Summer Headaches & Migraines

TMJ Doctor Fort Collins

According to a recent Harvard University Study, mind-numbing headaches are more likely to strike as the mercury rises and for headache sufferers, the unpredictability of summer weather can do more than ruin outdoor plans – it can trigger debilitating headaches and migraines.

Heat can lead to migraines for a variety of reasons, the primary being that migraine sufferers are simply more sensitive than other individuals, so hot weather poses a high risk of triggering headaches. For example, the extended, bright sunlight that comes with a hot day can be a trigger, as can a change in the atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure can influence the onset of a migraine because of its impact on blood vessels in and around the brain, causing them to dilate or swell. When a brewing storm causes the barometric pressure to change, migraine patients often report experiencing a blur or ‘shimmer’ around their peripheral vision. The onset of a migraine is usually quick to follow that symptom.


Other causes of migraines include the following:

Dehydration – Losing a lot of water and sodium through sweating can trigger migraines.

Lazy Days of Summer – Migraines can happen from a let down from stress. First days of vacation or the start of the weekend are common times for migraines to occur.

Changes in Sleep Patterns and Eating Habits – People tend to stay out later and sleeping patterns and eating habits change during the summer months. Losing sleep and skipping meals can be triggers.

Environmental Factors – Summer allergens can also trigger migraines as humidity can increase levels of some allergens in the environment.

Chiropractic Care Can Help…

In the United States Alone, 50 million people have frequent headaches that result in 157 million lost work days, $50 billion in healthcare expenses, and $10 million visits to doctors’ offices. Most headache sufferers turn to over-the-counter drugs as their only form of relief. It is estimated that Americans spend $4 billion annually on over-the-counter medications for treatment of headache pain, often providing only temporary relief and causing a variety of unpleasant side effects.

If you have a severe headache or migraine, you may want to visit a doctor of chiropractic care before you head to the medicine cabinet. Doing so can speed relief and help you avoid the side effects associated with certain drugs.

A report from the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, N.C., found that spinal manipulation quickly improved headaches originating in the neck, and had far fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension headaches than a commonly prescribed medication. Other studies have shown chiropractic care to be effective in the treatment of migraine headaches.

We all get headaches from time to time, but figuring out why we’re suffering or how to get rid of them isn’t always easy. In spite of these staggering statistics, headaches are still terribly misunderstood, even by some doctors. Proper diagnosis is the first step.

How Is a Headache Evaluated?

Early diagnosis and treatment are important in identifying a serious underlying cause for your headache. In most cases, an in-depth history and physical examination can help determine if your symptoms are related to an easily treated problem, or if it is more serious.

Your doctor of chiropractic can use other tests that reproduce the symptoms of your headache to help develop a specific management plan for your condition, or refer you to another health care provider. X-rays, laboratory tests and even advanced imaging studies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be necessary.

Your doctor may ask you to complete a headache diary, recording:

  • day and time of the headache
  • headache location
  • what the headache feels like
  • what you were doing when the headache began
  • how long the headache lasts
  • what makes it feel better or worse
  • anything else you notice before, during, or after the attacks

Prevent Headaches in Fort Collins by Being Proactive

To enjoy summer activities while avoiding migraine headaches, try the following:

  • Run errands and exercise in the cooler morning or evening hours
  • Apply cold packs to the head and/or neck
  • Stay hydrated with cool beverages
  • Keep a “headache diary” for several days, to determine what usually causes your headaches
  • Maintain consistent sleeping and eating patterns
  • Reduce stress levels with massage, deep breathing exercises or yoga

Visit your Doctor of Chiropractic

Why be one of the millions dependent on pain medications? If you know someone who suffers from headaches or migraines, recommend a spinal exam to them. If neck and spine dysfunction is causing their pain, regular adjustments might be an effective solution.

Dr. Mathew Ullom a chiropractor in Fort Collins offers a free of charge consultation to anyone looking into chiropractic and how it might help them. “This way you can make an informed decision, if chiropractic is right for you.” Dr. Mathew Ullom, BSc, DC is located at   220 W Prospect Rd Ste D, Fort Collins, CO. 80526. He can be reached by telephone at 970-491-9191..

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