Migraine


Last updated on June 15th, 2021 at 11:26 am

WHAT CAUSES HEADACHES EVERY DAY?

@Neuralgroover

If you experience headaches every day, you likely have a condition known as chronic daily headache. Generally speaking, the difference between episodic and chronic headaches is the frequency. Episodic headaches happen “sometimes,” while chronic headaches happen “all of the time.” To be exact, chronic daily headaches occur for 15 days or more per month for longer than than three months. Episodic headaches happen less than 15 days per month. Acute headaches refer to a flare up, or exacerbation, of the headache regardless of if the headache disorder is in an episodic or chronic daily headache frequency. Depending on the specific type of headache disorder, the acute headache attacks can last a number of minutes, up to days or weeks.

The true causes of many types of headaches are not known and involve many variables. Most chronic daily headaches are from primary headache disorders, meaning there is not something specific or bad causing the headache (such as a head injury or brain tumor). The 4 most common types of primary headache disorders causing chronic daily headache are chronic tension type headache, chronic migraine, new daily persistent headache (NDPH), and hemicrania continua, in that order. Chronic migraine and chronic tension type headaches are often being fueled by medication overuse headache (rebound headache). Some chronic daily headaches are the result of an underlying condition, such as head injury, brain tumor, etc. These are called secondary headaches, because they are being caused by something else. This is why any type of headache requires a visit with your doctor for a more detailed history and examination.

Sometimes, there are certain symptoms that accompany frequent daily headaches, and these associated symptoms help determine the specific headache type. These can include: head pain that evolves from one or both sides of the head or radiates from one point; nausea or vomiting; sweating; sensitivity to light or sounds; stuffy or runny noses if the headache is sinusoidal in nature; redness or tearing of the eyes.

What Is Causing Me To Have Headaches Every Day?

There are a wide variety of potential causes for chronic daily headaches, which is why any headaches, especially daily headaches, require an evaluation with your doctor. The general cause of chronic daily headaches often tend to be a mixture of factors such as: tightness of muscles in the neck, shoulders, and head; trigeminal nerve issues; hormonal changes; environmental factors, medication overuse headache, also known as rebound headache (such as excess over the counter pain medications), excess caffeine (or caffeine withdrawal headache) and genetics. However, many other conditions and diseases may also be causing your chronic daily headaches, a few of which are mentioned below. There are a wide array of medical conditions that can also contribute to headaches, and this is why it is important to see your doctor about any type of headache problems.

Anemia

Some other medical conditions, like anemia, can also cause frequent daily headaches. Anemia is a condition where your blood cells have difficulty transporting oxygen throughout your body. This can be the result of an iron deficiency, lack of Vitamin B, and folic acids. There is also a condition called sickle cell anemia where your red blood cells are not formed correctly and cannot carry adequate levels of oxygen. Typically speaking, more severe cases of anemia will result in chronic daily headaches.

Chronic Disease

Chronic daily headaches are also associated with certain types of chronic disease like fibromyalgia, lupus, and diabetes. Typically, these diseases are accompanied by other symptoms. Lupus, for example, comes with joint pain and skin lesions. Diabetics tend to get headaches when their blood sugar levels are low. Fibromyalgia patients typically have a lot of musculoskeletal pain throughout the neck and shoulders, and this can also influence headaches.

Lack of Sleep

Sometimes, exhaustion over a long period of time can cause headaches to persist. Insomnia is a common trigger for daily headaches. People who suffer from sleep apnea often will experience frequent daily headaches in the morning. Sleep apnea sufferers receive less oxygen to their brain than regular sleepers. Untreated and undiagnosed sleep apnea can result in frequent morning headaches and lead to other issues like heart conditions,higher blood pressure, excessive daytime fatigue, memory and cognitive complaints. Heavy snoring is often a clue, and when a bed partner notices the patient seems to stop breathing at times or gasps for air during sleep, this is almost certain sleep apnea. The medical term is obstructive sleep apnea because during certain stages of sleep, the muscles in the neck and throat relax and collapse, causing obstruction to the airways.

Stress and Frequent Daily Headaches

Stress is another issue that can cause frequent daily headaches. According to Excedrin’s website, if your stress increases by 10 percent, you are likely to experience 6.3% more days per month where you have a headache. If you suffer from migraines, you will have them 4.3% more often. Eliminating stress will potentially help reduce your chronic headache frequency and could potentially eliminate them altogether. Stress is one of the biggest migraine triggers.

Chronic Sinusitis

If you have chronic sinusitis, you may have headaches that accompany it. This is caused by infection, nasal polyps, and swelling of the lining in your sinuses. The most common way to deal with chronic sinusitis is nasal corticosteroids, saline irrigation, or oral/injected nasal corticosteroids. In some cases, aspirin sensitivity can cause sinusitis, but these instances are pretty rare. Occasionally, surgery may be necessary to clear out sinuses. However, it is important to remember that many times sinus symptoms in the setting of headache are actually migraine. The reason is because migraine originates in the trigeminal nerves. The trigeminal nerves also innervate all of the sinuses and teeth. So, when the migraine is triggered by the trigeminal nerves, many times the sinuses are also activated. The result is headache with sinus symptoms, which is most often misdiagnosed and mistreated as “sinus headache”.

Allergies

An unknown allergy may be an uncommoncause of your headaches too. This can be related to excess histamine release along with significant sinus inflammation, fluid buildup, and blockage. If you have an allergic reaction that leads to a chronic headache condition, you will likely have a headache that is located very close to your sinuses.

COVID-19 Long-Haul Headaches

In some people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the COVID-19 headache that accompanies it in some individuals can last for several months or longer. Along with the headache, some patients also develop many other associated persistent symptoms called long COVID syndrome. This headache is usually a whole-head, severe-pressure, persisting type of headache, although the pain and locations can vary widely. They can also have migraine features and many times presents as New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH). There are a wide variety of treatment options as discussed here.

Trigeminal Nerve Issues

The trigeminal nerve is The reason for this is because the trigeminal nerve innervates many structures including the face, sinuses, teeth, TMJ areas, and everything inside the skull including the arteries in the brain. Some people have chronic daily facial pains which they refer to as chronic daily headache, so let’s touch on that too. More severe trigeminal nerve problems can cause severe facial pains, such as trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia tends to occur in older patients (over 50) and more often in women. However, it can certainly occur across all age groups and not uncommonly in men as well. This condition can impact men, too. Simple tasks such as brushing your teeth, putting on makeup, or any other interaction with your face can produce a short bout of excruciating pain, and in some instances, longer cases of pain, and even daily continuous levels of varying facial pain. This condition often occurs because of aging, could be related to multiple sclerosis (particularly in younger patients), or other issues, like a tumor or aneurysm compressing on the trigeminal nerve. To deal with this type of headache, your doctor might prescribe an antiseizure or antidepressant medication (certain ones work well on pain pathways such as irritated nerves), and in some cases surgery depending upon your condition.

