Posts Tagged migraines

A Fix For Migraines

Posted by on Tuesday, 19 November, 2013
Funny cartoon about migraine headaches

Straightforward solution for migraine

AN EASY INEXPENSIVE FIX (I HOPE) FOR MIGRAINES

Neitzche, Monet, Van Gogh, Julius Ceasar, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon. They got migraines.

Well I thought I would name famous people who also got migraines. Maybe it’ll cheer you up. Not that it will.  So let’s get on with it.

I have something but, first,  let get caught up on migraines, okay?

MIGRAINES

Migraine headaches are throbbing one sided (usually) headaches that have additional stuff going on. Some  start with an “aura” which, if that’s all there was to a migraine, could be kind of interesting. Flickering or glowing lights, sounds, smells,  tingling. There are all sorts of auras – a subject in itself.

Well that’s not the whole deal. I wish it was.

After the aura, the headache comes. Once the headache hits, the world goes away. There’s just you and the headache.  Sometimes just the headache. If  it’s bad, the headache takes over. You ride it out. There’s no choice. A “classic migraine” can make it hard to talk or move. Even think.

To add to your pleasure, you may also experience nausea, vomiting, or heightened sensitivity to light, sounds, or other stuff. When the headache finally does let go, you’re too messed up to do anything. It takes time to  recover. That’s the “postdrom”. I love medical science. If you can’t fix it, name it.

From the 19th century on,  it was thought that migraines occurred when arteries in the head dilated. It does seem there’s something going on with the arteries but the latest  thinking is that the actual migraine is a “neurological spreading depression”  across the surface of part of the brain. Nerve activity is depressed over the cortex. When the attack is over this stuff stops and the brain starts to function normally again.

Several medicines can be prescribed for migraines. The trick is timing. If you catch the thing early enough, you have your best chance.

But those pills aren’t cheap. You think “Is that really a migraine? Maybe it’s sinus. Maybe I’m imagining it. I don’t think I should waste a pill.”

If you hesitate,  all is lost. The horse is  out of the barn. You’re in for it!!!

A dilemma,  right?

That’s what I have for you. A way out of this dilemma.

WHAT I’VE GOT

A study from the Cochrane Foundation found that taking a single dose of 1000 mg of aspirin – maybe with an antiemetic for the nausea – had roughly the same effect as the prescription meds.  It takes a little longer to kick in. But less side effects. This info, by the way, is from Cochrane Summaries and the article is by  Kirthi V, Derry S, and Moore R.

Nobody’s saying you shouldn’t follow doctor’s orders. But if you’re not sure? And you’re thinking “It’ll pass?” According to this study, you could chug some aspirin. That way, you won’t delay. And that’s important, right?

Even though it’s just one dose, 1000 mg is a big dose. Some people take zantac with aspirin products to make sure they don’t have stomach problems.

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The cartoon? That’s mine.

Note: MISTER ScienceAintSoBad is a good guy. He cares about your well being. But he isn’t a doctor. At best, he’s a biomedical engineer. Don’t rely on me when it comes to medicine. I’m not giving advice and I hope you won’t take it that way. Do your own research and do check with your doctor.


Migraine Science: Drugs, Devices, And Dark Rooms

Posted by on Wednesday, 10 March, 2010

She's got a MIGRAINE, you nitwit!

I had a rental car with a broken radio. You couldn’t lower the volume or turn it off and it only got one station which had Rush Limbaugh, ranting and raving. What could be worse? – BizWhiz59

MIGRAINES

My wife says migraine headaches are worse than a date with MISTER ScienceAintSoBad . But she’s probably exaggerating.  A musician who gets migraines almost weekly says they’re “The worst thing that can happen to you that doesn’t kill you permanently”.

WHAT THEY ARE

About 30 million Americans get migraines ; they (the headaches) usually don’t hit till the teens or later.

The “classic” migraine’s a funny guy. You get visual or auditory “auras”. You’re thinking “wow! I bet there’s a spiritual relevation coming.” and, POW!, the top of your head blows off.

Mean!

The “common” migraines don’t have explicit auras although you might feel kinda “weird” or sluggish before the pain, itself, hits. The head pain varies but it can get pretty bad. It’s normally one-sided and, in case you’re not miserable enough with just pain,  there’s often nausea/vomiting too.

Far as is known, migraines are probably kicked off by some signal in the brain stem which causes arteries  (including those in the dura which encase the brain) to contract and then dilate abnormally while local levels of dopamine and serotonin (neurotransmitters) go off script too.  This is all sustained by a runaway condition in the temporal artery (a blood vessel near the temple).

WHAT THEY’RE NOT

Other kinds of headaches.

But it can be kinda hard to tell the difference. The Headache Center (Springfield, MO) says that 97% of people who thought they had sinus headaches had migraines.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

WHAT YOU CAN DO

I think, somewhere in here, I’m supposed to tell you to check with your Doc first and (seriously) you should because a bad headache may be a manifestation of a tumor or an intra-cranial bleed or God-Knows-What. It’s hard ENOUGH to get readers, in the first place, I don’t wanna lose one over a missed doctor visit.

However, as a matter of general information, you might like to know the best way to minimize the discomfort and to move on with your life:

1. Take the pain meds your Doc prescribed.

2.  ice packs, cold water, etc to your head/face.

3. Don’t be a hero. Don’t read. Don’t do anything. Lie down in a dark room. Meditate, listen to music, think about ScienceAintSoBad.. restful stuff.

An article on Health Square has more detail and  goes on to describe common triggers and ways to, maybe, dodge some headaches. Worth reading if you’re cursed with this syndrome.

THE NEW STUFF

From a scientific standpoint, there’s still plenty of work to be done here. I won’t bog you down, overly, with long, long shots.

Some of the newest stuff that’s currently on the market: zolmitriptan, Amerge, and a nasal spray version of  Migranol .  (Ask your Doc).

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Uses a dynamic electromagnetic field to knock down the “cortical spreading” waves at the onset of the headaches. It seemed to work about 50% of the time. It’s still very much an experiment.

Wanna go under the knife? If you do, surgical removal of certain trigger sites seems surprisingly good and may even be a surgical “cure” for many.  This is from a joint study led by Bahaman Guyuron, Chairman of Plastic Surgery at Case Medical Center.

Archives of Dermatology offers a small study with  a particularly tough form of the headache which got decent results using botulinum toxin injections. MISTER ScienceAintSoBad wishes there were more data.

A fair sized study done in Philadelphia with a “snorter” (an inhaled drug) called Levadex sounds interesting. According to the (only slightly puffy) description, patients had “significant” relief from symptoms. This was just the study that proves “safety”. Good one to keep an eye on though. Levadex.

Naturally, there are homeopathic “cures” for migraine. Make what you will of my quotation marks.

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(If you want the above cartoon on a t-shirt go here. )