A Migraine May Be to Blame for the Throbbing Pain at the Back of Your Head
Many different patients come into Pro Chiropractic complaining of pain and throbbing at the base of their skull and back of the head. Many of these patients are students, have jobs working on computers, and spend a lot of time looking down. It is quite possible that the pain and tenderness you feel at the base of the skull may be a migraine! The prevalence of head pain and headaches has been increasing and we want to help decrease their effects and help people understand why they may be experiencing this pain.
What Is a Migraine?
It is pressure and a recurrent throbbing headache in the head that typically affects the back of the head and base of the skull. A migraine typically affects one side of the head (but it can affect both sides) and can be often accompanied by nausea, disturbed vision, and/or hearing. You may experience an aura, but an individual can still have a migraine without an aura as well. Migraines are usually debilitating and can interfere with you reading, focusing, doing homework, exercising, and even make your eyes and head sensitive to light.
What Causes a Migraine?
Now the golden question is what causes migraines? There are many different triggers in our lives that can cause them, but no matter the cause ultimately a migraine is a warning sign that there is an imbalance in the body. Your environment, past experiences, or traumas can
play a huge role in the tension, fascial adhesions or subluxations present in the body. A migraine is a result of physical, chemical, or emotional stress or interference in the bodies normal function. In our office we look at the physical problem, the misalignment of the neck bones, that can be a source of your migraines. One reason that “text neck,” computer work, looking down, or studying causes neck pain and/or headaches is due to the constant stress that looking down puts on your neck muscles and cervical spine. Getting into a car accident is also another factor that can cause stress on the neck and disrupt the alignment of the upper cervical and start causing someone to start experiencing migraine headaches.
The brain lacks pain receptors, but with the structural and muscle imbalance there can be inflammation and irritation of the nerves at the base of the skull and the trigeminal cranial nerve can be irritated and cause the throbbing pain on one side of the head and face.
There are a number of factors that can trigger migraines, including:
- Hormonal changes. Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a major drop in estrogen.
- Foods. Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
- Food additives. The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods, may trigger migraines.
- Drinks. Alcohol, especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
- Stress. Stress at work or school can cause migraines.
- Sensory stimuli. Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people.
- Changes in wake-sleep pattern. Missing sleep or getting too much sleep may trigger migraines in some people, as can jet lag.
- Physical factors. Intense physical exertion, playing sports, accidents, or injuries may provoke migraines.
- Changes in the environment. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
- Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.
What Can You Do If You Have a Migraine?
Using an over-the-counter medication may decrease the symptom short term but likely won’t take care of the actual problem, and prescription medication remedies are full of intense and scary side effects. If you are getting recurring pain at the base of your skull, that is a good indicator that there is underlying reason for your pain, and looking for the cause of your skull pain, rather than just trying to dull it with medication is a good idea. Consider getting checked for an upper cervical subluxation (misalignment) at your local chiropractor. The misalignment could be causing an increase in muscle tension and intracranial pressure causing that throbbing pain and soreness at the base of your skull. The intracranial pressure is controlled by the nerves, muscles, and bone structure at the base of the skull and there are small intricate muscles in this important area that tighten up when there is a misalignment in the neck and put pressure on the nerves at the base of the skull that wrap up and around the head.
Chiropractic Care May Help Migraine Pain
At Pro Chiropractic we help individuals release the physical tension that is put on the body by correcting upper neck fixation subluxations and the muscular trigger points and dense fascial adhesions that are also a common factor in causing migraine pain. We also take pride in helping people decrease the frequency and severity of their migraines through specific chiropractic analysis and care. If you are suffering from skull pain, let us know and we would like to eliminate your migraines and headaches all together. In our office we can also evaluate the structure and function of your spine through a thorough evaluation, advanced diagnostics and digital x-rays. If you have any further questions or concerns about the pain in the back of your skull, and if this may be migraine headache pain you are experiencing don’t hesitate to ask for help. Our chiropractors are specialists in helping resolve the pain safely and effectively.