Living With Migraines

Don’t let migraines get in the way of daily living

Posts Tagged ‘Migraine’

Minor Surgery cures Migraines

Posted by healthwyse on February 10, 2008

A new surgery developed in South Africa promises permanent pain relief from headahces and dramatically improves quality of life.

But only 1% or 2% of people who experience chronic daily headaches — typically migraines or tension headaches — require or qualify for the minor operation.

The study was led by Dr Elliot Shevel, director of the Headache Clinic and chairman of the SA Headache Society.

Phyllis Berger, author of the book The Journey to Pain Relief, says headaches are the second-most- common complaint at her Johannesburg pain management clinic, after back pain.

“Those who respond to surgery are very lucky but some patients don’t respond,” she says.

Bad posture is a source of headaches for many, and teeth grinding is also a problem, Berger says. Tension is another source and injuries from car accidents also give rise to headaches, even two to three years later.

“Most patients do respond to improved posture, doing exercise and treating inflammation and spasm of the neck muscles,” she says. “But often patients take so much medication that they get withdrawal headaches.”

“When we do it the results are life-changing. But we only offer people surgery if they can’t be helped by more conventional means,” he says.

Now the South African and Italian governments have agreed to fund further research on migraine surgery by Shevel and his Italian collaborator, Professor Carlo Cianchetti.

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Hands on relief for migraine

Posted by healthwyse on February 8, 2008

The symptoms may vary, but the pain associated with a migraine is always unpleasant. Most people have there own coping strategies but there’s additional help that’s within arms reach.

Studies have shown that massage therapy can relieve or prevent pain connected with migraines, though it doesn’t replace the need for medication and help from a doctor, experts say.

Migraines can be reduced in frequency by regular massage sessions, which decrease anxiety, heart rate and amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, according to the International Journal of Neuroscience.

Headache expert and neurologist Dr. Audrey L. Halpern of Rye, N.Y., says massage should be concentrated around the upper neck and shoulder regions.

The neck is important because it is connected to the trigeminal nucleus caudalis, a group of neurons centered in the brain stem that extend into the upper cervical spinal cord, i.e. the upper neck. Communication between these neurons and other neurons in the neck that mediate control of the neck, may be the underlying reason that migraines can cause neck pain and that neck pain can prompt migraines.

 So next time you feel those familiar warning symptoms, ask someone you know for a neck and shoulder massage. But don’t overdo it or they’ll probably wonder why you’ve had an increase in migraine recently ;p

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Migraines and Insects

Posted by healthwyse on February 8, 2008

A Queens Biology Professor says that the way locusts react to stress may provide an important clue to understanding what causes human migraines – and how to reduce their painful effects.

Dr Robins is studying insects and examinig how they cope with stress. They discovered that the locusts reaction to stress is very similar to what is associated with migraines and stroke in humans.

As a way of temporarily shutting down and conserving energy when conditions are dangerous, the locust’s coma has many of the same characteristics seen in people at the onset of a migraine. “We feel there may be an evolutionary link between the two,” Dr. Robertson suggests.

While migraine has been associated with this disturbance for some time, they still don’t really understand how it works. And that understanding will be key to designing new migraine treatments.

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Migraines and Sex

Posted by healthwyse on February 7, 2008

In 1988, a forthright woman in a headache treatment study inspired an Oklahoma doctor to question the sexual healing of migraines.

“This lady said ‘I really don’t need a pill, I need a guy’s phone number,” said James Couch, a neurology professor at Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The patient told Couch she had trouble curing her headaches since her husband had divorced her and she’d signed up for a pain treatment study.

Couch thought this was interesting, in a scientific way, of course. “A physiologic process — the climax — is turning off another physiologic process,” said Couch.

So he asked 84 other female migraine patients if they ever had sex during a headache and, if so, what happened?

Two out of three women reported having sex during a migraine — those intense debilitating headaches characterized by nausea and sensitivity to light, or sound. Doctors estimate about 18 percent of women and 9 percent of men get migraines often.

Of the women who tried sex with a migraine, 61 percent reported some sort of relief. Not bad, compared to the latest migraine drugs called triptans, which might soothe 60 percent to 80 percent of headaches, says Couch.

Perhaps more intriguing to Couch was the reports that sex could sometimes stop a migraine dead in its tracks, instead of slowly dulling the pain. More than 20 percent of women reported that sex cured their migraines, while triptans might cure migraine in 30 percent of patients, says Couch.

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