Migraine Headaches and Pregnancy presents an uncomfortable scenario for many women. Suffering though migraine headaches while pregnant can be a real challenge. Most of the commonly prescribed medical treatments for migraine aren’t safe during pregnancy. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen, aspirin, ergotamines, and triptans are linked to pregnancy complications like miscarriage, bleeding, blood pressure complications, complications during delivery, premature birth and birth defects. So what are the migraine relief options available during pregnancy? Let’s talk about a few.
Migraine Diagnosis is generally based off your history and exam. Often, migraine headaches are precipitated by an aura. For many people, an aura is the first sign that a migraine is brewing. What’s it like when you have an aura? Well a lot of people describe a focal area of blindness, increased sensitivity to light, sensitivity to smells and noise, seeing zigzagging bright light waves, nausea and occasionally numbness. When these symptoms precede a migraine, the migraine diagnosis is–migraine with aura. However, not all people with migraines suffer from auras. They are diagnosed with migraine without aura.
Many research studies support the use of chiropractic for the management of migraine headaches. Let’s take a look at the conclusions from few of these research articles.
In an Evidence Report published by Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Research Center for Clinical Health Policy Research, the effects of drug-free options for headache are discussed. The authors concluded the following: “Cervical spine manipulation was associated with improvement in headache outcomes in two trials involving patients with neck pain and or/neck dysfunction and headache. Manipulation appeared to result in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache when compared with an attention-placebo control. Furthermore, when compared to soft tissue therapies, a course of manipulation treatments resulted in sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity.”
Neck Pain and headaches go hand-in-hand
find headache relief at Lehigh Valley Chiropractic.
What is a Cervicogenic Headache?
Headaches sometimes originate from the neck. There are many muscles, joints, discs and ligaments in the neck that may refer pain to the head. These headaches are generally associated with neck pain and reduced movement. You may be interested to know that this type of headache is commonly misdiagnosed and often goes unrecognized. Classically, pain originates at the base of the neck (suboccipital region) and spreads to the head; however, cervicogenic headaches could be caused by dysfunction anywhere in the neck or shoulders. Patients report pain ranging from mild to severe; their headaches may be occasional or daily. When anatomical structures of the neck are stressed excessively (poor posture, prolonged slouching, injury, repetitive motion), imbalance and pain ensues. The chiropractors at LVC are trained to diagnose and treat cervicogenic headaches; with the appropriate management, most patients with cervicogenic headache will experience relief.
What is Sciatica / Pinched Nerve?
The sciatic nerve is a long, wide and branching nerve that travels from the low back into the buttocks then down to the feet. When this nerve or its roots becomes irritated or inflamed, pain, numbness and weakness may ensue along its course. This is commonly referred to as a “pinched nerve” though the degree to which the nerve is actually being pinched can vary. Sciatica isn’t a disorder, per se; rather, it is a set of symptoms. The symptoms include pain (generally pain radiating into the buttock, thigh, and calf), pins and needles/tingling and decreased muscle strength. Often the pain becomes worse with activities that increase pressure including coughing, sneezing and bearing down when going to the bathroom. Rarely bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction are reported; this may be a sign of a medical emergency (cauda equine syndrome)-if you are currently experiencing any of these symptoms, a visit to your nearest emergency room is warranted. It is important to recognize and treat the cause of sciatica. The most common cause is disc herniation. Other common causes include piriformis syndrome (spasm of the pirifomis muscle puts pressure on the sciatic nerve), stenosis, pregnancy and bone spurs (osteophytes). Less common and more serious causes of sciatica include bone tumors, nerve tumors and infection.
From our perspective, back surgery is rarely necessary for the treatment of lower back pain. While no one ever really wants to go under the knife, you really don’t want to knives anywhere near your spine. While in certain cases back surgery is necessary and effective, many studies investigating spine surgery find that not only is the procedure not necessary, it often leaves patients in worse shape and more pain than before they went onto the operating table. In fact, multiple research articles indicate that back surgery often fails. Additionally, people who undergo back surgery often report increased pain, increased disability, inability to return to work, and increased dependency on pain medications.
What is Disc Herniation ?
The intervertebral disc is the connective tissue between the vertebrae (bones of the spinal column). The disc is composed of a nucleus pulposus which is surrounded by annular fibers. When the nuclear material breaks though the annulus, it is considered a bulge, protrusion, herniation or sequestration. A herniation can occur anywhere in the spine but they are most common in the lumbar region (low back). Many asymptomatic individuals have disc herniations that are evident on MRI; it is important to understand that pain generation is not necessarily from the disc herniation itself. Symptoms arise when the surrounding tissues (such as nerves and the spinal cord) are affected. Radiculopathy (commonly called sciatica when in the lumbar spine) is a diseased condition of the nerve root; a common cause of radiculopathy is disc herniation.
You’re Going to be a Mom!
This is an exciting time full of changes both emotionally and physically. The chiropractors at Lehigh Valley Chiropractic are dedicated to serving women throughout the course of their pregnancy. Pregnant patients may greatly benefit from the services offered at Lehigh Valley Chiropractic. Studies have shown that treatments rendered by chiropractors may enable patients to achieve pain relief during pregnancy without the use of medications. Remember that over the counter medications such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen are not recommended during pregnancy. The best ways to beat back pain in pregnancy are through improved posture, exercise and hands-on therapeutic techniques.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy is an extremely safe and effective way of managing low back pain and sciatic pain.
Kids Get Back Pain Too…
Did you know that 50% of children and young adults under the age of 20 experience back pain and 15% suffer from chronic back pain? Although disorders of the spine are less common in children, the pediatric population is not immune to musculoskeletal pain. Many young people are involved in aggressive sporting activities that may increase their risk of injury. At Lehigh Valley Chiropractic, we treat the common causes of musculoskeletal pain with non-invasive and modified (depending on the patient’s size) techniques.
What is Myofascial Pain?
Myofascial Pain (aka Myofascial dysfunction) is caused by focal areas of hypersensitivity (trigger points) that develop in muscle tissue. Muscle pain may be caused by trauma, injury, poor posture, stress/anxiety (leading to high levels of muscle tension), overuse, or immobility. Myofascial pain can develop in any muscle, and pain may be felt in the jaw, neck, back, pelvis, upper extremity or lower extremity. Persistent myofascial pain may lead to weakness (due to muscle underuse), migraine, TMJ dysfunction and difficulty sleeping. Long term and wide-spread myofascial pain may develop into fibromyalgia in certain individuals.