Migraines due to trauma to the head and neck are more common than most people realize. It doesn’t take a major blow to the head or neck to cause a problem that leads to migraines. And, oddly enough, the accident you experienced doesn’t have to be recent to be the culprit behind migraines. In some cases, the trauma may have occurred as long as 15 to 20 years ago, and the effects are just making themselves manifest now.
Some things that may cause migraines due to neck trauma are:
- Whiplash due to a car accident
- Tripping and falling
- Heading a soccer ball frequently during practice
- Physical altercations or abuse
- Football tackles
- Being shaken – -often the injury endured by shaken baby syndrome
- Bicycle accidents
Symptoms of Migraines Related to Neck Trauma
If you have experienced a blow to the head or neck resulting in the onset of migraines, you may be experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Pounding, throbbing head pain
- Head pain that worsens when you cough, bend forward, or move your head quickly
- Double vision
- Neck pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Problems hearing
- Tired eyes
- Problems remembering
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sense of taste and smell
- Extreme exhaustion
- Muscle spasms in the head, neck, shoulders, and back
- Trouble sleeping
- Vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Personality changes
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
Most of the time, migraines brought about my neck injury will occur immediately after or a few days following the neck injury. However, as mentioned, it can take many years for migraines to begin to occur. It is often difficult with these headaches to pinpoint exactly what the trauma was that started it.
Risk Factors for Migraines Occurring After a Neck Injury
There are certain risk factors showing who may be more prone to getting these kinds of migraines. For one thing, women are three times more likely to get migraines than men overall. The same holds true for migraines due to a neck injury. Also, if you are older, you are more likely to recover at a much slower rate than a younger person, increasing your risk of developing additional problems after a neck injury
Understanding Whiplash and Its Relation to Migraines
Whiplash occurs when the neck moves in a forceful, back and forth movement similar to cracking a whip. You may begin to feel better after about three months following the accident that caused the problem. However, there may be damage to the neck that has gone unobserved. For one thing, this type of accident impacts the C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) bones and often causes them to misalign. These bones are different than other bones of the spine because they have a great range of flexibility. This allows the head to move in many different directions. While this is a good thing, it also puts the bones at a higher risk of misaligning. Really, anything that causes the muscles of the neck to overstretch or overextend can cause misalignments to the atlas and axis. This is often the reason for migraines to begin to occur, whether it is immediately after the injury or many months or years later.
When the atlas and axis move out of place, they put the brainstem under stress. The brainstem is the communication highway of the body. The atlas and axis were designed to protect this delicate part of the nervous system. Therefore, a misalignment by these bones does the opposite. It causes pressure on the brainstem and leads to improper signals being sent to the brain.
Another issue that may ensue due to a misalignment of the atlas or axis is they can act as a blockage to the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow coming from and going to the brain and body. If too much fluid builds up in the brain, a migraine can occur. If not enough oxygen-rich blood can reach the brain, a migraine can occur. This is why it is so vital to get help from a professional who understands how this process works immediately following any kind of whiplash-type injury to the neck keeping you from developing further problems down the road. Who can help in this situation?
Migraine Treatment Pleasant Hill
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Helps Whiplash Victims
It is a good idea to make a visit to us here at Evoke Spinal Care in Pleasant Hill, California. Upper cervical chiropractors are specially trained to find the tiny misalignments that exist in the atlas and axis. It only takes a misalignment of ¼ of a millimeter to cause a number of serious health issues in the body. In addition to migraines, you may experience fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, vertigo, scoliosis, and a number of other conditions. By correcting the misalignment, many of these ailments improve or go away entirely. This is true of migraines connected to neck trauma, as well.
We use detailed imaging and scientific measurements to confirm a misalignment and its exact location. We then use a method that differs greatly from traditional chiropractic. We do not pop or crack the neck to get positive results. Rather, the technique used is very gentle and allows the bones to move back in place more naturally. This helps them to stay in place longer than using force to reposition them. By realigning the atlas and axis bones, the body can begin to heal from the damage incurred during whiplash. This can help you to begin feeling better much sooner than if you did not address the problem and avoid migraines and complications later in life.