Is Your Headache a Migraine?

By: Dr. St. Jean

Migraine headache is an extremely debilitating group of neurological symptoms. It can actually attack anyone. You either may know someone who is afflicted by migraine or you yourself may be impaired with it. In this article, we’re going to talk about how you can tell whether or not the headache you’re experiencing is actually a migraine to help you on your way to recovery!

We treat headaches and migraines here in the clinic all the time. Patients come in and immediately think that because they saw on the website that one of the conditions we specialize in is headaches and migraines, that they must have a migraine. However, what is exactly a migraine?

Migraine Overview

Migraine is a type of headache; however, not all headaches are migraines. It’s important to actually figure out the cause and type of your headache because that will direct us in terms of what types of treatments will be relevant to you and how we can get you out of pain.

There’s a really important distinction between headache and migraine. Migraines are common. If you have a headache, there’s a chance that you may have it. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that every headache that you have is a migraine.

If you are concerned about migraine and headaches, or have other health inquiries, book your intro consult today at Unity Chiropractic Center in Lincoln Park, Chicago: http://unitychirocenter.com/wellness-center/.

Migraine Statistics

Females are about 3 times as likely to experience migraines as compared to their male counterparts. We can back it up with statistics in our clinic. The migraine population we treat is definitely predominantly female.

You know what’s really bad about people with migraine? If we had to throw a number out there, 50% to 60% of them are completely being mistreated. It’s really unfortunate because those of you who have migraine or know someone who has migraine knew that it’s a debilitating condition and to not be treated properly or to be evaluated properly is really a shame.

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Most people, when they have a headache, their first thought process is to go to a primary. It may make sense to an extent. However, a lot of times, primaries are not aware of practitioners who does functional medicine with functional neurology, chiropractic, and rehab. There’s not too many of us and that’s probably why we’re not the frontline for this type of stuff. This is unfortunate because a lot of people would be saving time and frustrating symptoms if they knew about us.

What happens usually is, a patient goes to their primary. The primary then sends you to a conventional neurology and maybe order a scan (e.g. MRI). This will rule out structural things that mimic migraines. They’re going to figure out structural issues related to it. It’s good because you want to make sure you don’t have a tumor, but the problem with that is most of the time migraines are not structural. A lot of times, they’re actually functional.

Lincoln Chiropractic ChicagoYou need to go, dig a little bit, and use you’re detective hat when it comes to migraine patients. There’s a bunch of different potential causes that need to be considered. Usually, you will receive some kind of script for a medication. Eventually, overtime, the medication will not work as well or you get sick of taking it and then you will land in our office.

Signs and Symptoms of Migraines

How will you know that the headaches you’re experiencing is actually a migraine? You will probably experience one or more of the following:

  • Pulsating, throbbing-type pain, that is usually on one side of the head. You can have migraine that occurs on both sides of your head, but most of the time, it’s on one side.
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and/or smell. You may encounter that even just a dim light in the room is just way too intense that you prefer complete darkness. Normal sounds such as birds may actually need to be eliminated. Mowing the lawn will drive you absolutely nuts and smell of someone’s cooking may also trigger a migraine. Often, you’ll report feeling nauseous or you’ll even vomit.
  • There’s a whole other host of symptoms that can occur as well ranging from autonomic, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. These can be intense sweating, cold hand and feet, mental confusion, dizziness, severe fatigue, temporary paralysis, or numbness and tingling.

It’s quite scary if you don’t know that you’re having a migraine. These symptoms last a long time and can range anywhere from 4 to 72 hours (average 4 to 24 hours), but we’ve seen patients that are up toward the 72-hour mark or even further. We can say that’s a long time to be experiencing this type of pain.Lincoln Chiropractic Chicago

If you’re watching this video and experiencing these types of symptoms and you don’t know if you have migraines, don’t just assume you have migraine. You really need to get an evaluation, whether that is with myself or another qualified practitioner, you need to figure out what’s going on because these symptoms are not just specific to migraine. They overlap with some more serious condition, so go get yourself checked out.

Prodrome

About 60% or more of patients will experience something what you call a prodrome. This is basically a change in the overall well-being of patient. Prodrome can occur days to maybe even a few hours before the migraine. It’s just a slight change. Maybe you’ll be a little bit more tired, really thirsty, or have some food cravings. Maybe you’ll be sensitive to light. Overtime, the brain gets better at experiencing migraines and it’ll be able to easily pick up if there’s a prodrome.

Aura

An aura is different. This happens before the migraine which can be visual, sensory, and motor changes or a combination of those. It just varies depending on the patient. The aura is way more intense than a prodrome.

These are not every day, run-of-the-mill type of symptoms. If you’re experiencing them, and you don’t know you have migraines, go get checked out.

For more information on migraine headache and headaches in general, click the link below. There’s a link to our video blog with tons of great information on natural treatments or health challenges that you might be suffering from. If you want to work with myself and want to go to the root cause of your migraine or headaches, book your intro consult today at Unity Chiropractic Center in Lincoln Park, Chicago: http://unitychirocenter.com/wellness-center/.

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