MIGRAINE & HEADACHE SPECIALIST SINGAPORE
Do you frequently experience headaches and migraines? Vitality Chiropractic uses specialist techniques to help you relieve tension that you feel around your head to get you feeling better.
WHAT ARE HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES?
Many medical doctors and health practitioners see a headache as something minor, despite the fact that millions of people complain of headaches every year. For those suffering from headaches, they understand that the pain can be disabling, impacting work, family life, hobbies, relationships with friends and finances. There are several main types of headaches (cluster headaches, tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, sinus headaches etc), with painkillers as the most common treatment offered (Read here about, How Our Approach is Different).
A headache can occur in the front, back or sides of the head. They can be more one-sided, bilateral or be felt all over. There may be associated symptoms into the neck, shoulders and arms, or even into the face, ears and eyes. There are different types of headaches with different causes. This could also include an injury, accident, posture or lifestyle factors. Other symptoms may include; fatigue, vomiting, nausea, visual and concentration problems, tingling or numbness into the arms, neck pain and depression.
Migraines are a form of a headache but are much less common. The pain is usually on one side of the head and can be of severe intensity. These migraines with throbbing pain can last from minutes to days and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances and sensitivity to light, sound or smell. For some sufferers there will be warning signs that come before the migraines start – this is known as aura. This can include blind spots, flashing lights, dizziness and tingling in the hands or face (Read more about Aura, here).
FACT: Many people may experience mild pain in their head at some point in their lives. But for others they will experience throbbing pain in the back of their heads due to many trigger factors such as stress, lifestyle, or even family history. This pain is normally associated with a headache. However, there is also another type of headache called ‘migraine’ where the intensity of pain is very different. At Vitality Chiropractic, we provide our patients with a long term solution to headache and migraine with special techniques that effectively reduce the re-occurrence of the problem.
Due to the throbbing and pulsing pressure felt in the head, early medical researchers believed this was due to high blood pressure or other vascular (blood flow) problems, thus prescribing medication to treat the blood vessels and block the pain signals. However, medication only provides a short-term effect on symptoms and do not solve and prevent migraines from re-occurring.
WHAT TRIGGERS HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES?
There can be a number of factors that trigger a headache or migraine attack. One common trigger between headaches and migraines is stress. Stress plays a big factor for most headache and migraine sufferers. When stressed, the brain works harder on mental and emotional tasks. With this reduced capacity, there is less focus on maintaining the body in its healthy balance, including regulation of the muscles and proper nerve function.
Other factors that trigger a headache:
- Head Movements: Moving the head quickly can irritate the muscles, especially if there’s a misalignment (subluxation) present. Strains the neck and can also incur dizziness and vertigo. This can also cause neck stiffness, hence triggering a headache. Existing head or neck injuries in medical history can also be a factor.
- Dehydration: A lack of water and high consumption of alcohol can cause headaches. Known as a secondary headache, it is due to the brain pulling away from the skull because of reduced liquid.
- Lack of sleep: Inadequate rest can weaken the immune system, thus affecting the body’s function to heal efficiently.
- Posture: Spending more time sitting, standing or hunched forward can affect the neck and head. Poor posture causes the head to move forward, increasing the strain and irritating the nerves and muscles of the neck. For every 2cm the head moves forward, the neck has an increased 5kg of work.
There are also factors that trigger a migraine:
- Food & drink: Chocolate, cheese and processed foods can trigger migraine attacks. Wine, other alcohols and caffeinated drinks can also trigger an attack. If you love eating this food but are a frequent migraine sufferer, this may be a sign to make some lifestyle changes!
- Medications: Side effects from oral contraceptives and vasodilators (heart disease) can trigger a migraine. This can be worsened for women by other hormonal medications, such as HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
- Physical injuries: Head and neck injuries can especially injure the nerves in the central nervous system, triggering or even being the initial cause of a migraine attack.
While these may all influence or trigger a migraine, none are the true causes of migraine. In fact, newer research proves that causes of migraine are related to a neurological problem starting in the brainstem (the top of the neck where the neck and head meet). This explains the other symptoms sufferers experience; such as changes in vision, balance, speech and focus; nausea, numbness/tingling and sensitivity to light and/or sound.
No matter the causes of headache or migraine, both attacks can be incapacitating, requiring time off work, stopping normal activities, and even time in solitude away from family and friends.
MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES
As mentioned before, people can get themselves confused over a headache and migraine because the symptoms may appear similar to each other. To understand the differences, we must first look at the two types of headaches that occur.
- Primary: Not caused by another underlying disease or condition. Their causes can be linked to pressure on the nerves, blood vessels or muscles in the head and neck. If there is a change in chemical activity in the brain (affecting the nerves) this can also be a cause.
- Secondary: Linked to another disease or condition, where headaches are a symptom or by-product of that condition. These could be caused by the flu, alcohol, sinusitis, tumours, blood clots, concussion, glaucoma or medications.
Often migraines are confused with tension type headaches. Tension headaches can be due to nerve irritation or muscle tightness, particularly around the neck and shoulders. Tension headache are seen commonly with psychological triggers, such as stress or anxiety. Tension headaches may be triggered by lack of sleep or other causes for increased fatigue.
