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A migraine is a form of headache often characterized by a pounding or thudding sensation on one side or at the front of the head.  It is often accompanied by other symptoms including nausea, dizziness, stiffness in the neck or back and visual disturbance.  Migraines with a visual disturbance or stiff neck in the lead up to the onset of a headache are described as a migraine with aura or classic migraine.  Migraines which occur without a warning and which are characterized by a pounding across the head are called migraine without aura or a common migraine.


Symptoms associated with migraines include a pounding headache, which may begin at the front or side of the head but then may move to another part of the head.  One or more of the following symptoms often accompany the headache:

  • Ÿ Dizziness, difficulty talking or concentrating
  • Ÿ Stiffness in the neck, shoulders and back
  • Ÿ Nausea, abdominal cramps or vomiting
  • Ÿ Visual disturbance
  • Ÿ Increased sensitivity to light, smells or sound
  • Ÿ Hot flushes and sweats


A chiropractic consultation will also look at lifestyle and medical history factors that may contribute to the tendency to experience migraine.  There may be certain triggers that the sufferer can avoid or ways to keep relaxed and release tension in the back and neck through regular exercise and massage or manipulation of the back.


Many people use common painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin to treat the pain of a migraine.  Some people also find anti-inflammatory, anti-sickness or triptan (which constricts blood vessels) medication is effective against the symptoms.  Always consult a doctor or pharmacist before using medications in combination.  Reducing stress through breathing or relaxation techniques can help at the very early stages of a migraine.  It is reported that acupuncture and reflexology can also help reduce the regularity and severity of migraines.

A chiropractic practitioner can help migraine sufferers by reducing stress and tightness in the back, neck and shoulders.  Chiropractic adjustment can also help blood flow and mobility in the back, which may offer some relief.

Many studies show that alternative treatments can complement mainstream medicine. A study from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Bloomington, Minnesota, compared chiropractic manipulation with amitriptyline, an antidepressant commonly used to treat migraines. The study found that chiropractic healing was about as successful as the drug

Chiropractors believe that some migraines originate in the spine. Often a misalignment of the vertebrae, or subluxation, can irritate the nerves that travel the length of the spine to the brain. This misalignment makes a person more prone to chemical imbalances in the brain. Some researchers say that realigning the vertebrae—a chiropractor’s specialty—relieves the pressure against inflamed nerves and can in turn relieve the headaches.

For migraines caused by subluxation, chiropractors recommend gently stretching the neck—rolling and sudden movements should be avoided. To prevent subluxations, pay attention to your posture. For example, if you sit for long periods in front of a computer, move your body around frequently. Also, sleep on your side or back, and use a firm pillow that supports your neck.


I had been in pain for months and all it did was continue to get worse. Then I was refered to Dr. Dylan Altfeld. He is a masterful healer! A few visits to Dr. Dylan was all it took and my pain was gone! Thanks Doc!

Allan James

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