Migraines are a common type of headache disorder affecting approximately 20% of women and 7% of men. Due to the potentially debilitating symptoms experienced, research continues to investigate etiology, including the impact of body posture.
What are migraines?
Migraines are often described as intense headaches experienced as a thudding pain on one side of the head. In addition to the pain, migraineurs may also develop a set of associated symptoms such as a heightened sensitivity to noise and light, feeling nauseated and vomiting.
There are three main types of migraines: migraine without aura, migraine with aura, and silent migraines. Those who experience migraine with aura experience a range of symptoms that are indicative of the onset of a migraine. These include;
- Experiencing blind spots in vision
- Seeing flashing lights and zigzags
- Speaking impairments
- Dizzy spells
- Tingling and numbness
Following the onset of the aura symptoms, individuals often develop a headache, or for some, no headache is experienced.
Causes of migraines
Research has identified a range of migraine factors that are thought to trigger migraines which can be categorized into five main types; physical, dietary, emotional, environmental, and those caused by particular medication.
Amongst the different cause types, specific triggers include hypoglycemia, dehydration, stress, bright lights, and the estrogen and progesterone pill, respectively. It is also suggested that body posture may be linked to the onset of migraines.
Body posture and migraines
It is thought that poor posture can be a trigger of migraines. Some argue that despite migraines typically being viewed as a central pathway dysfunction, its associated symptoms can be considered to be peripheral as peripheral nociceptive stimuli are linked to the onset of a migraine episode.
It has been found that frequent migraineurs report stiffness, tenderness, and weakness of the neck with approximately 74% of this sample also experiencing neck pain. Due to this, research began to examine the relationship between the neck and head posture and the occurrence of migraines.