What are Migraines?

Migraines are severe, painful, long lasting headaches, which can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light.

Sometimes migraines can be preceded by blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs and flashes of light and if this is present the condition is known as migraine with ‘aura’. The symptoms of migraines can last for a few hours or sometimes days. 

Causes of Migraines

Stress to the nerves and blood vessels in the brain are a common cause of migraines. A migraine may be triggered by various stimuli, which can be different in each individual. Triggers include emotional stress, tiredness, sensitivity to certain chemicals in foods, alcohol, caffeine, menstrual periods, bright lights, changes in climate and changes to normal sleeping routines.

The search for an answer as to why somebody is suffering with migraines can sometimes be frustrating. Often there are a number of factors, which influence whether a person will have a migraine attack. Commonly the cause is due to compromise of the upper cervical spine (neck), where the base of the skull meets the top of the neck.

When there is a change in motion in the cervical spine, there is interference with the blood vessels, nerves and muscles going to the head and this can be a precursor to migraines and the associated symptoms as well as different varieties of headache.

The most common variants seen are cervicogenic headaches and migraines and they are caused by tension in the neck which travels up to the head.