 

Treating Headaches That Happen Every Day

If you get a headache every day, you will likely need to be treated for the condition that is causing your headache, such as diabetes, elevated blood pressure, or other medical conditions that may become uncovered as the headache is evaluated. However, there are certain things that you can do to help reduce chronic daily headaches, like drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine, stay away from alcohol, certain types of foods, and other common headache triggers. Reducing stress is also going to help reduce chronic daily headaches. Eliminating medication overuse headache (rebound headache) is a key factor necessary for headache improvement to occur, if present.

Certain headache preventive treatments and medications may include beta blockers, tryglycric antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and NSAIDs can help deal with chronic daily headaches. In some instances, Botox can help deal with chronic daily headaches if they are chronic migraine.

 

Seek Help For Your Chronic Daily Headaches

In the United States, while there are not many of them, there are health professionals dedicated to the pursuit of headache medicine. There are around 720 doctors who are UCNS-certified headache specialists, and have taken an interest in treating headache disorders. There may be one of these health professionals in your state who can help you deal with your headache.

IF YOU HAVE HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN AND ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ON ANYTHING RELATED TO IT, A HEADACHE SPECIALIST IS HERE TO HELP, FOR FREE!

FIRST, LET’S DECIDE WHERE TO START:

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION, HOT TOPICS, AND TREATMENT TIPS, VISIT OUR FREE BLOG OF HOT TOPICS AND HEADACHE TIPS HERE. THIS IS WHERE I WRITE AND CONDENSE A BROAD VARIETY OF COMMON AND COMPLEX  MIGRAINE AND HEADACHE RELATED TOPICS INTO THE IMPORTANT FACTS AND HIGHLIGHTS YOU NEED TO KNOW, ALONG WITH PROVIDING FIRST HAND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A HEADACHE SPECIALIST.

 

IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR POSSIBLE TYPES OF HEADACHES OR FACIAL PAINS BASED ON YOUR SYMPTOMS, USE THE FREE HEADACHE AND FACIAL PAIN SYMPTOM CHECKER TOOL DEVELOPED BY A HEADACHE SPECIALIST NEUROLOGIST HERE!

 

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR FURTHER EDUCATION AND SELF-RESEARCH ON YOUR DIAGNOSIS, VISIT OUR FREE EDUCATION CENTER HERE.

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Last updated on May 28th, 2021 at 01:28 am

YOGA AND MEDITATION FOR HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, AND PAIN.

@Neuralgroover

Yoga and meditation can help with fitness and mindfulness, but there are additional benefits. These activities can help you with migraines, headaches, and other types of pain. Yoga has the ability to help you:

  • Alleviate stress, which is a common source of headaches, migraines, and pain.
  • Sleep better, as sleep deprivation can cause or worsen headaches and migraines.
  • Support better posture, as poor posture is an agitator of migraines and headaches.
  • Reduce muscle tightness, as tension in your back, shoulders, and neck can be a contributor to migraines and headaches. Keep in mind that there is often an interconnection between neck and shoulder musculature and headaches. 70% of patients with migraine get neck pain and stiffness associated with their migraine attacks. Conversely, if there is significant tightness and spasm in these muscles, they can irritate the nerves in the back of the head (occipital nerves), and this can also contribute to headaches and migraines. So targeting these muscles to get them to relax can be very helpful.

 

There was a study published which looked at adding on yoga therapy in combination with standard migraine medical treatments. The study results concluded that yoga as an add-on therapy in migraine was superior to medical treatment alone. Therefore, it was suggested to integrate yoga as a cost-effective and safe intervention into the management of migraine. Other prospective randomized open label trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses have shown yoga to decrease headache frequency, headache pain intensity, and headache duration in both migraine and tension type headaches.

 

Tips for Starting Yoga To Improve Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

If you are thinking about starting yoga to improve your headaches, migraines, or pain, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Always speak with your doctor before beginning to see if it is a good fit for you.
  • Consider a beginner’s class if you are new to yoga.
  • Check with the instructor to tell them about your headaches, migraines, or pain. They can recommend good poses or even modify certain poses so that they do not contribute to agitating your headaches or migraines.
  • Avoiding certain types of poses, like inversion, can reduce the likelihood of causing a headache.

 

 

Yoga Poses That Your Instructor Might Recommend To Reduce Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

There are a few poses that many yoga instructors might recommend if you suffer from headaches, migraines, or pain. These include:

  • Child’s pose: This pose can reduce tension in your upper body.
  • Cat and cow pose: This pose increases circulation, as well as reduces tension in your shoulders and back.
  • Seated forward fold: This pose opens up your shoulders and stretches out your back, a great way to relieve the tension in these areas of your body that causes headaches.
  • Legs up the wall: This pose helps blood flow towards your brain, which can help alleviate an existing headache.
  • Savasana: This pose uses the ground below your body to provide throughout and can increase oxygen to your brain, alleviating an existing headache or migraine.

Not only are the poses that go along with migraines beneficial, but some of the other techniques that go along with yoga, like breathing can help with headaches and migraines. Alternate nostril breathing is a common way to calm the mind and relieve stress. Yoga also helps tames the anxiety center of the brain, which is another way to relieve stress.

Meditation for Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

Meditation reduces stress and can possibly impact the severity of headaches and migraines. A recent study by the NIH was conducted that found several interesting results when meditation was used for headache and migraine sufferers:

  • The frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines could potentially decrease as a result of meditation.
  • People who practiced meditation had a decreased use of non-opioid medications over time.

The benefits of meditation for headaches and migraines include:

  • The ability to potentially lower stress levels, a key driver of headaches and migraines.
  • An improved pain tolerance with the onset of headaches and migraines.
  • A reduction in the frequency and intensity of headache, migraines, and other types of pain.
  • A better quality of life.

 

Meditation and migraine were studied in 92 patients and results were published. Over 30 days, the frequency of migraines decreased significantly. Medication usage was also significantly lower in the meditation group.

 

Different Types of Meditation Techniques To Try For Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

There are several different types of meditation techniques that you can try that can potentially help with stress reduction. These different techniques can also take your thoughts off of your headache, migraine, or pain.

Mindfulness Meditation

This type of meditation has its origins in Buddhism and is one of the most popular meditation techniques to try. When practicing mindfulness meditation, you will focus on your thoughts, as well as sensations, thoughts, and feelings.

Visualization Meditation

This type of meditation involves visualizing positive scenes and images and focusing on them. Another type of thing to focus on with visualization meditation is thoughts and scenes of where your headache, migraine, or pain has subsided.

