Professional Athletes and Migraine Headaches
Running Back for the Baltimore Ravens, Trent Richardson, suffers from migraine headaches. And he’s not the only one. There are numerous professional athletes who perform day in and day out while they take whatever medication they can find to cover the symptoms of that excruciating pain in their head.
Here are some other athletes who suffer from this Neurological Abnormality:
- Dwayne Wade
- Percy Harvin
- Troy Aikman
- Serena Williams
- Terrell Davis
Of course, that is a very short list of all of the athletes who suffer from migraines. As far as Richardson, he said, “I’ve been taking migraine medicine my whole life like a normal person would do if they had migraines. Migraines are one of the worst things that you can ever have,” he said. “They’re real tough. It doesn’t come that often, but when it does, you’ve got to catch it at the right time, or it sticks with you.”
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Of course, it is to be expected that an athlete who plays contact sports will suffer from multiple head and neck traumas throughout their career. Many times those neck and head injuries can lead to a variety of headaches developing. We’ll look at the three most common scenarios that may cause an athlete to develop migraines.
Prolonged Exertion as a Trigger to Migraine
Prolonged exertion may be one trigger for some athletes who are predisposed to these neurological abnormalities. The problem with those who develop migraines because of this is that the pain doesn’t just go away when they discontinue the activity. They will need anywhere from minutes to several hours between the time they stop the activity and the time the pain leaves.
This kind of migraine, called an Effort Migraine, was seen in 9% of 128 subjects in one study, in which researchers noted this type of headaches often begins during childhood or adolescence. They also noted that the average age at which a person developed this type of headache was 15. Every person who developed this type of headache also developed Aura, which included nausea (by the majority of patients), vomiting, and neck pain that preceded their pain. Once the headache occurred, patients often described it as a moderate to severe throbbing pain that usually lasted for hours.
Prolonged exertion may not be the sole factor in these types of migraines. Those who suffer from them may also suffer because of heat, altitude, bright light, dehydration, or low blood sugar. Researchers noted that these headaches seemed to develop after the use of certain sports equipment including poorly fitting mouth guards, tight helmets, and goggles.
Of course, the good news is that those migraines that athletes suffer from can often be reduced and eliminated altogether. But it will mean seeking out the care of an upper cervical chiropractor. They can examine the patient’s upper cervical spine for any misalignments that may be the underlying cause of their migraines.
If the neck is out of alignment by as little as ¼ of a millimeter, the brain’s ability to communicate with the body is hindered. That means there will be various health problems that arise as a result. The good news though is that all of this can be reversed by allowing an upper cervical chiropractor to examine your upper neck vertebrae for any misalignments, and to realign the top two vertebrae in the neck.
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