Chiropractic Care & Migranes

If you’ve never had a migraine, it can be difficult to explain how debilitating they can be. They’re not like a normal headache; while they often involve a throbbing or pulsing sensation in the head, as well as pain on one or both sides of the head, their effects are more extreme and more debilitating. Migraines can affect balance and often cause extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and for some people, they may cause nausea or vomiting, confusion, irritability, and other uncomfortable or downright painful symptoms. While some migraines may be mercifully brief, some migraine sufferers may be incapacitated for as long as 72 hours. Unfortunately, for many people, it’s just as difficult to manage the symptoms of migraines as it is to explain them. Thankfully, chiropractic care can dramatically help relieve the symptoms and side effects of migraines and can also help reduce their frequency and intensity by addressing the source of the problem itself.

Migraines are triggered by different things for different people. Some people experience migraines in connection with their hormonal cycle, while other people find that they have migraines that are triggered by hunger or dehydration, by certain food additives, or because of excessive physical activity. If you experience chronic migraines, first be sure to work with your doctor to rule out any greater medical concerns; once you have an otherwise clean bill of health, chiropractic treatments can help address the symptoms of migraine, regardless of the cause. Chiropractic adjustments of the spine, including the neck area, help to relieve pressure on your nerves that may arise from stress, muscular tension, and the misalignment of the spine. Relieving pressure with chiropractic adjustments can help reduce inflammation of the muscles and other soft tissue that rely on the spine for support and function; this, in turn, can help reduce the inflammation that contributes to migraines and may make symptoms worse.

Chiropractic adjustments use manual manipulation to uncover the root of problems with misalignment and inflammation in the body. These manual manipulations positively affect the nervous system, allowing it to respond better to pain, which leads to greater comfort and less tension. Hence, chiropractic treatment can reduce the stress that may help trigger migraines, while also relieving the physical discomfort that often accompanies them. Chiropractic care also improves sleep patterns, which in turn helps reduce stress and can contribute to greater overall health, including fewer or more mild migraines.

Chiropractic care helps stop the cycle of spinal misalignment and muscle tension that feed off one another and can lead to stress and physical discomfort, which can then cause a lack of sleep or an inability to relax. Any one of these factors may trigger a migraine, yet chiropractic care addresses all of them at once, with non-invasive manual manipulation. If you experience migraines, or any other type of tension headache, talk to your chiropractor about your symptoms and their triggers and work with them to devise a treatment plan. Together, you and your chiropractor can effectively reduce or even eliminate the debilitating effects of migraines.

Low Back Strengthening

Many people struggle with lower back pain. In fact, back pain is the number two reason people miss work, second only to the common cold. During a pandemic, when many people are working from home, complaints of lower back pain increase, as more people work in unconventional sitting positions or nontraditional locations. Thankfully, some simple exercises that help support the lower back can alleviate some of the pain you may be experiencing.

People don’t often realize that lower-back pain may arise or be exacerbated because of weak abdominal muscles, but if you think about this, it makes sense. The muscles of the lower abdomen are directly opposite the lower back muscles, and strengthening them supports the lumbar spine and can diminish the pain in the muscles that surround and support the lumbar spine. These exercises focus on stretching and strengthening the lumbar spine and also focus on engaging the lower abdominal muscles, creating a strong, stable support system for the entire lumbar region.

Try to breathe in through the nose and breath out through the mouth while you perform this simple exercise routine, and to devote 5 minutes or so of each day to reducing or eliminating your lower back pain.

The first exercise focuses on the deep abdominal muscles and the muscles that run parallel to the spine. Sit up tall on a mat with your legs in front of you, with your knees bent and your feet at hip width apart, bottoms of the feet flat on the mat. Raise your arms out in front of you, perpendicular to your torso and at shoulder height. Pull your belly button in toward your spine and slowly roll back toward the ground, stopping about halfway down. Relax your shoulders and engage your abdominal muscles; your palms should be aligned with your knees. Exhaling, roll back up and return to a seated position. Remember to keep the belly button engaged and pulling in toward the spine. Repeat this movement ten times.

The second exercise is plank pose, which is one of the best overall exercises for back strength and abdominal strength and which also encourages proper spinal alignment. Beginning on your hands and knees, make sure your hands are at shoulder width, directly beneath the shoulders, and the knees are at hip width. Engage the abdominal muscles and step the feet back so that your body forms a plank position. Make sure your shoulders stay in place over your wrists, and spread your fingers so that the breadth of your hands supports your weight. Keep the back flat, taking care not to let it arch or sag, and hold for 10 seconds. When you first start out, repeat plank 3 times, eventually working up to 10 repetitions of 10 seconds each.

In yoga, the third exercise is known as locust pose, but it’s popularly known as Superman pose. Superman pose engages the entire back, including the backs of the legs and the glutes. Lie on the mat on your stomach with your arms reaching forward and your legs extended back. Keep the feet at hip width and the arms at shoulder width, and pull the belly button in toward the spine to engage the muscles of the abdomen. Relaxing your shoulders, lift your arms off the ground, while also engaging your glutes and thighs to lift the legs off the ground. Now you can see why it’s called Superman pose!  Continue to engage your abdominal muscles to help keep pressure off the lower back. Hold for an inhalation and an exhalation, and then release. Repeat this pose 10 times.

The fourth exercise starts out like Superman pose; lie on your stomach and engage your abs, and extend the arms and legs. This pose is known as swimming, though, because instead of lifting both arms and both legs simultaneously, you’ll lift the right arm and the left leg at the same time, as if you are swimming. Then, you’ll release, and then lift the left arm and right leg. Remembering to keep the abdominal muscles engaged, alternate this “swimming” arm and leg movement for 30 seconds.

The last exercise is marching bridge. Make sure to keep your hips stable and steady as you move your feet; if it’s helpful, place your hands on your hips to remind them to stay still. Lying on your back with your knees bent, open feet as wide as your hips. Relax your arms down by your sides and pull your belly button in toward your back. Gently roll the hips up, so that your lower back and middle back are elevated off the ground, pressing down through the feet and engaging the glutes. Lift the left foot off the ground to about a 45-degree angle, maintaining even, stable hips. Then, lower the left foot, and lift the right, alternating the feet as if you’re marching. Repeat this for 10 times on each side.

These five simple exercises can be performed daily and can help you train and strengthen your lower back, preventing the common hassle that is lower back pain.