Progressive Relaxation

This type of meditation is common to help you relax before you sleep and involves reducing tension in the body and promoting an overall sense of relaxation. This technique also involves “scanning” your body to isolate areas of pain and tension. When focusing on the head, shoulders, and neck, this technique can be particularly effective in reducing the intensity of headaches and migraines.

Movement Meditation

This technique involves changing your surroundings. You can take a walk, practice gardening, or even exercise while being aware of sensations and feelings within your body. Movement meditation can help reduce stress, which may in turn, alleviate the onset of headaches, migraines, and other types of pain.

 

 

Additional Benefits of Meditation

Meditation indirectly reduces the onset and severity of headaches, migraines, and other types of pain. However, there are several additional health benefits, over time, that come along with meditation practices:

  • Meditation has the power to reduce blood pressure, which can be a driver of headaches and other chronic diseases, like diabetes. High blood pressure is also the leading cause of stroke.
  • Anxiety is a condition that can be potentially alleviated by meditation.
  • Meditation can also increase feelings of self-worth, which can help overcome depression.
  • Sleep can be aided by meditation and improved sleep can also help reduce the onset of headaches, migraines, and pain.

 

 

Reducing Tension, Stress, and Anxiety

Overall, meditation and yoga are an array of techniques that you can use to reduce stress, tension, and anxiety in your body. These are things that can contribute to headaches. Yoga may help increase blood flow in the body, which can also help reduce headaches, migraines, and pain.

Overall, it is best to consult your doctor when considering treatments for headaches, as yoga is an advanced technique that you should work with an instructor on.

 

IF YOU HAVE HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN AND ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ON ANYTHING RELATED TO IT, A HEADACHE SPECIALIST IS HERE TO HELP, FOR FREE!

FIRST, LET’S DECIDE WHERE TO START:

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION, HOT TOPICS, AND TREATMENT TIPS, VISIT OUR FREE BLOG OF HOT TOPICS AND HEADACHE TIPS HERE. THIS IS WHERE I WRITE AND CONDENSE A BROAD VARIETY OF COMMON AND COMPLEX  MIGRAINE AND HEADACHE RELATED TOPICS INTO THE IMPORTANT FACTS AND HIGHLIGHTS YOU NEED TO KNOW, ALONG WITH PROVIDING FIRST HAND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A HEADACHE SPECIALIST.

 

IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR POSSIBLE TYPES OF HEADACHES OR FACIAL PAINS BASED ON YOUR SYMPTOMS, USE THE FREE HEADACHE AND FACIAL PAIN SYMPTOM CHECKER TOOL DEVELOPED BY A HEADACHE SPECIALIST NEUROLOGIST HERE!

 

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR FURTHER EDUCATION AND SELF-RESEARCH ON YOUR DIAGNOSIS, VISIT OUR FREE EDUCATION CENTER HERE.

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Last updated on May 28th, 2021 at 01:24 am

COMMON FOODS, ADDITIVES, AND OTHER MIGRAINE TRIGGERS.

@Neuralgroover

While the exact cause of migraines remains unknown, the neurovascular theory of migraine is currently most accurate. Regardless of exact mechanism, there are many different triggers that can bring them on. Certain types of foods, beverages, and food additives can trigger migraines. In addition to these triggers, things like excess light, visual stimuli, and noise can also trigger migraines. Let’s take a look at some of the common different triggers that can bring on a migraine.

 

Foods and Beverages That Can Trigger Migraines

Certain types of foods and lack of eating can cause migraines. As many as 60% of people report that food can trigger migraines. When people report having a migraine to their primary care physician or headache specialist, they often report alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate as being a common trigger for their migraine. Sometimes, foods that we associate as being healthy can also bring on migraines. For example, aged cheeses, fermented foods, and certain types of cured meats can bring on a migraine. Fermented foods, while being great for promoting gut health, contain an amino acid called tyramine, which can trigger migraines. Tyramine is also a common trigger found in aged cheeses.

Beverages containing certain additives such as artificial sweeteners can also cause migraines. For example, diet soda contains both caffeine and aspartame. In certain cases of people who have clinical depression, aspartame can worsen migraine symptoms. Alcohol is also a common migraine trigger. In particular, red wine and white wine may trigger migraines in individuals. Red wine triggers migraines in about 19.5% of people with migraine while white wine may trigger migraines in about 10.5% of people with migraine.

While many people drink coffee, tea, and energy drinks, these beverages are known to bring on migraines and headaches. An additional migraine trigger for these beverages is caffeine withdrawal. Also, over-the-counter medications for headaches and migraines could potentially contain caffeine, which may in some cases make a migraine worse. In general, caffeine can be a double edged sword. Caffeine does have some mild pain relieving properties, and it also causes mild constriction (narrowing) of dilated arteries. Both of these factors can be helpful for some patients with migraine. However, when caffeine is not in the system, headaches can be triggered as a result (caffeine withdrawal headache). A common example of this is in patients that wake in the morning with a headache that improves when they drink their morning coffee. This occurs because as they are sleeping, the caffeine is eliminated from the body. So when they wake, they are in caffeine withdrawal. Thus, why the headache gets better once they get their morning coffee flowing.

Other types of food additives can also trigger migraines. For example, MSG is a very common food additive that may cause migraines. Some studies have found that MSG may bring on a migraine or headache in the face area. Nitrates and nitrites are also common migraine triggers. These are vasodilating agents found in many foods, especially preserved and processed meats such as lunch meats, sausage, smoked foods, pork, bacon, salami, pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, ham, and, bratwurst. So if you have a child that is getting a lot of headaches and migraines, and eats lunchmeat for lunch, you may want to look into nitrate and nitrite-free lunch meat options.

 

Dehydration and Migraines

People who suffer from migraine report that dehydration is a common trigger. Even the slightest notion of dehydration can fast track the onset of a migraine, causing dizziness, confusion, and the other classic symptoms of a migraine. In some cases, people who drink water after the onset of migraine might notice a decrease in the severity of their symptoms.

 

Lack of Sleep and Migraines

People who do not sleep enough often tend to experience migraines with more frequency and severity. When a person doesn’t sleep enough, the body tends to produce more of a certain type of protein that can cause migraines and pain. Also, during a regular sleep cycle, the body tends to have more REM sleep cycles, which can regulate certain processes in the body. One of the most common things migraine sufferers experience during sleep deprivation is that rest or sleep will often mitigate the severity of their migraine. Getting good sleep plays a big role in not only influencing migraine and headache, but a wide variety of other normal body functions. During the deep restorative stages of sleep, your body is replenishing it’s many neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters influence mood, concentration, energy, attention, memory, and a variety of neurologic functions. So, if you are not getting those deep stages of sleep, you become deficient in neurotransmitters, and the result is often worsening headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, fatigue, poor memory, concentration, and focus. For example, the most common cause of anxiety and depression is serotonin deficiency in the brain. For this reason, many antidepressants work by replacing serotonin levels. Thus, good sleep may be able to bypass the need for replacement by these medications for some patients, in addition to improving headache frequency. The optimal amount of sleep is generally considered to be 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is often easier said than done for many people with today’s hectic schedules.

