Migraines—Looking to the Brainstem, Nerves, and Neurochemistry

Migraines—Looking to the Brainstem, Nerves, and Neurochemistry

Migraines are so common that it is thought as many as 1 in 7 people globally are affected by what it is becoming clear is a neurovascular condition. While the neurological side of things has been understood for quite some time now, researchers are taking a long look at how blood flow affects migraine occurrence.

A Genetic Study Involving Migraines

Researchers looked at information on hundreds of thousands of people, both those who get migraines and those who do not, to find if there were genetic differences in migraines sufferers. As a result of the study, researchers have identified 38 connections to migraines in the genes.

The interesting fact is that these same genes indicate vascular problems, particularly those focused on blood supply. This all points to migraines having a vascular connection besides just a neurological one. Knowing this is supposed to be beneficial to scientists who are searching for migraine drugs that treat people who fall into very specific subcategories.

The Problem with Migraine Medication

Doctors are quick to admit that finding the right drug for a migraine patient is a bit of a guessing game. What works for one person may do nothing for another. The medical community realizes that this is because the cause of migraines in patients varies as do the genetics and environmental factors involved in each case.

While geneticists hope that dividing patients into subcategories is the key to determining which meds will work best for which patients, there is one fact that does not change. Modern migraine medications are just covering the symptoms and are not fixing the underlying problem.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraine headaches download our complimentary e-book NATURAL AND DRUG-FREE WAYS TO END YOUR MIGRAINES by clicking the image below.

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Neurological Causes of Migraines

The primary part of the brain that the medical community recognizes as playing a key role in migraines is the brainstem. The brainstem and the trigeminal nerve, in particular, are the primary pathway through which the body discerns pain. There are also many brain chemicals that play a role in pain regulation such as serotonin. All of these factors need to be considered when migraines are being addressed.

It is no wonder that migraine triggers seem to differ from person to person. One patient may experience migraines after missing a meal or not getting enough sleep. Another patient may experience migraines when a storm front blows through or certain foods and drinks are consumed.

The Connection Between the Brainstem and the Atlas

The atlas, or C1 vertebra, is the uppermost bone in the spine. It is a very special part of the spine and has a unique shape that allows for flexible movement of the head. It is also positioned right at the base of the skull and actually houses part of the brainstem. For this reason, anything that affects the C1 has the potential to affect the brainstem and everything from how the brain process pain to neurochemistry.

What may affect the C1 vertebra? Head and neck trauma can easily result in a subluxation of the atlas. Such a trauma could be from a car accident, a sports injury, a fall, or anything else that can result in something like whiplash or a concussion.

NUCCA Study Shows Benefits for Migraine Patients

NUCCA is the particular form of upper cervical chiropractic care that we offer at Sherwood Spinal Care. Research performed in 2015, revealed that patients with migraines experienced better quality of life after receiving NUCCA care. The research also shows the connection between concussions and the neurovascular conditions that lead to migraines such as secondary venous drainage.

If you experience migraines, especially if you have suffered trauma to the head and/or neck in the past, please consider coming in for an examination of your upper cervical spine. If a subluxation is revealed, correcting it may be your first step in recovering from many of the symptoms of migraines.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Sherwood call 425-227-0111 or just click the button below:

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If you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com

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