The Benefits of Visiting a Chiropractor Regularly

Can A Chiropractor Help Pregnancy-Related Migraines?

by Chloe Dean

Migraines can often be more debilitating than other headaches since they can cause deep pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and even nausea. Figuring out how to handle a migraine can also be frustrating since it can have a number of triggers, such as poor sleep, certain foods, or even changes in the weather. However, if you are expecting a child, you may be surprised to learn that your migraine could be related to your pregnancy. Take a look at why this happens and how a chiropractor could help you manage your symptoms.

Why Could Pregnancy Cause Migraines?

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and postural changes, which in turn could lead to migraines.

Hormonal Changes

Researchers still aren't quite sure why migraines occur, but WebMD says that it's believed that they are mainly caused by changes in neurochemicals, nerve pathways, and blood flow to the brain. An over-release of certain neurotransmitters, like serotonin, and hormones, like estrogen, could lead to migraines. Since estrogen levels are high during pregnancy, it is thought that this hormone could have a role in causing migraines.

Postural Changes

During pregnancy, your body's posture can change as the pelvis prepares for labor and as your back becomes more curved to compensate for your protruding abdomen. These postural changes could lead to spinal radiculopathy or nerve compression. When branching nerve fibers in the spinal cord become compressed, you may experience numbness, tingling, or weakness along the compressed nerve path. And like hormonal changes, compressed nerves could lead to headaches or migraines.

What Can a Chiropractor Do to Help You Manage Symptoms?

Before you reach out to a chiropractor, you should check with your doctor to see if chiropractic care is recommended for your case. While chiropractic care can work for many individuals, some pregnant women may not be good candidates if they have certain complications, like pre-eclampsia, or are taking certain medications.

If you have postural issues, your chiropractor can check for a pinched nerve with imaging tests or with the Spurling maneuver. During the Spurling maneuver, your chiropractor will gently press down on the top of your head and have you turn your neck to see if these actions provoke any symptoms. If the migraines are mainly caused by postural issues, then your chiropractor might recommend supportive braces.

Your chiropractor might also recommend spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) or massage therapy. Some practitioners may have special pregnancy tables that are designed to accommodate a pregnant belly during these therapies. Other practitioners may have bolsters or other special pillows to help support women comfortably on their sides. One study found that SMT could improve migraine symptoms in pregnant women and reduce the reliance on pain medication. If high stress levels trigger your migraines, then massage therapy can be beneficial since it will help you relax and will release feel-good hormones, like endorphins.

Reach out to a chiropractor today to learn more.