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Does your headache stop you from working or doing routine daily
activities? Do you have to lie down in a dark room with the lights off
when your headache comes on? If this sounds like you, then you may
suffer from migraines.

What is a migraine?

A migraine is more than just a headache. It is a complex condition
that encompasses a wide variety of symptoms. For most people, the
dominant feature is a painful headache that is typically one-sided,
pulsating, and is of moderate to severe intensity. Although migraines
can present with many different symptoms, including disturbed vision,
nausea, vomiting, and light, sound or smell sensitivity (1, 2).

Migraines typically last 4-72 hours and when a migraine comes on it can have an enormous impact on a persons work, family and social lives.


What causes migraines?

Whilst migraine treatment has come a long way in the past 30 years,
there is still no known cause for migraine. Most people who suffer from
migraines are genetically predisposed to it; with up to 90% of migraine
suffers having a positive family history. Many migraine suffers have
similar migraine triggers which can include lack of sleep, lack of food,
increased stress levels, alcohol and a change in environment.

Types of migraines

The two most common types of migraines are those with aura and those
without aura. Migraines with aura either have nausea and/or vomiting or
photophobia (light sensitivity)/phonophobia (noise sensitivity).

There are two types of migraine severity- Chronic migraine having
more than 15 migraines a month for more than 3 months.- Episodic
migraine less frequent than chronic.

However not everyone with the typical migraine and your migraine may present differently.

Is it a headache or is it a migraine?

Differentiating between different types of headaches can be difficult. People experience different types of headaches at different times of their lives for various reasons. For example people who suffer from cervicogenic headaches can also suffer from migraine headaches. Consulting a health care professional is the best start to finding out what type of headache you may be suffering from. Keeping a headache diary that tracks the frequency, intensity, severity and duration of your headache can be a great help when diagnosing your headache.

Migraine treatment

Due to the complex nature of a migraine, there are many different
treatments available. Different people find certain treatments achieve
better results when compared with others. Unfortunately, there is
currently no cure for migraine.

Pharmacological treatment this can be broken down into pain-relieving and preventative medications

  • Pain-relieving medications for treatment of an acute migraine attack
    and are designed to stop the symptoms. This is taken when a person has a
    migraine or feels the migraine coming on (prodome). They include Non
    Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as Aspirin or ibuprofen
    and paracetamol.
  • Preventative treatment these drugs are taken on a regular basis
    (often daily) in order to help reduce the severity and/or frequency of
    migraines. They include beta-blockers and certain types of anti
    epileptics antidepressants.
  • In cases of chronic migraine, Botox injections have been show to
    have mild to moderate effect. Botox is injected once every 12 weeks (3).

You should always consult your General Practitioner or Pharmacist before taking a new drug.

Chiropractic treatment

  • Migraines are often associated with upper neck and upper back
    dysfunctions. Joint restrictions and trigger points (knots) through the
    surrounding muscular can lead to the development of a migraine.
    Chiropractic treatment can help migraine suffers through treating these
    dysfunctions, which allows the neck and back to move freely and in turn
    has been shown to decrease migraine frequency, intensity, duration and
    severity (4-7).

If you have any questions on migraines or how chiropractic can help you give the clinic a call on (02) 99226116 or visit our clinic at “Walker House”, Level 3, Suite 304, 161 Walker Street, North Sydney for more information.

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The
information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and
other material contained in this discussion are for informational
purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad
consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not
intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis
or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding
a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health
care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay
in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.


  1. Chaibi A, Saltyte Benth J, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Chiropractic
    spinal manipulative therapy for migraine: a study protocol of a
    single-blinded placebo-controlled randomised clinical trial. BMJ open.
  2. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition
    (beta version). Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache.
  3. Khalil M, Zafar HW, Quarshie V, Ahmed F. Prospective analysis of the
    use of OnabotulinumtoxinA (BOTOX) in the treatment of chronic migraine;
    real-life data in 254 patients from Hull, U.K. The journal of headache
    and pain. 2014;15:54.
  4. Tali D, Menahem I, Vered E, Kalichman L. Upper cervical mobility,
    posture and myofascial trigger points in subjects with episodic
    migraine: Case-control study. Journal of bodywork and movement
    therapies. 2014;18(4):569-75.
  5. Ghanbari A, Askarzadeh S, Petramfar P, Mohamadi M. Migraine responds
    better to a combination of medical therapy and trigger point management
    than routine medical therapy alone. NeuroRehabilitation.
  6. Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Manual therapies for migraine: a
    systematic review. The journal of headache and pain. 2011;12(2):127-33.
  7. Tuchin PJ, Pollard H, Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of
    chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. J Manipulative
    Physiol Ther. 2000;23(2):91-5.

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