Light, Smell, and Sound Sensitivity Can Also Trigger Migraines

Migraine is a disorder of neurological overactivity and oversensitivity. The neurological wiring in patients with migraine is set at a much lower threshold for triggering a migraine, as compared to someone without migraine. Sometimes, elements in our environment can also be attributed to the onset of migraines. Direct sunlight can be a primary trigger for migraines. Driving by a white picket fence alternating with bright light in between, fluorescent office lighting (which almost universally drives people with migraine insane), flashing strobe lights, or looking at the sun reflecting off a shiny surface are commonly reported visual triggers. While the outdoors and exercise are great for health, wearing a cap or sunglasses and finding a shady area may help alleviate the onset of migraine. Sometimes, direct sunlight can make an existing migraine worse, especially if the migraine was triggered by sleep deprivation, dehydration, or skipping a meal.

Prolonged loud sound can also trigger migraines in some individuals. For example, loud concert music and high decibel noises can trigger a migraine. In addition, some noises can become more bothersome or disturbing for someone experiencing a migraine, such as chewing noises, clocks ticking, and doors opening and closing.

Smells can also be associated with the onset of migraines. About 50% of people report heightened sensitivity to smells when they have a migraine attack. The most common scent trigger for a migraine comes from perfumes, which may be associated with aerosols and additives in the perfume itself. The smell of tobacco and certain types of foods are also common triggers and agitators of migraines that are associated with scent. Although oversensitivity to smell (osmophobia) is not listed in the ICHD3 criteria for migraine diagnosis, it is very specific for migraine and often an easy clue for the diagnosis.

 

Changes In the Weather and Migraines

Seasonal and weather changes may also have an impact on the onset of migraines. Here are some of the types of changes in weather that may agitate migraine sufferers:

  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Extreme changes in temperature where it becomes suddenly hot or suddenly cold, such as during season changes
  • Storms, especially where there is thunder and lightning
  • Dry and dusty weather

Another common trigger for migraines that is largely environmental is smoke. People who suffer from migraines report smoke as being a frequent migraine trigger and will avoid camping, barbecues, and other outdoor activities where there is smoke.

Why do changes in the weather cause migraines? People who already suffer from migraines and headaches tend to have a greater sensitivity to environmental changes. It is also common that people who have migraines triggered by environmental sensitivity do not discuss these triggers with their doctor.

 

Hormonal factors

Migraine occurs in 20% of women (1 in 5), and 6% of men (1 in 16). There is a reason for that difference, and it relates to hormonal differences. Before puberty, migraines actually occur more commonly in boys. However, once menarche (menstrual cycles) begins for girls, they take over in migraine frequency from that point on. Menstrual migraine is typically triggered by the drop in estrogen prior to a menstrual cycle. Menstrual migraine and its treatments are discussed in much greater detail here. Perimenopause (entering menopause, menopause, and exiting menopause) is also a common time of life where migraines can become much more frequent and severe for women, due to hormonal fluctuations. Interestingly, during pregnancy migraines improve for many women, and it is not uncommon that they report having no migraines at all during pregnancy (because the drop in estrogen is not occurring every month). Migraines often return shortly after pregnancy ends, and can initially seem more severe. Some women may not notice much improvement during pregnancy, while some can get worse.

 

Stress

Stress is one of the most common migraine triggers, which is unfortunately typically hard to avoid. For some patients, it is the opposite. They may get stress let-down migraines. For example, they get a migraine every time they are dealing with less stress, such as when they go on vacation, or every weekend when they don’t have to get up and go to work. These are particularly cruel types of migraine triggers! There can be other variables involved in migraine triggers in these scenarios too though. For example, if they sleep in longer than normal on the weekend, that can be a trigger for some patients since migraine is often influenced by sleep patterns. The weekend migraine could also relate to caffeine withdrawal if they sleep in and don’t get their normal weekday caffeine as early on the weekend compared to the weekdays.

 

Allergies and Migraines

Migraines and sinus headaches from allergies both have very common symptoms. Generally speaking, a migraine from an allergy will be more intense than a sinus headache and display the classic migraine symptoms such as nausea, throbbing pain, sensitivity to light, and a lengthy headache (up to 3 days and frequently recurring).

People with allergies are ten times more likely to develop migraines than people without allergies. The most common reason for migraines from an allergy is due to histamine release, your body’s overreaction to external and internal triggers that are driving your allergies.

Allergy shots and triptans are common ways to treat allergy-related migraines once they have started. Medications like beta-blockers may prevent allergy-related migraines before they happen.

 

IF YOU HAVE HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN AND ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ON ANYTHING RELATED TO IT, A HEADACHE SPECIALIST IS HERE TO HELP, FOR FREE!

FIRST, LET’S DECIDE WHERE TO START:

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION, HOT TOPICS, AND TREATMENT TIPS, VISIT OUR FREE BLOG OF HOT TOPICS AND HEADACHE TIPS HERE. THIS IS WHERE I WRITE AND CONDENSE A BROAD VARIETY OF COMMON AND COMPLEX  MIGRAINE AND HEADACHE RELATED TOPICS INTO THE IMPORTANT FACTS AND HIGHLIGHTS YOU NEED TO KNOW, ALONG WITH PROVIDING FIRST HAND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A HEADACHE SPECIALIST.

 

IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR POSSIBLE TYPES OF HEADACHES OR FACIAL PAINS BASED ON YOUR SYMPTOMS, USE THE FREE HEADACHE AND FACIAL PAIN SYMPTOM CHECKER TOOL DEVELOPED BY A HEADACHE SPECIALIST NEUROLOGIST HERE!

 

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR FURTHER EDUCATION AND SELF-RESEARCH ON YOUR DIAGNOSIS, VISIT OUR FREE EDUCATION CENTER HERE.

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Last updated on May 28th, 2021 at 01:21 am

HOME AND NATURAL REMEDIES FOR HEADACHES, MIGRAINES, AND PAIN.

@Neuralgroover

Staying Hydrated and Eating Healthy

Not drinking enough water (dehydration) is a common cause of headaches. Some studies indicate that there is a strong correlation between poor hydration and headaches. According to Science Direct, there are several different causes of headaches that are linked to lack of hydration and food or food additives. These include:

  • Skipping meals
  • Alcohol intake
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Excess salt (sodium) intake

According to the NIH, immediately hydrating can potentially eliminate your headache in as early as 30 minutes, if the cause is dehydration. Avoiding alcohol, eating right, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is a great way to keep headaches from happening.

