Migraine Relief Simplified

Posted on: January 16th, 2019

What is a migraine?

If you’ve ever suffered from a migraine, then you know just how debilitating they can become.

A migraine is not only a headache. It’s a debilitating headache that can affect one side or the other of your head.

Typically migraines come with some kind of aura before onset. An aura can sometimes be a strange smell, sensitivity to light, or confusion. Auras can present differently for each migraine sufferer.

Most people with migraines will find themselves wanting to be in a dark room, away from light and sounds.

Some migraines will last only a few hours, while others can last for days. They can be chronic and occur for days at a time over the course of several years. According to the Mayo Clinic, 3 million new cases of migraines are diagnosed each year.

How do migraines happen?

A lot of people that get migraines think that they’re caused by some sort of “trigger”, such as certain foods, smells, or lights, for example. But really, they’re caused by overall lifestyle.

Migraines are the end result when the body has too many stresses.

Stressors come in 3 varieties (for a visual on this, see the video):

  1. Physical stress. These are activities that can be repetitive and ongoing or large, impact activities you’ve done. This can include trauma or injuries. Usually, these change our posture and how we function.

Your body can handle a certain amount of these physical stresses at all times, but when we get over the amount we can handle, we then have to eat up and utilize some of the space that’s available for the other types of stresses.

  1. Chemical stress. This refers to the food we eat, the water we drink, the medications we take, and the air we breathe. These are any chemicals we expose our bodies to.
  2. Emotional Stress. This has to do with the relationships with people in our lives; spouse, kids, parents, coworkers, colleagues, etc. It could even be the person with road rage we’re driving by on the road.


All three of these stressors need to stay below our total capacity for stress. When it goes beyond that total capacity, symptoms begin to appear, and for people susceptible to migraines, migraines kick in.

Most people that suffer from migraines live at a threshold that’s close to the total threshold area. Then, when they’re exposed to their “trigger,” it winds up throwing them way beyond their threshold, then the migraine happens.

It’s important to manage the levels of each stress on a daily basis. You want to create a large “buffer” of stress capacity so you’re able to handle any additional stress you’re exposed to from one of your triggers.

Here at Align Wellness Center, we specialize in managing the physical stresses, making sure your body can recognize and adapt to all 3 types easily, quickly, and safely.

In most cases, migraines stem from the upper component of the spine and part of the spinal cord. Chiropractic care works on the spine and nervous system to relieve tension.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, there are two big factors in whether or not you wind up having migraines express themselves or not. These are:

  • Stress and stress management
  • Sleep cycles

These are not the auras that occur right before your migraine happens, but are factors in your life that can trigger the onset.

So before you get a migraine, or before another migraine happens, let’s introduce two things you can do to prevent it.

  1. Stress management
  2. Things to help with sleep

Here at Align Wellness Center, we’re big fans of doing things naturally. Here are some of the many ways to help with stress management and getting better sleep:

  • Go outside throughout the day to get fresh air.
  • Take some deep breaths.
  • Go for a walk.
  • If you can’t get outside, go for a walk inside. Do laps in the building.
  • Move your body; do jumping jacks, high knees, wave your arms, etc.
  • If you’re worried about being seen, move to a stairwell or an empty conference room with no one around and move your body there.

Movement helps to manage stress and will decrease your likelihood of getting another migraine.

How else can you prevent another migraine?

Drink more water.

If you have a migraine or you’ve had them in the past, drink more water. Migraines can be triggered by dehydration.

How much water should you be drinking a day? Typically the rule is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs., you should be drinking 100 oz. of water every day.

If you’re not drinking enough water, a good way to increase your intake is to add just one cup of water a day, every day for a week. The next week, add one more cup of water every day. This is a good way to slowly get your water intake where it needs to be without having to run to the restroom all the time.

A good way to make sure you get enough water is to split it up quarterly throughout the day. If you need 100 oz., drink 25 oz. in the morning, 25 oz. early in the day, 25 oz. in the afternoon, and another 25 oz. in the evening.

You can come up with your own system that works for you. Also, it may help to carry a water bottle around with you throughout the day.

If you have a migraine now, try sipping on 16 oz. of water.

