What Causes Migraines?

What causes migraines? Experts in the field including those involved in research still have a difficult time explaining what causes migraines. In the past they believed it to be a dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the brain1. However, more recently research has pointed not to blood vessels but to nerves.

In fact researchers now believe that migraines are a neurological disorder involving nerve pathways and brain chemicals1.

The severity and amount of neurological symptoms with a headache can most likely then be pointed to as a migraine as the cause. The headache itself is usually painful it can be one sided or multisided1. Often times migraine sufferers will say it occurs in the same place each time, behind the eyes for example.

Accompanying neurological symptoms that occur before a migraine hits are known as auras. These “auras” are actually warning signs that many migraine sufferers will experience before a migraine occurs. Auras will let the person know that a migraine is most likely coming soon and to prepare for it. Typical auras can be a certain smell that occurs before hand or a taste. Another type of aura that is typical is seeing something different such as a light disturbance2.

Often times dizziness or nausea will accompany these auras and can occur before or during a migraine. There are certain triggers that researchers believe may lead to or cause migraines. Certain foods, alcohol consumption or even hormonal changes can bring on a migraine attack2.

It is important to note that as migraines are now thought to be neurological in nature, working with those health care professionals who deal in neural sciences is the best place to start for those who suffer from migraines.

Pressure at the base of the skull caused by Foundational Shifts in the upper neck is an incredibly common cause of migraine headaches. A Structural Chiropractor focuses on those Foundational Segments in the spine that are often the key to correcting the underlying cause. Structural Chiropractors use functional testing and structural radiographs to determine if any of the vertebra of the spine or skull are out of alignment. If it is found that specific Foundational Segments, especially the upper neck are moderately shifted, it may be the primary condition leading to the migraine attacks.

Our chiropractic clinic looks at these foundational shifts and the resultant pressure and inflammation on different nerves. If these nerves, which are vital for the body to function normally, are not able to work properly due to a spinal misalignment- this is a serious issue. Aligning the vertebrae that have shifted out of place in the spine, especially those Foundational Segments, will relieve inflammation and pressure being put on those vital nerves allowing the brain and body to function optimally once again.

Are your migraines caused by a Foundational Shift? Don’t let your headaches take another day of your life, we’re here to help!


  1. http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/what-is-migraine Opens in new window
  2. https://migraine.com/what-is-migraine Opens in new window