Migraines May Be Triggered by Oxidative Stress

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Migraines are an extremely disabling group of neurological symptoms including:

  • Severe pulsating or throbbing head pain that usually affects only one side of the head (in a third of the attacks, both sides are impacted)
  • Sensitivity to certain odors, bright lights, and loud noises
  • Dizziness or vertigo (a spinning sensation)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms and legs or in the face

Migraines can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. Each migraine is as unique as the person experiencing it. And each episode may differ from the one before. Recent studies have linked the onset of migraines to oxidative stress.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Oxidative stress has to do with oxygen. We all need oxygen, and our planet needs it to survive. Without oxygen, our bodies begin to shut down. What you may not realize, though, is that oxygen also plays a role in the breakdown of how our body functions. This is especially true if we do not keep ourselves healthy and free of as many toxins as possible.

Oxidative stress occurs when cells are damaged due to the oxidative process. It is a normal process that happens to our bodies and even to things in the environment around us. For example, rust is caused by oxidation. The problem in the human body begins when there is a disruption in the natural oxidative process, such as when free radicals attach themselves to molecules in your body. This leads to toxic effects. When normal oxygen metabolizes, free radicals are created. These free radicals are missing an electron and try to find another molecule with an electron to take its place. In their search, they fire charges that damage cells around them.

In a similar way, your body begins to “rust” as you age. Free radicals are running wildly through your system to find their mate. The more free radicals you have, the more damage that is being done. We can see this process when we compare a five-year-old child to an elderly person. The changes evident in skin tone and color show what free radicals do to the body. Of course, we all age; however, some may age faster than others and have more health problems. Research has revealed that this is likely due to some having more free radicals than others, often due to diet, lack of exercise, and improper nutrients.

Some things that may increase the free radicals in your body are:

  • Smoking
  • Air pollution
  • Too much exercise
  • Excessive stress
  • Medications — over-the-counter and prescription
  • Too much sunlight
  • Radiation

So, what can we do to counteract these free radicals? Well, the body makes several types of antioxidants. However, we may need a little extra help. It is important to avoid the things mentioned above and fill our lives with healthy foods and activities. So, now that we understand what oxidative stress is, let’s see how this relates to migraines.

Migraines and Oxidative Stress

A new compelling article about migraine attacks gives insight on potential ways to help this condition. Migraines affect as many as 1 billion people worldwide. They cost $36 billion in productivity and 113 million lost days of work. Everyone is looking for answers, including patients who suffer from migraines, doctors, employers, and those who have a family member with migraines. This information may be helpful.

Research has brought to light the fact that those with migraines have higher levels of oxidative stress. Jonathan Borkum, Ph.D., relates that migraine triggers can increase brain oxidative stress, causing an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to thwart their negative effects. These triggers can include sleep deprivation, air pollution, stress, loud noise, and poor diet. Seeing an increase in oxidative stress can be useful in warding off not only migraines but also other health conditions.

Dr. Borkum goes on to explain that migraine attacks are not just triggered by oxidative stress but they may also be actively protecting and repairing the brain from it. For many years now, episodes of migraines have been seen as the pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. However, those are actually symptoms of the disease. This is the body’s way of defending itself from the disease. It’s important to look underneath the attack and see what the brain’s underlying vulnerability is. In other words, what is causing the oxidative stress?

Migraine Natural Relief Laval QB

Relief for Migraines Through Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

You want your body to be in the best shape possible and functioning at its optimum so it can fight the free radicals and, therefore, reduce oxidative stress. One way to ensure the health of the central nervous system, including the brain and the brainstem, is by visiting us here at Centre Kiro Spécifik in Laval, Quebec. The proper alignment of the upper cervical spine is vital to the overall health of the body. A misalignment is common in the C1 and C2 vertebrae. These bones often move out of place due to a minor blow to the head, a low impact car collision, or a trip and fall. When this occurs, stress is placed on the brainstem as it is located in the same area as these bones. This leads to improper signals being sent to the brain, ending in a migraine. If the brainstem is malfunctioning, it can also impact how well the free radicals are being targeted. This can lead to numerous additional health problems.

We use a gentle method which does not require us to pop the neck or crack the spine to get the desired results. Rather, the bones are encouraged to move back into place naturally. Once this is done, healing can take place. Many have seen their migraines improve or go away entirely.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Reney, call our Laval office at (450) 668-8777. You can also click the button below.


If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.