Migraines continue to be the topic of numerous studies and research papers, and for good reason. While migraines affect 37 million people in the US alone (that’s about 1 in 8 people), shockingly little is understood about this condition. The one thing the medical community seems to agree on is that they keep coming back to the brainstem and blood flow as the source of the problem.
Genetic Research Points to a Vascular Cause
A huge study completed this year involved the study of tens of thousands of migraine patients and control cases. Geneticists were trying to find a connection between migraines and vascular problems by looking at genetic markers and comparing the difference between migraine and non-migraine patients. What were the results?
38 regions of the human genome were pinpointed as relating to migraine patients. Not surprisingly, many of these genes also play a role in vascular function. As a result, it seems that some may be predisposed to vascular issues that result in migraines. This helps make the connection between migraines and blood flow problems even clearer. But blood flow isn’t the only thing that affects the condition.
Neurological Factors of Migraines
We also clearly understand that migraines are neurological in nature. The particular part of the brain that researchers have pinpointed is the brainstem. The brainstem along with trigeminal nerve are the body’s primary route for sensing pain. Brain chemistry also plays a role as serotonin levels and other factors are involved in the central nervous system’s ability to regulate pain.
Because of this, it becomes clear that both neurological and vascular function need to be the focus when a patient suffers from migraines. Regardless of what triggers a migraine attack for patients—food and drink, weather changes, missing meals, not getting enough sleep—reducing the frequency and severity of migraines on a long-term basis has to come back to reaching the underlying cause.
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Migraine Research Shows Benefits of Upper Cervical Care
That brings us to a 2015 report on how NUCCA care helped improve quality of life for migraine patients. NUCCA is a particular form of upper cervical chiropractic and is the methodology we adhere to at Mountain State Wellness. NUCCA involves a low force correction. That means you don’t experience the neck jerking and twisting involved in general chiropractic but rather a gentler approach. What are the benefits of such a technique?
When the neck is moved roughly, more swelling takes place, and the body immediately tries to correct the damage. When the correction is gentle, the body doesn’t have the same reaction. As a result, realignment lasts longer giving the body more time to heal.
What Does the Neck Have to Do with the Brainstem and Blood Flow?
If the atlas (C1 vertebra) is misaligned, even slightly, such a subluxation can place pressure on the brainstem. This is because the C1 houses and protects the brainstem right where it meets up with the spinal cord.
Blood flow to and from the brain can also be restricted as the quality of life study noted above mentions in its conclusion. The study found that individuals who had suffered a concussion at some point in life experienced a problem with venous drainage.
Migraines and Head Trauma
If you have ever experienced any degree of head injury and now have migraines, it is important to see if the atlas is properly aligned. Otherwise, the subluxation may be causing drainage issues that eventually led to the migraines.
A correction may allow proper flow to resume and symptoms to be reduced. You may be just one consultation away from learning where your pain is really coming from.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lucas Watterson or Dr. Amy Watterson call our Morgantown office at 304-292-7740 You can also click the button below.