Common Causes of Migraines and How to Effectively Treat Your Heachache Pain

Migraine headaches are among the most prevalent — and the least-understood — medical conditions in existence.

Approximately 13% of the world’s population suffer from migraines at some point in their lives. Because the symptoms vary so significantly from one patient to another, they can be challenging for mainstream medicine to diagnose and treat.

As most patients can attest, migraine headaches can be disruptive to everyday activities. From reduced productivity to missing work completely, strained relationships to broken commitments, those who suffer from migraines often feel the stress of disappointing people in their life because they’ve got another migraine.

It’s impossible to plan your life around debilitating pain that may strike at any time. Patients often describe their migraine headaches as a throbbing pain radiating from deep inside the head, often from just one side. Lasting from several hours to many days, migraines may also cause sensitivity to sound and light, or cause nausea and vomiting.

One in five people also report disturbances in their vision called “auras” just before the onset of a migraine. Common auras include blind spots, flashing lights or stars, or zigzag lines.

Who Gets Migraines

While anyone can get a migraine, women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. Migraine headaches often run in families and are also associated with certain nervous system conditions as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Migraine Causes

While there is no definitive, universally-accepted answer as to what causes migraines, several hypotheses have gained traction over the years, including:

  • Overactive pain-signaling from the brain’s sensory neurons.
  • A disordered nervous system, possibly in the brain stem.
  • Low levels of the brain chemical serotonin.
  • Emotional issues or disrupted energy in the body.
  • Vitamin B or other mineral deficiency.
  • Negative reactions to certain foods. Wheat/gluten, milk, sugar, yeast, corn, citrus fruits, eggs, aspartame, and MSG have all been linked to migraines to some degree.
  • Reactions to some medications.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Genetic susceptibility. Research has shown that 70-90% of migraine sufferers have family members who also experience them.
  • Environmental triggers. Smells can sometimes set off a migraine.

Migraine Treatment

Many patients instinctively reach for over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but these medications often don’t provide relief. Mainstream doctors tend to prescribe triptans or drugs that decrease inflammation and change the flow of blood within the brain. While these medications may cut down on the frequency of migraines or reduce the headache symptoms, they don’t address the root cause, and ultimately, the migraines return. Additionally, prescription drugs may cause brain fog, other unpleasant side effects or trigger “rebound headaches,” often as troublesome as the original migraine.

To effectively treat migraine headaches, you must address the underlying cause. Chiropractic treatment is focused on getting to the bottom of what’s producing your migraine headache. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; chiropractic care zeroes in on the unique characteristics of your migraines.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Chiropractic treatment includes gently moving, stretching, and placing subtle pressure on the spine to let your body heal itself naturally. You’ll likely experience instant pain relief at your chiropractic appointment, followed by reduced migraine frequency in the coming weeks and months. Your individual treatment plan will take your overall health into consideration and may include lifestyle adjustments such as drinking more water, getting more rest, taking a hot bath, or making sleep more of a priority in your life. Home exercises designed to reduce tension and discomfort in your neck and spine are often recommended in between office visits.

Wondering what your individual migraine treatment plan might look like? Schedule an appointment online to discuss your headache pain and get to the root cause of your migraines. It’s time to say goodbye to the nasty side effects from prescription medications and finally experience lasting relief.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for personalized advice or care from a medical professional.

Chronic Back Pain Conditions That Affect Mostly Women

I am woman, hear me roar– or shriek from back pain, if you are one of the many women who battle an aching back on a regular basis.

Ladies, we’ll give you the disappointing news first: studies have shown that there are a handful of back conditions that tend to affect women more than men. It’s a bummer that your gender marker could automatically make you more susceptible to certain painful conditions. Perhaps even a little unfair?

So for our female readers suffering from chronic, nagging back pain, we offer this post in hopes that you’ll take heart in learning conservative care and preventative options exist. Let’s delve into the more common back conditions that affect women in particular.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia is twice as common in women as it is in men. Disappointingly, the cause of fibromyalgia is largely unknown and there is no known cure. Though hormonal levels may play a role, there has yet to be conclusive evidence found in research to support this theory. However, there are constructive ways to treat the pain and achiness for a better quality of life.  And that’s a huge win!

Just what is “fibromyalgia?” It’s a condition that causes aching and pain all over the body, and is generally chronic in nature. Some of the more common symptoms include: extreme fatigue, sleep trouble, headaches, and numbness or tingling of the hands and feet. Because the nature of each case can differ significantly, treatment in turn needs to be customized.

So where do you start? Figuring out what’s best for you can be tricky, but as you learn more about your condition and how your body reacts to treatment, you’re better prepared to make adjustments and plan for the future. Basic home care is a good place to begin, including:

  • Getting good quality sleep–you’ve no doubt heard the importance of sleep a million times before, but it’s true. Your body needs sleep to recover and heal, particularly when you’re trying to ward off aches and pains.
  • Reducing stress— we know…easier said than done. Helpful practices often include practicing meditation and potentially seeking counseling for more extreme cases.
  • Exercising regularly, even if that just means walking around your neighborhood.