The symptoms of migraines and cervicogenic headaches are also particularly similar as they both have proven neurological origins. Both can be unilateral (one-sided) and have nausea, vomiting and effects on eye site. The ways to differentiate them are:
|✅ Migraines can switch sides||✅ Migraines are more commonly triggered by foods, weather or medications||✅ Migraines can start from hormonal, inflammation, hereditary or other sources|
|❌ Cervicogenic stay on one side of the head||❌ Cervicogenic can arise from neck movements||❌ Cervicogenic commonly start after a physical injury to the neck, such as whiplash|
One type of migraine attack that people should be looking out for is hemiplegic migraines. Hemiplegic migraines are a rare and serious type of migraine that requires immediate medical attention. This mimics the symptoms of a stroke, such as weakness, numbness, dizziness, slurred speech, confusion and loss of the use of one half of the body; hence the name hemiplegic. Once a stroke has been ruled out, it can be treated like other forms of migraines.
HOW ARE HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis for headaches will first include a medical history and physical examination. This is to help triage the possible types of headache and exclude serious pathologies, such as tumours. Depending on whether suspected to be primary or secondary, the tests will vary. These may include:
- CT scans
- Blood work
- Nerve scans
Migraines are a well-established condition, however, there are no defined tests for diagnosis in medicine. Tests conducted by Medical Doctors may include CT scans or MRI’s to exclude other serious pathologies, such as a stroke or a tumour.
However, the majority of the diagnosis is made from the history conducted by the doctor. They will go through what you experienced and associated symptoms (such as sensitivity to light and nausea), but there is no definitive gold standard. The research indicates the irritation of the nerves in the neck and brain is the true cause, with the trigeminal nerve being a clinically indicated connected nerve.
At Vitality Chiropractic, we perform x-ray and nerve scans that are unique to Singapore to assess the condition of the upper neck to check for any presence of Subluxation. We also carry them out to detect any undiscovered nerve problem which may be contributing more to your headache and migraine attacks. We determine the cure based on the findings and our patients experience relief from YEARS of headaches and migraines within weeks.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS AVAILABLE FOR HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES IN SINGAPORE?
Treatment for headaches on the back of head, front or sides is primarily painkillers and muscle relaxants, counselling, pain management and even electronic medical devices.
Similar to headaches, the current treatment for migraines is medication. Over the years the forms of medications have changed. Previously they were focused on vascular/blood vessels, such as blood pressure-lowering beta-blockers. Now medical doctors prescribe medication to deal with the nerves and associated tight muscles, including:
- Pain relievers, such as triptans and opioids
- Anti-seizure medication
- Anti-nausea medication
- Botox injections
- Antibody injections
Other treatments by holistic practitioners may also suggest meditation, exercise, a sleep routine and drinking more water. These methods can be more helpful long term than medication, which may numb the symptoms only short term. However, the latest research shows that all these methods only provide short-term relief and doesn’t address the underlying cause.
In fact, people chronically using pain killers experience more painful headache and migraine attacks in the future. Analysis has revealed that the cause is often problems in the upper neck, irritating the nerves that supply information to the head, neck and face.
At Vitality Chiropractic, we find that the Upper Cervical Chiropractic technique has especially good success with frequent or chronic headaches by focusing on the cause rather than the symptoms. After care, patients are able to decrease or stop taking painkillers; allowing them to return to normal activities and go months without symptoms.
HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC TREAT HEADACHE AND MIGRAINE ATTACKS?
Chiropractors focus on the nerve system. Upper Cervical specific Chiropractors specialise in the bones in the top part of the neck, known as the Occiput, Atlas and Axis. This is the location of the Atlanto Occipital Articulation, as mentioned above, where Subluxation takes place. Upper Cervical Chiropractic focuses on the top part of the neck where the brainstem sits (C1 and C2), helping to reduce the neurological problem without relying on medication. This focus on the cause of the problem, rather than the symptoms, effectively helping patients reduce and eliminate the re-occurrence of headaches and migraines, including hemiplegic migraines.
FUN FACT: Studies have shown that over 90% of headache and migraine sufferers find a solution with Upper Cervical Chiropractic care!
VITALITY CHIROPRACTIC: HEADACHE AND MIGRAINE SPECIALIST IN SINGAPORE
At Vitality Chiropractic we specialise in the upper neck, with a proven history of helping patients with upwards of 20 years of migraines and headaches. We are the first to bring this technique to South East Asia and the only clinic to do so in Singapore. We use specialised equipment to scan the nerve system at every appointment, such as unique computed infrared thermography nerves scans and biomechanical x-rays to accurately diagnose the problem and provide treatment for headaches and migraines, thus giving our patients faster, effective and long-lasting results.
Our doctor of Chiropractic, Dr Shaan has undertaken additional post-graduate training in Upper Cervical Chiropractic care, has years of experience and has a history of helping patients to treat headaches and migraines.
Ready to give yourself relief from those migraine and headache disorders you’ve been suffering from for a long time? Contact us now at Vitality Chiropractic and let our chiropractor help you restore your health and life back. Call 8438 9550, email email@example.com or fill in your information below to book your appointment.
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