Certain types of foods can be headache triggers and avoiding these foods can help prevent headaches. Migraine is particularly susceptible to various food and food additive headache triggers. For example, aged cheese can be a headache trigger. Pickled food products, prepared food (like potato chips), canned soups, and others are also possible headache triggers. Other foods that cause headaches can be found in this article.

Sleep is another way to alleviate headaches. For people who get less than six hours of sleep, they are more likely to have a headache. In a recent study, 85% of migraine sufferers chose sleep to relieve their headache while 75% reported that their headache forced them to get rest because of their headache.

Hot and Cold Compresses

For any type of headache that has radiating pain, you can place a cold compress on the area where the pain started. The cold temperature will help numb the pain, and this tends to be especially helpful for migraine. For tension headaches, studies have shown that a hot compress can work fairly well. If you have a tension headache, the hot compress can be placed on the neck or shoulders to release tension in your muscles.

 

Essential Oils For Headaches and Migraines

Essential oils are another type of remedy for headaches. These essential oils are made from the bark, flowers, leaves, stems, and roots of plants. Some of the more popular types of essential oils for alleviating headaches include peppermint essential oil, rosemary essential oil, chamomile essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, and lavender essential oil. Some of these oils can be used in an aromatherapy format and others can be applied topically. Here are some of the benefits of these essential oils for headaches:

  • Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint essential oil can relax muscles, ease pain, and alleviate tension and migraine headaches. This essential oil is typically applied topically.
  • Rosemary essential oil: Rosemary essential oil can reduce insomnia and relax muscles, as well as help with headaches. This essential oil can be applied topically or used via a diffuser.
  • Chamomile essential oil: Chamomile essential oil is commonly used for reducing stress and tension. It is a great aid for reducing tension headaches.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil: Eucalyptus essential oil is great for clearing sinus headaches and can be highly effective when used with other essential oils, like peppermint.
  • Lavender essential oil: Lavender essential oils are great for reducing stress and helping with overall relaxation. Commonly used via aromatherapy, lavender essential oil is great for reducing migraine severity.

Teas Can Help Alleviate Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

Herbal teas, without caffeine, can help alleviate the severity of headaches, migraines, and pain. These teas can help add water to the diet. Ginger, for example, is an herb for tea that works particularly well with alleviating migraines, and especially the nausea associated with migraines. Some studies indicate that ginger can alleviate headaches and migraines particularly quickly. Ginger can potentially help alleviate symptoms as soon as two hours after use. Other types of herbal teas include peppermint, chamomile, and lavender.

Vitamins and Minerals That Can Help With Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

Vitamins and minerals, like Vitamins B, E, and magnesium can help with headaches. Natural migraine preventive supplements including vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements are detailed further here. By adding these vitamins and minerals to your diet, you can help relieve headaches over time.

  • Vitamin B: Vitamins B6 and B12 are available as supplements and can play a role in general nerve and neurological health, although excess B6 can also cause neuropathy, so should not be used in excess. Vitamin B2 is the B vitamin which has good evidence for preventing migraine headaches.
  • Vitamin E: This vitamin may play a role in relieving headaches and migraines associated with the menstrual cycle.
  • Magnesium: Increasing the amount of magnesium in your diet can work particularly well if you experience migraine headaches, and has shown benefit in some patients with cluster headache and tension type headache.

Relaxation Techniques That Can Help Reduce the Severity of Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

Different types of relaxation techniques, such as breathing can help alleviate headaches. These relaxation techniques work best when you are alone.

  • Breathing Techniques: Deep breathing, visualized breathing, and rhythmic breathing are all activities that one can do to reduce stress and cope with migraines or headaches.
  • Visualized Breathing: Visualized breathing involves imagining the air moving in and out of you and each breath gets rid of a little bit more tension.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This involves taking note of the different areas of your body that hurt and relaxing them gradually. Rotating your head slowly and removing tension from your neck and shoulder muscles can help alleviate any headache or migraine symptoms.
  • Meditation, Yoga, and Mental Imagery Relaxation: These are different techniques, but they all have one thing in common. They make you pause any activity that is causing you stress and focus on yourself. Mental imagery relaxation involves focusing on peaceful images in your mind. Yoga helps calm the mind but also strengthens some of the muscles and tendons that can contribute to stress.

Acupressure and Acupuncture For Headaches, Migraines, and Pain

Acupressure is a technique that involves applying pressure to certain parts of the body. Acupressure works particularly well for headaches if you apply pressure at the base of your skull/back of the neck area. Using your knuckle or fingertip, simply apply pressure gently for 15 to 30 seconds. This should provide some moderate relief for a headache. Acupuncture has also shown some benefit in headache disorders such as migraine and tension type headache.

 

IF YOU HAVE HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN AND ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ON ANYTHING RELATED TO IT, A HEADACHE SPECIALIST IS HERE TO HELP, FOR FREE!

FIRST, LET’S DECIDE WHERE TO START:

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION, HOT TOPICS, AND TREATMENT TIPS, VISIT OUR FREE BLOG OF HOT TOPICS AND HEADACHE TIPS HERE. THIS IS WHERE I WRITE AND CONDENSE A BROAD VARIETY OF COMMON AND COMPLEX  MIGRAINE AND HEADACHE RELATED TOPICS INTO THE IMPORTANT FACTS AND HIGHLIGHTS YOU NEED TO KNOW, ALONG WITH PROVIDING FIRST HAND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A HEADACHE SPECIALIST.

 

IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR POSSIBLE TYPES OF HEADACHES OR FACIAL PAINS BASED ON YOUR SYMPTOMS, USE THE FREE HEADACHE AND FACIAL PAIN SYMPTOM CHECKER TOOL DEVELOPED BY A HEADACHE SPECIALIST NEUROLOGIST HERE!

 

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR FURTHER EDUCATION AND SELF-RESEARCH ON YOUR DIAGNOSIS, VISIT OUR FREE EDUCATION CENTER HERE.

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Last updated on April 30th, 2021 at 11:13 pm

MIGRAINE HEADACHES EXPLAINED.