Though fibromyalgia can happen seemingly randomly, you should also be aware of the more common triggers. For women, the hormonal changes that happen during menopause and pregnancy can sometimes flare up an already existing fibromyalgia case. Extreme stress, both short and long-term, as well as drastic changes in weather, can also touch off this condition.

Compression Fractures From Osteoporosis

This is a big one, especially in women who are approaching, are in, or past menopause. In fact, of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, a whopping 80% are female. Women in general have smaller, thinner bones than their male counterparts. Couple that with the sharp decline in estrogen (a hormone that greatly contributes to bone health) during menopause, and the risk for fracture significantly increases.

Compression fractures from osteoporosis usually happen in the front of the spine, collapsing an already thinned bone. This leads to sharp acute pain in the back, that can turn chronic when left untreated. If you’re experiencing acute back pain that was not present before, seek medical attention. Compression fractures often go misdiagnosed as general back pain; pay close attention to your symptom patterns so that you can help give your practitioner the full story.

To treat a compression fracture with conservative care, a couple of days of bed rest immediately following the fracture are generally recommended. However, be careful not to stay inactive for too long, as this can worsen the overall effect of osteoporosis and put you at risk for other fractures. Some back bracing can help under the instruction of a doctor, as well as some gentle physical therapy exercises.

How Chiropractic Can Help Women With Back Pain

When you’ve tried home care and it just isn’t providing sufficient relief, you’re experiencing more intense pain on a more frequent basis, or, when you want a more proactive approach to preventing back pain altogether, it’s time to seek professional care. Chiropractic care can provide the relief you are seeking. Gentle, chiropractic adjustments help to alleviate pressure in your joints and allow your entire body to function better, provided there is no fracture present. Plus, your practitioner can recommend the best at-home exercises to keep your healing on the track outside of the office, beneficial for both fracture and non-fracture cases.

Ladies, you know the importance of taking care of you; schedule your chiropractic appointment online.

This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Fatherhood Is Tough: 5 Tips To Protect Dad From Back Pain

When you’re a dad (or a grandfather, uncle or family friend), having active young kids in your life can bring on the back pain before you even realize it.

Between tossing the kids in the air, playing a game of airplane, or even taking a break to work on your golf swing, there are plenty of opportunities to accidentally strain your back.

Being sidelined due to lower back pain is never fun;  fortunately, there are a few, simple everyday tweaks you can make. Just in time for Father’s Day, we’re sharing 5 tips to avoid an aching back.

1. Model good posture for your kids (and yourself!).

Do you have memories of your own parents or grandparents reminding you not slouch? It turns out they were onto something, perhaps more than they knew. Improving your posture can prevent back pain.

Whether you’re standing or sitting down (including in the car), try your best to keep your spine straight, your shoulders back, and your abdominal muscles engaged.

When you’re seated, also remember to keep both feet flat on the floor. Crossing your legs might feel comfortable at the moment, but it’s actually putting pressure on your muscles so they can’t properly line up, leading to back pain.

2. Keep playtime pain-free.

Let’s face it: even the fun, playful parts of day-to-day life with children can sometimes cause physical wear and tear—lower back pain and stiffness, shoulder strain, neck tightness, tension headaches, and more.

How can you cut down on these risks?

Lift with your legs! When you lean forward with straight legs to pick up your child (or a heavy object) the hamstrings stretch tightly. This means your lower back, now overstretched itself, starts doing all the work involved in lifting and might become pinched and strained. Lifting with your legs is a simple and powerful technique for preventing this.

Bend at the knees. When you’re scooping up your children to toss them in the air, don’t forget to keep your knees bent. On the way back up, use your thigh muscles and avoid twisting your midsection.

Keep bending to a minimum. Instead of hunching over or bending while playing with your kids, get on your knees or sit down with them. Bonus: you’ll be able to connect with them even better from down on their level.

3. Breathe in, breathe out.

Many people carry stress-related stiffness in their shoulders and back. Have you noticed your shoulders rising when you’re feeling less than relaxed? Take a few moments to lower your shoulders back into place and take a deep breath.

Who knew releasing stress and healing your back pain could be as simple as focused breathing? It’s all about noticing when you need a few refreshing moments and giving yourself permission to take a break, on Father’s Day and all year round.

4. Give some thought to your mattress.

A high-quality mattress is hugely important when it comes to healing and preventing back pain. When you go to sleep tonight, ask yourself whether your mattress is too firm. If the answer is yes, your body will be in rigid positions all night that can lead to back pain.

On the other hand, if your mattress is too soft and pillowy, your body won’t be fully supported. Your ligaments and muscles are then forced to stretch beyond their comfort zones which causes – you guessed it – back pain.

Your mission is to find a mattress that provides enough support but is also comfortable enough for you to relax. A mattress is, of course, a major purchase, so take your time and give it some thought.

