How Chronic Migraine Headache Can Affect Your Everyday Life?

How Chiropractors Treat A Chronic Migraine Headache?

Chronic Migraine HeadacheA chronic migraine headache is a migraine that is longer and more severe than a regular one. This kind of a headache is more common than you think and also one of the most disabling and defined as primary headache disorders. A chronic migraine headache is usually an idiopathic, recurrent, episodic, debilitating headache that is best cared for by a neurologist.

A chronic migraine headache is a distinct and relatively recently defined subtype of Chronic Daily Headache. This is a distinct type of a migraine that is sometimes progressive. Living with a chronic migraine headache is much more than getting a migraine every so often and debilitating problem that affects up to 5 percent of the population, mostly women.The basic problem in a chronic migraine headache is a metabolic depression in the brain, and the attacks are associated with spreading of that depression, which precipitates sensitivity of the peripheral reflexes.

What Causes Migraine and Chronic Migraine?

Factors That Increase Your Risk for Migraines

Not everyone exposed to migraine triggers will develop a headache. However, some people are more sensitive to them. Several risk factors can help predict who is more prone to having migraine headaches. These risk factors include:

  • Age. Migraines can first appear at any age. However, most people will experience their first migraine during adolescence. According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines rarely begin after age 40.
  • Family history. If a close family member has migraines, you’re more likely to have them. In fact, 90 percent of migraine patients have a family member who has them, too. Parents are the best predictor of your risk. If one or both of your parents have a history of migraines, your risk is higher.
  • Gender. During childhood, boys experience migraine headaches more than girls. After puberty, however, women are three times more likely to have migraine headaches than men. Read more here.

A chronic migraine is defined as headaches occurring on 15 or more days each month, at least half of which have migrainous features.

Chronic migraine

Impact of chronic migraine

It is estimated that this condition affects fewer than 1% of the population, but this still means that there over 610,000 chronic migraine sufferers in the UK.2 Due to the nature and length of time that the sufferer is affected, people with chronic migraine experience significantly more time absent from work, school, leisure, housework and social activities than episodic migraine patients.3 Efficiency is also reduced due to chronic migraine, resulting in a more than 50% reduction in productivity from work or school.3,4 This is often described as a migraine ‘hangover’ by sufferers.

Causes of chronic migraine

Just like episodic migraine there is no single cause for chronic migraine. Some people find that they have defined triggers such as caffeine, bright lights, hormone, food or sleep deprivation.

However for some people there is a steady progression in headache frequency, especially in long term sufferers. This can lead to the migraines becoming so frequent that they cross the threshold of more than 15 days per month and become defined as chronic migraine.8

Every year between 2.5 and 4.6% of people with episodic migraine experience progression to chronic migraine. The good news is that approximately the same proportion regress from chronic to episodic migraine spontaneously. See more here.

Most of the patients with a chronic migraine headache are benefited by the treatment and can be cured with the help chiropractors

Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Daily Headache


Chronic migraine patients tend to have mild to moderate headaches associated with mild migrainous features (e.g., photophobia, phonophobia) with superimposed more-severe headaches associated with more prominent migraine features (“full-blown” migraines). In some patients, environmental hypersensitivities persist even during headache-free periods.[25] This may include mild photophobia, phonophobia, motion-sensitivity, and cutaneous hypersensitivity/allodynia. Patients with chronic migraine have an increased frequency of comorbid psychiatric disorders, sleep disorders, fatigue, other pain, and gastrointestinal complaints. Recognition and treatment of these comorbidities can result in improved health, greater quality of life, and may potentially result in higher migraine treatment success rates. The following are the recently revised diagnostic criteria for chronic migraine:


The treatment of chronic migraine focuses on prophylactic therapies, which may include avoidance of migraine triggers, pharmacotherapy, physical therapy, biobehavioral therapy, and others. Simultaneous use of these different therapeutic modalities may be needed. Identification and treatment of comorbid disorders is also required for true treatment success. Acute headache medication use needs to be limited to avoid medication overuse headache. Although complete headache eradication is not a realistic expectation, significant reductions in headache frequency and/or severity are the goal of prophylactic therapy. Read full article here.

Treatments For Patients With A Chronic Migraine Are Effective

A chronic migraine headache is a complication of migraines and is a headache that fulfills diagnostic criteria for a migraine headache and occurs for a greater time interval. People with a chronic migraine are more likely to be unable to perform the functions required of them at their job and less likely to be employed full-time than people who have migraines less frequently. Most treatment options for a chronic migraine headache are either acute or preventive medication.

Many of the therapies prescribed for a chronic migraine headache are the same as those prescribed for an episodic migraine. This can also be brought on by overuse of acute medications that are designed to get rid of an existing headache.  Identification of those at risk, correct diagnosis, and an establishment of a comprehensive management plan for patients with a chronic migraine will require a joint effort between the patient and the chiropractor’s experts. For more information, you may contact us here: (619) 831-8777. 

Related Articles:
Chiropractic Treatment Headaches – Chiropractor San Diego
Migraine Headache Home Treatments

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Author: Allison Yardley

Allison has 6 years in practice as a Chiropractor's Assistant and is a licensed Massage Therapist who writes for numerous blogs online. Feel free to comment or ask questions regarding any of Alley's blog posts.

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