@Neuralgroover

Migraines are a very intense type of headache that are often accompanied by other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, as well as neurological symptoms such as visual disturbances, numbness or tingling, speech disturbances (slurred speech, difficulty getting words out), weakness, vertigo, cognitive dysfunction or “cognitive fog”, among other things. Migraines tend to be more prevalent in women than in men, with a 3:1 ratio. A common risk factor for migraines often involves family history, but not for everyone.  People who suffer from migraines report intense feelings of pain, including a pulsating/throbbing sensation. This often occurs on 1 side of the head, but can also involve both sides. Exercise and activity during a migraine will often make it worse. Migraine is usually associated with nausea, and/or sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia)  Migraines often come in different phases, which are called prodrome, aura, the headache phase, and postodome, but not everyone gets all 4 phases:

  • The prodromal phase of a migraine often marks the beginning of a migraine attack and can happen over a period of a few hours ranging to a few days. Some of the symptoms include irritability and depression; food cravings; yawning and tiredness; and fatigue or muscle stiffness. Some patients report their prodrome as just a difficult to describe feeling that they recognize as an early warning sign of an impending migraine. Not every migraine attack includes the prodromal phase.
  • The aura phase of a migraine doesn’t necessarily always happen in every migraine attack, and only about 25% of patients with migraine get aura. Historically, those that get aura are called “classical migraine”, whereas “common migraine” refers to the more common variety of migraine which isn’t associated with aura. A large number of people who have migraines report that during the aura phase, they experience loss of sight, numbness, and other symptoms. Visual aura (loss of vision, jagged lines, flashing, colors, shapes, wavy lines, kaleidoscope, shimmering, expanding blind spot, etc.) are the most common aura. This is followed by numbness and tingling on 1 side (especially face and arm), and then dysphasia (trouble speaking; slurred speech, getting words out). There are also less common types of aura such as hemiplegic migraine aura (1-sided weakness), and brainstem aura (previously called “basilar migraine”; slurred speech, vertigo, tinnitus, double vision, hearing impairment, decreased level of consciousness, ataxia/imbalance). The aura phase should last between 5-60 minutes per ICHD3 criteria. Hemiplegic migraine can be associated with 1-sided weakness which can last up to 3 days. If the other types of aura last longer than 60 minutes, it is called prolonged or atypical aura, and usually warrants a brain CT or MRI, although it is not too uncommon to see. .
  • The headache phase of a migraine is often the longest and most intense period of a migraine. Symptoms include intensive throbbing, nausea, giddiness, irritability, stiffness, and soreness. According to ICHD3 criteria, an untreated or unsuccessfully treated migraine attack should last 4-72 hours. A headache lasting longer than 72 hours (3 days) is called status migrainosus. It is not uncommon for a refractory migraine to last days and sometimes weeks for some patients.
  • The postdrome phase is the drawing down of a migraine attack. It can last for up to 48 hours and some of the lingering symptoms remain from the other phases of a migraine attack. Patients often report feeling wiped out, fatigued, and sore as if they were “hit by a bus”.

 

According to the American Migraine Foundation, more than 36 million people suffer from migraines (although now estimated to be closer to 39 million), but only one out of three people actually talk to their doctors about their pain.

Statistics About Migraines and Their Prevalence

According to several different sources, migraines are one of the most common types of illness in the world. More specifically, it is ranked as the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world. It is estimated that migraine affects about 39 million Americans, and 1 billion worldwide. For example, 1 in 4 households in the United States have an individual that suffers from migraine attacks. Migraines impact 18-20% of women (1 in 5) and 6% of men (1 in 16) in the United States and they are also fairly common in children.

Migraines are also a common cause for an emergency room visit. In fact, there are more than 1.2 million emergency room visits each year in the United States for someone who is suffering from an acute migraine attack. Patients with migraine have a greater than 1.5 fold increase in office visits, and a greater than 2 fold increase in ER visits and hospital admissions. Migraines can also diminish the quality of life for the people who suffer from them. More than 4 million adults suffer from chronic migraine pain, which is an individual who is experiencing more than 15 days of migraine pain each month. Approximately 3% of patients will transform from episodic migraine to chronic migraine each year. Overall, it is estimated that 3-5% of patients in the United States have chronic migraine. Also, 20% of people who suffer from chronic migraines are disabled. Disability due to migraine peaks between the ages of 15-49 years old, which are peak employment years. Thus, migraine now accounts for the 2nd leading cause of years lived with disability following low back pain! Migraine also accounts for 50% of all neurologic disability. All of this puts a very high price tag on migraine, with an estimated 36 billion dollars spent in migraine costs in the United States each year.

 

Migraines in Children

Migraines are commonly undiagnosed in children. They are more commonplace in adolescent children, but 10% of school-age children suffer from migraines. Half of all migraine sufferers have their first migraine attack before they turn twelve and if a child has one parent who suffers from migraines, they have a 50% chance of developing migraines during their lifetime. Also, boys under the age of twelve tend to have migraines more often than girls, but that trend reverses in adolescence, typically with onset of menarche (which also highlights the hormonal influence on migraine).

 

What Causes Migraines?

There are a number of reasons that people suffer from migraines, but the true cause of them is not fully understood. Genetics and environmental factors play a role. In fact, around ⅔ of migraine cases run in families. Migraines also tend to happen in people who are prone to stress, bipolar disorder, and depression. There are also some common triggers for migraines, including:

  • Drinks, such as alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
  • Work stress or stress at home.
  • Bright lights or strong smells.
  • Drastic changes in one’s sleep cycle.
  • Bouts of overexertion.
  • Changes in the weather or other barometric pressure changes
  • Certain foods and food additives such as MSG, nitrates, aspartame, and other substances such as artificial sweeteners.

 

Migraine Theories:

1) Vascular theory; “vascular headache” (outdated):

a) Lack of blood flow (ischemia) caused by vasoconstriction (narrowing) of the intracranial arteries (arteries inside the brain) caused migraine aura.

b) The vasoconstriction was then followed by rebound vasodilation (dilation) of the arteries. This dilation activated pain receptors on the arteries, and this was the cause of the pulsating headache.

c) This theory has since been disproven and outdated. Studies have also shown that the physical pulsations of the arteries did not correlate to the pulsating sensations of the headache pain.

2) Neurovascular theory (current):

a) Migraine is a neurogenic process with secondary changes in cerebral perfusion (related to neuronal dysfunction and hypometabolism during an attack). In other words, migraine is an electrical neurological event in the brain, not an event triggered by blood flow changes. This electrical event influences changes in brain metabolism such as hypometabolism and hypermetabolism. When the neurons are in a hypometabolism state, they have less oxygen and glucose requirement since they are not as active, and thus there is a lack of blood flow (not due to vasoconstriction of the brain arteries). This can be followed by hypermetabolism in which there is an increase in oxygen and glucose requirements and thus, increase in blood flow (so not necessarily simply rebound vasodilation).

