both are just experienced as stress to the body, regardless of the cause.

Stress hormones are secreted by the direction of the brain. The brain senses changes in the body and sends a message to the glands to get to work. This stress reaction is also known as the “fight or flight” response.

Cortisol is a steroid that the body uses for controlling excess inflammation to prevent us from having to little or too much. Unfortunately, cortisol can run out when the stress you are enduring goes on for a long time period. Your adrenal glands become exhausted, similar to other parts of the body. As soon as cortisol runs out, your body will begin to excrete adrenalin for a short time. This raises your heart rate, blood sugar, and gives you the sensation that you are in a race for your life.

Interestingly, chronic (long-term) steroid excretion by the body causes the same effects as aging:

  • Skin atrophy
  • Bone loss
  • High blood sugar
  • Diabetes
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Wrinkles

A theory that some researchers believe is that aging is actually a form of stress.

How Are Migraines and Inflammation Linked?

The trigeminal nerve is a large nerve that provides nerve sensations to the head and the face, two areas that are specifically related to migraines. This nerve is also responsible for regulating the blood vessels that provide the coverings around the brain. When testing this nerve, researchers placed an electrode on it and stressed it, which caused the blood vessels in the brain to dilate. This resulted in white blood cells flooding into the surrounding area. This is an example of the inflammation mentioned above. If you were to come in contact with poison ivy, the inflammatory response works to dilate blood vessels where the irritation is located. When the vessels dilate, this causes the white cells to leak into the tissue that’s being affected so they can fight the toxin or the infection. In the same way that the body responds to poison ivy by flooding the area with white cells to fight the stress, it also reacts to problems within the area of the brain, flooding it with white cells in order to combat the problem. The difference is that the flood of white blood cells to the brain can cause migraines. So, why is the trigeminal nerve becoming stressed?

A Way to Alleviate Migraines

With a more thorough understanding of the migraine and inflammation connection, it is important to identify the cause of the inflammation. There has been repeated research showing that migraines are connected to a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. The C1 and C2 vertebrae are designed to protect the brainstem and the nerves that travel through this area of the spinal cord to the brain. Problems can ensue if they become misaligned from a mild blow to the head or neck, which would place stress or pressure on the brainstem, impacting other related components such as the trigeminal nerve. If the misalignment is not tended to in a timely manner, the trigeminal nerve could remain under stress, causing migraines, as mentioned above.

Here at Besso Clinic of Chiropractic, we focus on the alignment and health of the upper cervical spine. Our chiropractor for migraine in Stow, OH uses a gentle method that encourages the bones to return into their correct position, never applying strong force or requiring popping the neck or cracking the spine. Instead, our technique results in longer-lasting results. Many of our patients have reported dramatic improvement in migraines after getting their spine corrected in this area. In fact, some patients see their migraines resolve entirely.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with the Besso clinic call (330) 689-1234 or just click the button below:

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Feel Better. Work Better. Live Better.
Besso Clinic of Chiropractic
4015 Darrow Rd. Suite A
Stow, Ohio 44224
[email protected](330) 689-1234
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