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One category that stands on its own is that of migraines. These types of headaches are entirely different from one’s previously mentioned. Migraines are typically experienced more by women than men. (3x more in common in women).  Migraines can range from annoying to debilitating. Migraines are quite frequently improperly diagnosed as many people think they have migraines but less than half that are diagnosed actually meet the clinical definition. Migraines can present with or without an aura.

There are even more rare cases of migraines that are much more severe in their effects and much more sudden of an onset.  These are “basilar” migraines, as they typically affect the “basilar” artery in the base of the brain. When these patient’s get symptoms, they are so severe they lose the ability to speak, see or hear.  These cases are typically very frightening for the patient initially but can end up being predictable after several occurrences, once the triggers for the migraine are understood.

What Are Migraine Symptoms?

A migraine aura is classically defined as sensory disturbances to the patient. These disturbances may be:

  • visual streaks of light (called scintillating scotoma)
  • photophobia (pain and aversion to light)
  • a loss of speech
  • a loss of vision
  • ”pins and needles” sensation to a specific region of the body


All of these symptoms are reversible and only present during a migraine, or just previous to it.  The symptoms may last between five minutes to 60 minutes.

Migraines without an aura, typically last between four and 72 hours in adults in between two and 48 hours in children. The pain experienced with a migraine may be one or two sided, and have varying qualities of discomfort. (Stabbing, shooting, and throbbing). In order to qualify as a migraine, a patient must have nausea/vomiting or photophobia.  Migraines have been seen to have a genetic component, as in if a parent gets migraines there is a higher likelihood that their children will. Migraines are also noted to have a large variety of nutritional triggers. There’s an extensive list of potential foods that may or may not cause migraines.

What Causes Migraines?

Migraines can also have structural causes, relating to blood pressure, muscle/fascial/tendon/ligament distortion.  These causes can usually be treated quite easily, and quickly, but if the original source of the problem is maintained e.g poor posture, then the condition returns.  As a chiropractor, these are the cases I see more frequently, where a neurologist/endocrinologist/nutritional would most commonly see those listed above.

I’ve spoken about one of the potential causes previously. The myodural bridge is the cause of many headaches, but the cause is typically poor upper body strength/activity which aggravates the muscle and ligamentous source at the base of the skull.

Migraine Treatments

Chiropractic care can typically aid migraine patients, but a thorough exam is required.  Physical triggers can very readily be treated by chiropractic manipulation. However, if triggers are nutritional and hormonal than physical treatment won’t be nearly as effective.  Dr. Herrington specializes in conducting thorough exams to ensure that the treatment is not only effective but accurate to the condition. If you suffer from migraines and think chiropractic care may help you then Herrington Family Chiropractic will be your best option!  Call 716-308-2881 today to schedule your appointment!

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