 

b) Migraine aura is a good illustration of this phenomenon. Migraine aura is caused by an electrical wave spreading across the cortex of the brain moving at about 3 mm per minute (not by vasoconstriction as per the older vascular theory). At the front of this spreading electrical wave it causes hypermetabolism and an increase in blood flow. This hypermetabolism causes the “positive” migraine aura features (colors, flashing lights, kaleidoscope, shapes, zig-zags, tingling sensory changes, etc.). Following this electrical wave there is “neuronal depression” and hypometabolism, associated with a decrease in blood flow. This hypometabolism causes the “negative” migraine aura features (loss of vision, black spots, numbness, etc.). Depending on where this wave spreads, you may get different aura symptoms; visual aura as it spreads across the occipital (visual) cortex, sensory/numbness/tingling as it spreads across the parietal (sensory) cortex, dysphasia (trouble speaking, slurred speech) as it spreads across the frontotemporal (speech) cortex, one sided weakness in hemiplegic migraine as it spreads across the frontal (motor) cortex, brainstem symptoms such as vertigo, tinnitus, double vision, hearing loss, imbalance, decreased level of consciousness, slurred speech (previously called basilar migraine, now called migraine with brainstem aura) as it spreads across the brainstem.

 

c) The electrical event of migraine not only causes the changes in metabolism as described above, but the trigeminal nerves are also activated. Think of migraine as an electrical switch that gets turned on in the brainstem. It then turns on and activates the trigeminal nerves. The trigeminal nerves innervate all of the arteries in the brain and through the meninges surrounding the brain. When activated, the trigeminal nerves release a variety of inflammatory proteins (such as CGRP) and neuropeptides. The result of this is 3-fold:

1st, these inflammatory peptides cause neurogenic inflammation around the brain. Think of it like a sterile (non-infectious) meningitis. So, when you’re having a migraine, exercise and activity, moving around, bouncing in a car, etc. often worsen the pain.

2nd, it causes cerebral vasodilation in the brain and meninges. The dilation itself does not cause the pain, but rather it triggers the trigeminal nerves which innervate the arteries, and this sends signals back to the brain that something is going on, which in turn causes more release of inflammatory proteins and causes the migraine to worsen. This is the basis of why it is called the neurovascular theory of migraine.

3rd, it enhances and exaggerates the transmission of pain from the trigeminal nerves, into the brainstem, and into the cortex of the brain where the pain is recognized.

 

At baseline, a patient with migraine who is not having a headache always has a state of neuronal hyperexcitability in the cerebral cortex, especially in the occipital cortex (which is why the majority of aura symptoms tend to be visual aura). So, they have a much lower threshold to a migraine being activated and triggered as compared to someone without migraine. In other words, the neurological system in a patient with migraine can be thought of as always being in a hyperactive, hypersensitive, overdrive state with the “volume turned way up” compared to a person without migraine. Thus, I tell my patients the goal of preventive treatment is to “turn the volume down” and increase the threshold of migraine being triggered so easily.

 

What Are Some Common Treatments for Migraines?

There are two categories of treatment for any type of headache, including migraines. Migraines can be treated through abortive or preventive means. Abortive treatment for any type of headache includes medications such as aspirin, which treats the headache while it’s happening. Preventative treatments are intended to keep a headache or migraine from happening so frequently. Here are some of the different types of treatments for migraines.

 

Abortive Treatment for Migraines

The goal of migraine abortive treatments is to stop individual migraine attacks at onset so the migraine does not reach full severity, ends quickly, and your function is restored and maintained rather than having to go lay down and miss the whole day in bed.  Over-the-counter pain relievers for migraines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are fairly commonplace. Some more aggressive abortive treatments include prescription medications like triptans (such as Maxalt) that block pain pathways within the brain. Some people may also receive anti-nausea drugs and opioid prescriptions to deal with more intense migraine symptoms. The migraine specific abortive/acute (as needed) treatments include triptansgepants (Ubrelvy, Nurtec), ditans (Reyvow) or neuromodulatory devices.

Preventative Treatments for Migraines

Medications that lower blood pressure, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, CGRP monoclonal antibodies, and even botox are some of the common preventative treatments for migraines. The classification of the preventive medicine typically has nothing to do with its purpose when it is used for migraine. For example, there are specific anti-blood pressure medicines that are good for migraine prevention. However, they do not work for migraine because of blood pressure changes, but rather they affect the electrical pathways of migraine. The same scenario goes for the antidepressant/anti-anxiety and anti-seizure categories. The medicines selected within each of these preventive categories are very specific and based on clinical trials and evidence. In other words, not all medicines within a specific medication class (such as all antidepressants) have evidence for migraine prevention, but rather very specific ones within that class. Medications that are designed to lower blood pressure can sometimes prevent migraines with aura and without aura. Certain types of antidepressants can help prevent migraines, but have some undesirable side effects in some individuals. Anti-seizure drugs, such as Topamax, can reduce the frequency of migraines in some individuals. The preventive migraine treatments should be used until the migraine and headache frequency is significantly improved consistently for several months. As mentioned above, this can be done with a variety of medications which may also include the CGRP monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments (Aimovig, Ajovy, Emgality, Vyepti), Botox, natural supplements, herbals and vitamins, or neuromodulatory devices.

Alternative Treatments for Migraines

Some other types of treatment for migraines include acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, supplements, essential oils, yoga, meditation, and other techniques designed to enhance relaxation. For some individuals, exercise can decrease the frequency of migraines. In fact, some studies have shown that a routine exercise program can be just as effective as some of the prescription preventive medications used for migraine. Neuromodulatory devices that are FDA cleared for migraine prevention are also available and include sTMS (SAVI, SpringTMS, sTMS mini),  eTNS (CEFALY), and nVNS (GAMMACORE), all of which are discussed in much greater detail here. There are also nutraceuticals and supplements which have good evidence for migraine prevention.

 

Finding Help For Migraines

Migraines remain a poorly understood medical condition, but there are treatments available. Only 4% of people suffering from migraines work with a headache specialist or a pain specialist. It is estimated that preventative treatment could benefit around 25% of people who suffer from severe migraines.

If you suspect that your headaches are migraines, you should see your doctor. Furthermore, any type of headache warrants at least one visit with your doctor to make sure there are no concerns by medical history or examination for any other worrisome causes of your headaches. They may refer you to a neurologist or other type of headache specialist. Oftentimes, a wide variety of tests may be given, including CT scans and MRIs, to see what is contributing to the cause of the migraine. The good news is that migraines can be successfully managed for the majority of patients, and that many people live with them thanks to the treatments that they receive.

 

IF YOU HAVE HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN AND ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ON ANYTHING RELATED TO IT, A HEADACHE SPECIALIST IS HERE TO HELP, FOR FREE!

