Migraines Are Kind of Like Food Poisoning.

Let me explain.

I often hear people say, “I’ve got the worst headache, maybe it’s a migraine”, but it’s gone after they chug some water.  

I also often hear people say, “I think I’ve got food poisoning, I don’t feel well”, only to be perfectly okay 2 hours later.


Now, if you’ve truly ever had food poisoning, you know that there’s no “thinking” about it. It’s awful. You basically have flu symptoms lasting for 24 hours. They wake you up in the middle of the night so you can rush to the toilet and then fall asleep on the bathroom floor.

Kind of like food poisoning, if you get migraines, there’s no “thinking” about it. Migraines are also awful. They are life-disrupting, energy-sucking, and generally make you consider being buried alive because lying in a dark, cool, quiet place sounds like bliss. I’ve got a talent for spotting migraine sufferers. (Here’s my secret!) When they walk, their purse makes a “chhh chhh” noise with each step. I’ve asked enough times what they have in there to now know its Excedrin Migraine.


Enter Amy.

Amy is a NICU nurse with 15+ years of experience, has 2 kids, a husband, and a dog.

Amy is kind with a calm disposition and tries to take good care of herself. She likes making people laugh, enjoys playing tennis and going out with her friends, she takes pride in her work, loves her family, and generally is a very happy person. Amy feels hollow, though. She doesn’t get to do the things she enjoys anymore.

Amy walks in with the “chh chh” noise. Amy has migraines.

Amy’s migraines started when she was in college. Initially, the migraines cycled within a week or so of her menstrual cycle. It was that way for most of her college career, along with the occasional, random migraine she associated with increased stress levels of a looming test or pulling an all-nighter.

When she got her first nursing job she said instead of having one migraine a month, she started getting them every couple of weeks. She read something about “migraine triggers” and started cutting things out of her diet, like wine and dairy, and even stopped wearing her favorite perfume. Amy also started noticing that her neck was sore and achy a lot of the time, especially after she finished working one of her nursing shifts.

A couple years later, Amy starts working the night shifts in the hospital, but now, her migraines show up after every single 3-day shift and her neck soreness progresses to the point of pain that radiates into her shoulders and arms.

At this point, Amy realizes that her head and neck pain are interfering with her work, and makes an appointment to go see her doctor. She tells him she has been taking Advil twice a day when she’s working, which helps take the edge off but doesn’t make anything go away, and tries not to take anything on her days off. Amy is not averse to taking medication, she just knows taking a medication every day is not something she wants to do, especially with what she sees at work. He gives her an Imitrex prescription for her migraines, a muscle relaxer for her neck pain, they discuss Botox injections, and schedules her for an MRI.

Amy goes home and continues to do what she can on her own for her symptoms. Her migraines and pain have progressed so much, her life looks a lot different than it used to. She still exercises but switched out tennis for stretching and yoga at home. She goes for massages to help relieve her pain instead of going out with friends. She continues to watch her diet and does her best not to disrupt her routine since sometimes that can trigger a migraine. Amy goes in to discuss her MRI results and to ask for a different medication because she doesn’t like the way the Imitrex makes her feel at work. The doctor tells her they didn’t find anything wrong and brings up Botox injections and potentially getting a nerve block. Amy doesn’t like needles. Botox and nerve blocks sound terrifying.


Amy feels frustrated, defeated, and ignored.

She rejects the idea that there’s nothing wrong and the rest of her life will be about managing her pain symptoms. Amy has two pre-teens whose lives she’s missing out on. She has a husband she loves but a marriage that is seriously going downhill. She has a job she used to enjoy, but now only makes her pain worse. Amy is feeling lost and overwhelmed. She has no idea what to do next and knows this can’t be all life has to offer.

Amy finally walks into our office. Referred by another patient of ours, she says she is skeptical but open. She also says, for some reason, this place makes her have hope.

We discuss Amy’s health journey up to this point, and through our specialized nervous system testing and biomechanical x-rays, we determine the reason she’s having migraines and pain that are both progressively getting worse. There’s an interference within the communication of her brain and body caused by a misalignment and joint dysfunction in the upper part of her neck. As a result of this, her body’s ability to handle stress and to function properly is drastically diminished. It can no longer compensate for the dysfunction, which is also why her symptoms are getting worse. Correcting the dysfunction and restoring her body’s communication allows Amy to function and enjoy her life as she was designed to… as she used to.

By the time Amy leaves, not only is she feeling hope, she is empowered and proud of herself for following her gut and not giving up on finding answers.

Do you know an Amy?

Share this blog with her, or even better, be the friend that refers her into our office.

Live Life,

Dr. Alex