Many people think that caffeine will help with a migraine. It can help sometimes, but if a migraine is from dehydration it can worsen symptoms, so it’s best to consume just water to hydrate.

Apply heat or cold pack.

It can be tough to know whether to use heat or cold, so try cold first. If that doesn’t work, try heat.

Here at Align Wellness Center, our packs are hot and cold. If you’d like to try one, reach out to us to see if they’re right for you.

Also, if neither hot nor cold have worked for you, we may need to dig a little deeper into the problem to see what we can do for you.

If you’re currently experiencing a migraine…

If you have an active migraine, go into a dark room. This allows for your body to be exposed to less stress and get over your symptoms quicker and easier.

Essential oils such as peppermint or rosemary may help to reduce overall systemic inflammation. Oils can be used in different ways including in a diffuser or applying them topically.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do when you’re in a migraine. What will help you is what you do between migraines to manage the stressors that put you in that state?

Unfortunately, most people don’t look to the natural, safe, and effective treatment of chiropractic care.

What can Align Wellness Center do for you?

Here in the office, we can help most sufferers reduce the severity, frequency, and intensity of their migraines.


An exercise we may try with you is called the “turtle.”  Now I am going to suggest not guessing yourself, but some help from a spinal corrective doctor.  We can help you find someone to determine this.

In this exercise you will:

  • Stand against a wall.
  • Push your head as far forward as you can.
  • Slightly look up.
  • Bring your head back and down over your shoulders.
  • Do this for 3-5 minutes a day.

If there is a misalignment in your cervical spine from the side, this can help to re-stack each vertebra and warm up the tissue and muscles so they’re ready for an adjustment or tractioning.

To get a better understanding of this exercise, watch the video to see how it’s done.

Chiropractic adjustment.

A chiropractic adjustment can take the pressure off your spine and nerves. Sometimes, we use our hands and sometimes we use tools to help with this. Sometimes it will make a noise, and sometimes it won’t.

Adjustments can be made by applying pressure or by applying a quick force, but they are all pain-free.

We can use a cervical spine adjustment if needed for treatment of migraines. Dr. Gregg will feel your head and neck to determine if an adjustment is needed. He feels for muscle spasms or irritated muscles. Then he checks the motion in your neck to feel if some areas are restricted, locked, or not moving.

Other adjustments are a sustained hold, as seen in the video.

An ArthroStim, as shown in the video, is a tool that may also be used for an adjustment. Some people call it a “thumper” and some say it looks like a power tool. It places impulses and pressure on the neck and upper back to create motion in the spine. This tool is also shown in the video.

After an adjustment, Dr. Gregg will go back and feel the area to make sure motion has been restored.

We look for the cause of your problem.

One of the great things about chiropractic care is we look for the actual cause of the problem so we can treat you and help you feel better now, but also so you can solve the problem and not be back in pain or having a migraine in a few weeks or months.

Many times migraines stem from how the head and neck are aligned from the side. As shown in the video, your neck should have a C-shaped curve. With a proper curve, there is less tension and stress on your neck, which allows nerve messages to occur more easily.

When someone has a reversal of this curve, it can cause premature degeneration of the spine and also puts tension on the spinal cord. This can cause symptoms, migraines being one of them.

We treat the problem.

Here in the office, we look to see what can be done to change this.

Sometimes we use tractioning, which is a sustained force over time. We can use a tool that is specifically prescribed for you. This is not for everyone, and not for all migraine cases.

In the cases tractioning is suitable for, it has been shown to be better than physical therapy, isolation therapy, and removal therapy. This is not only short-term success but was shown to be true after a 2-year follow-up study.

After the patients followed doctor recommended treatments, they wound up not having migraines any longer. The control part of the trial was back at pre-therapy status or worse within six months.

If you’re a migraine sufferer or know someone who is, check out the videos and try the tips we mentioned. Rather than seeking out other, more invasive treatments or medications first, try something natural such as chiropractic care. Come in and see what we can do for you.


Comments are closed.

Align Wellness Center
5 Star Rating, 48 Google Reviews
900 Skokie Blvd Suite 113
Northbrook, IL 60062