What is a Migraine (video)

What is a Migraine (article)


New studies[1] show that neurological changes are responsible for starting a migraine. This is a huge breakthrough, because as far back as the 17th century it was believed that changes is blood flow were responsible for generation of migraine and the resulting neurological effects, not the other way around. This outdated theory is known as the vascular[a] theory of migraine generation. Most doctors and nurses currently practicing were taught the vascular theory of migraines. Much of the documentation made available to the public still explains migraines using the vascular theory, and much of the documentation on the neurological basis of migraines is restricted to scientific articles and medical journals. We now know that neurological changes are behind all the mechanisms of migraine, from aura to vasodilation[b] to pain. Though there are still many discoveries to be made, we are now pointed in the right direction to make these discoveries.

Trephination and trepanation - Ancient migraine treatments (article)

The reason trephination and trepanation work is because of what goes on in a migraine. The brain has found a spot on the membrane that encases the brain, and mistakenly decided that it's injured there, even though it isn't. The membrane, also known as the blood-brain barrier, becomes leaky at that spot as the brain sends all sorts of healing chemicals to that area. It's why many migraineurs (people who suffer from migraines) can point to a spot and say, "That's where it hurts the worst." And that's where the ancient surgeons would remove part of the skull or drill a hole. As a result, the brain actually would have a wound to heal, and those chemicals could be used up. That would relieve the pain.

Migraine Mood Swings (article)

Migraines are very interesting things because it's an attack on the whole nervous system. Migraine effects the whole body, and included in that is mood and behavior. One friend of mine became apologetic when he got his migraines. He couldn't stop apologizing for himself and thanking people. Beyond my strange cravings (cigarettes---the real kind---not the e-kind, Red Bull, chocolate, super-sugary candies), I have mood swings from here to Egypt. I can get super creative, sexually aggressive, and love the world (also known as hypomania), I can have panic attacks that freeze all decision making, or I can have deep, suicidal depressions. None of this is controllable through medication. I'll explain some of the reasons why.
PBS Need to Know: Migraine Headaches
Scientific America: Why Migraine Strikes
Science News: Head Agony

Addiction Fears

End the War on Patients. "If I take this addictive substance, it will turn me into an addict!" This is a myth I hear all the time from friends, from family, from the TV, and from well-meaning but uninformed health professionals. Despite all they hype and propaganda, both the FDA and the National Institute of Health state that: "Studies have shown that properly managed medical use of opioid analgesic compounds (taken exactly as prescribed) is safe, can manage pain effectively, and rarely causes addiction." (A Guide to Safe Use of Pain Medications, FDA) But for some reason we're all being taught that if you take a nice, church-going housewife and give her oxycontin, she'll turn into a back-alley dealing junkie with a spike in her arm. But this simply is NOT true.

Migraine Arsenal

When you've lived with chronic migraines (that is, more than 15 migraines per month), you build up a tool chest of ways to deal with them. One technique I use, which I often overlook, is posture. Over the years I've learned how to hold my head very, very still, even as the rest of my body moves. It's my nature, now, and other folks who have migraines do similar. Here's a list of tool I reach for, long before I even think of using medication.

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