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Mechanisms of Migraine- Understanding the Headache

migraineMigraine is a severe and distressing headache which can disrupt the normal day to day life. It usually has symptoms and multiple sensory warnings such as blind spots, flashes of lights, tingling in arms and legs, nausea, and enhanced sensitivity to sound and light. South Perth Chiropractor, Dr. Adam Rocchi explains that the excruciating migraine pain can last for hours or even days.

The number of people affected by migraine has increased over the years possibly due to the increased awareness. It’s Migraine Awareness week in September, and under the initiative Headache Australia, a division of The Brain Foundation, aims not only at raising public awareness but also helps in raising funds for support programs.

Migraine typically affects people between age group of 35-45 years of age. However, it can first appear during childhood or early adulthood as well.  However, Perth Chiropractor, Dr. Adam Rocchi clarifies that migraine is less common in children and affects boys and girls equally but in adults, it disproportionately affects women.

Symptoms of Migraine

The International Headache society has defined following as the migraine symptoms –

  1. Pain can be either one-sided, throbbing, moderate to severe or aggravated by movement
  2. Migraine is associated with at least one of the following conditions such as; vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound or sensitivity to smell.
  3. The headache lasts for between 4 – 72 hours.
  4. Difficulty in concentrating or confusion.
  5. Diarrhoea
  6. Stiffness in neck and shoulders
  7. Tingling feeling in limbs
  8. Speech disturbance
  9. In acute cases which are very rare a person may lose consciousness.

Causes and triggers of Migraine

Migraine is basically caused by the interaction between the brain and the pain control mechanisms.  In many people pain control is impaired causing the headaches to be triggered.  In addition tight muscles and dysfunction in the neck can set off a migraine.

Some people who suffer from migraine pain can easily identify the triggering factors that cause headache, but many of them cannot. However, Adam describes following as the potential triggering factors –

  1. Allergic reaction or allergies
  2. Physical stress such as tiredness, jet lag or excessive exercising.
  3. Emotional stress, anxiety, depression, tension or even excitement.
  4. Bright or flickering lights, loud noise, smell, and temperature changes.
  5. Change in sleeping patterns or irregular sleep.
  6. Excessive smoking, alcohol.
  7. Dehydration
  8. Skipping meals or fasting that causes low blood sugar
  9. Hormonal triggers such as menopause, birth control pills or menstrual cycle fluctuations.
  10. Certain food items that contains tyramine, MSG, nitrates, dairy products, chocolates etc.

Diagnose and Treatment

There are no specific tests to confirm the diagnosis of migraine. However, the International Headache Society defines that if a person suffers from 5 or more attacks of headache which last for 4 hours to 3 days with pulsating pain, aggravated by certain activity, and is associated with nausea or any kind of sensitivity can be migraine. Dr. Rocchi ( chiropractor ) advises that a patient should keep a diary of symptoms, noting down the triggering points and the time of onset for better diagnosis and treatment. He also advises that certain lifestyle alterations can help in reducing the frequency of pain such as-

  1. Reducing stress
  2. Getting enough sleep
  3. Drinking plenty of water
  4. Avoiding certain food items
  5. Regular physical exercise

However, Adam also recommends that to treat the migraine pain, chiropractic treatments can be very effective. Dr. Rocchi ( chiropractor ) uses a computerized instrument which directs low force impulses to restricted areas of the spine to try and improve movement in the segment. He also uses the Trigenics Neurological Treatment system for treating soft tissues and muscle pains that may be contributing to the migraine headaches.

So, if you feel that you have any of the above symptoms then call (08) 61508783 South Perth to arrange an appointment.


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