5. Stretch it out.

A perfect beginner stretch to strengthen your back is called the Seated Spinal Twist. It also opens your hips and shoulders.

  1. Have a seat on the floor with your legs straightened in front of you. Bend your knees, putting your feet on the floor. Then slide your left foot under your right leg until it touches the outside of your right hip.
  2. Laying the outside of your left leg on the floor, step your right foot over your left leg. Your right knee should now be pointing at the ceiling.
  3. Exhale, twisting toward the inside of your right thigh. Press your right hand against on floor behind you, placing your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh together, pressing your inner right foot into the floor. Lean your torso back slightly while you continue to lengthen your tailbone into the floor.

Stay in this position for one minute while taking controlled inhalations and long exhalations. Then repeat with the other leg.

Many of these tips for preventing and healing back pain might seem simple, yet they can be tough to remember when life with your family gets busy! Never forget you always have an example of the perfect back alignment and posture whenever you need it: your child’s.

Most children naturally have the very aligned, relaxed back and unrolled shoulders we should all be aiming for. As a dad, you teach your children many lessons – but this might be an invaluable lesson you can learn from them.

Happy Father’s Day!

Summer is a perfect time to book an appointment online. If you’re experiencing back pain, a stiff neck or other joint pain, schedule an initial examination online.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

8 Ways To Avoid Injury from Summer Activities

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and get active! Whether you’re a fan of gardening, golfing, surfing, kayaking, mountain climbing, other competitive sports, or traveling, summer is the ideal time to make it all happen. The longer, warmer days and the (hopefully) slower pace at the office all leave a little extra time for your favorite summer hobbies. 

But it’s much easier than most people realize to become sidelined by crippling pain, especially injuries to the back, ankle, and knee. 

Luckily with just a few simple adjustments, you can avoid these common summertime injuries and enjoy the warm weather, without the backaches, knee and ankle pains. 

1. Bend your knees when gardening. 

Did you know two of the most common back pain causes in the summer are gardening and lawn work? At first, it might feel perfectly natural to bend at your back while working in your garden, but this habit results in pain symptoms over time. You should instead bend your knees and use your leg strength, especially when pulling weeds or lifting something particularly heavy. Similarly, activities like raking, pulling, twisting, and lifting heavy bags can also lead to back pain, knee pain, and ankle injuries. Be on the alert! 

2. Stretch before your summer sport activities. 

Whenever possible, take the time to stretch before beginning your activities.. Stretching loosens up your muscles, joints, and ligaments, essential to preventing injuries. 

3. Gradually build up your activity levels. 

For many of us, summer means extra motivation to set fitness goals and stick to them,  which is great! Just remember, if you live in colder climates, you may have become deconditioned during the winter months. It’s best to ease back into daily activity to avoid back pain, ankle pain, and knee pain symptoms. To accomplish, start with shorter goals and increase your activities over the span of several weeks. 

4. Drink water. 

Drinking plenty of water not only keeps your body temperature normal and cool, but it also keeps your muscles hydrated. Each time you sweat, your body loses fluids, which can lead to muscle cramps. 

5. Take breaks. 

Whether it’s swimming, tennis, golf or gardening, periodically give your body the chance to rest and restore itself. Recharge your batteries and skip that ankle injury or knee injury in the process. 

6. Don’t cram everything into the weekend. 

A common summertime habit is bolting out of the office and into the warm weekends, spending the next few days catching up on your favorite sports and physical activities. After being chained to your desk for five days, it’s completely understandable. But it’s also not worth risking back pain, ankle pain or knee pain as a result of your supercharged, active summer weekends. Instead, work on getting in 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, as often as you can. You’ll be much stronger and better prepared for that long weekend hike or days spent out on the golf course. 

7. Ditch the flip flops. 

From ankle pain to knee pain and beyond, the stability of your foot and the support of your arch has an impact on the entire body. Lightweight flip flops are a convenient summer go-to, but you’ll be glad you took the time to choose a shoe that keeps your foot stable while also supporting your heel and the front of your foot. 

8. Be careful when carrying heavy bags. 

Whether it’s luggage or golf clubs, carrying any heavy bag stresses your posture and is a common cause of pain symptoms. A golf bag full of clubs, for instance, can weigh as much as 35 pounds! Your goal should be to keep the weight of any bag you’re carrying under 10 percent of your body weight. Consider using a pull-cart bag on the golf course and stick with the lightest golf bag you can find. 

During the summer months, you’ll, of course, want to take advantage of the beautiful weather by jumping right into the activities you love the most— and you should! Being active in the summer is great for both your body and your mind. Take the proper precautions above, and you’ll enjoy a pain-free summer to remember. 

Hey, we get it. You’re experiencing pain and are seeking answers as to what might be causing it. Everybody’s pain is unique. This article is not intended to provide diagnosis or treatment. Rather, professional consultation specific to your symptoms is recommended. Summer is the perfect time to stop into our Knoxville office – schedule an appointment online

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