FIRST, LET’S DECIDE WHERE TO START:

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION, HOT TOPICS, AND TREATMENT TIPS, VISIT OUR FREE BLOG OF HOT TOPICS AND HEADACHE TIPS HERE. THIS IS WHERE I WRITE AND CONDENSE A BROAD VARIETY OF COMMON AND COMPLEX  MIGRAINE AND HEADACHE RELATED TOPICS INTO THE IMPORTANT FACTS AND HIGHLIGHTS YOU NEED TO KNOW, ALONG WITH PROVIDING FIRST HAND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A HEADACHE SPECIALIST.

 

IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR POSSIBLE TYPES OF HEADACHES OR FACIAL PAINS BASED ON YOUR SYMPTOMS, USE THE FREE HEADACHE AND FACIAL PAIN SYMPTOM CHECKER TOOL DEVELOPED BY A HEADACHE SPECIALIST NEUROLOGIST HERE!

 

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR FURTHER EDUCATION AND SELF-RESEARCH ON YOUR DIAGNOSIS, VISIT OUR FREE EDUCATION CENTER HERE.

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Last updated on May 28th, 2021 at 01:16 am

ONE-SIDED HEADACHE WITH CONGESTED RUNNY NOSE, OR RED, TEARING AND SWOLLEN EYE. 5 REASONS WHY – 2021.

@Neuralgroover

BACKGROUND

Do you have a one-sided headache, left-sided headache, right-sided headache, or one-sided head pain with some variation of one-sided symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion or stuffiness, red eye, tearing eye, droopiness of the eyelid, puffiness or swelling around the eye, facial sweating or flushing, or clogged ear feeling? These symptoms are called autonomic symptoms, and they are a central part of several distinct headache syndromes. The headaches that occur with this combination of features are distinct types of headaches, all requiring different treatments. Therefore, it is important in differentiating them to ensure proper treatment and less misery!

 

TRIGEMINAL AUTONOMIC CEPHALALGIAS (TACs)

There is a class of headaches called the trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs), and all are terribly painful. There are 4 types of headaches within the TAC family, and include cluster headache, hemicrania continua, paroxysmal hemicrania, and SUNCT / SUNA (Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing / Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with cranial autonomic symptoms). All of the TAC syndromes warrant preferably a brain MRI and MRA to exclude other causes such as pituitary lesions, aneurysms, or other abnormalities.

 

The TACs all share 2 common and core features. 1st, they are characterized by a severe headache that is strictly one-sided and focused around the eye, behind the eye, below the eye, in the temple or forehead areas. 2nd, they must include at least 1 autonomic symptom on the same side of the headache [lacrimation (runniness/tearing of the eye), conjunctival injection (redness of the eye), facial sweating or flushing (skin turning blushed), nasal congestion, rhinorrhea (runniness of nose), sense of ear fullness, eyelid edema (swelling), or partial Horner’s syndrome (miosis (pupil becomes small)) and/or ptosis (droopiness of the eye)].

 

So how do you differentiate these headache types when they all have similar features? Differentiation between them is based purely on their headache attack duration and pattern. So, it is actually quite easy to differentiate them as contrasted below.

 

CLUSTER HEADACHE

Cluster headache is the most common TAC syndrome and is discussed and detailed further here. It is characterized by attacks of severe unilateral (one-sided) orbital (around the eye), supraorbital (above the eye), and/or temporal pain lasting 15 to 180 minutes if untreated. There is either agitation/restlessness with the headache attack and/or at least 1 autonomic sign or symptom on the side of the headache as described above. Headache attacks typically occur from 1 every other day to 8 per day for more than half the time during a cluster cycle.  Chronic cluster headache is defined by attacks that occur for more than 1 year without remission, or with remission periods lasting less than 1 month.

 

Cluster headache attacks occur in “clusters”, or cycles, of frequent headache attacks. These cycles of cluster attacks may last for weeks or months before they go away completely. Within a cluster cycle, patients may get multiple attacks during the day or overnight. They often classically wake the patient up in the middle of sleep, usually around the same time every night or morning. The patient often gets up and paces around the house in agitated misery. They certainly can occur during the day as well. Remission periods can last months to years. Cluster cycles often occur at a predictable time of year, such as season changes (Fall and Spring are most common). Men tend to be affected 3 times more than women, but it is seen in both men and women. It is a severely painful headache, and has been termed “suicide headache” because of the pain severity.

 

Treatment of cluster headache is detailed further here.

 

HEMICRANIA CONTINUA

Hemicrania continua a continuous daily one-sided headache (side-locked, does not alternate sides) of at least 3 months duration with moderate to severe exacerbations. There should be either agitation or restlessness and/or at least 1 autonomic sign or symptom on the side of the headache as described above. Although not included in the criteria, sometimes patients describe a sensation such as something irritating in the eye on the side of the headache, such as sand, grit, or a hair, but nothing is found. Hemicrania continua is discussed and detailed further here.

 

To make the full diagnosis of hemicrania continua, the patient must respond completely to a therapeutic trial of indomethacin (a specific anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication), used in a very specific way (“Indomethacin trial”). For this reason, this headache is 1 of 2 types of “Indomethacin-sensitive” headaches because Indomethacin is typically the only thing that works (paroxysmal hemicrania is the other Indomethacin-sensitive headache). The diagnosis of hemicrania continua is confirmed by the headache completely stopping after reaching a specific dose of Indomethacin.

 

Besides indomethacin, other treatments of hemicrania continua are detailed further here.

PAROXYSMAL HEMICRANIA

Paroxysmal hemicrania is characterized by attacks of severe unilateral (one-sided) orbital (around the eye), supraorbital (above the eye), and/or temporal pain lasting 2 to 30 minutes. There must be at least 1 autonomic sign or symptom on the side of the headache as described above. The attacks have a frequency of more than 5 per day for more than 50% of the time when the disorder is active.  Chronic paroxysmal hemicrania continua is defined by attacks occurring for more than 1 year without remission, or with remission periods lasting less than 1 month. Paroxysmal hemicrania is discussed and detailed further here.

 

To make the full diagnosis of paroxysmal hemicrania, the patient must respond completely to a therapeutic trial of indomethacin (a specific anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication), used in a very specific way (“Indomethacin trial”). For this reason, this headache is 1 of 2 types of “Indomethacin-sensitive” headaches because Indomethacin is typically the only thing that works (hemicrania continua is the other “Indomethacin-sensitive” headache). The diagnosis of paroxysmal hemicrania is confirmed by the headache completely stopping after reaching a specific dose of Indomethacin.

 

Besides indomethacin, other treatments of paroxysmal hemicrania are detailed further here.

 

SUNCT / SUNA

SUNCT/SUNA are two variations of a rare type of headache called short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks, and they are discussed and detailed further here. Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks (which include SUNCT and SUNA) are characterized by moderate to severe unilateral (one-sided) orbital (around the eye), supraorbital (above the eye), and/or temporal pain. The duration of the pain lasts for 1–600 seconds (1 second to 10 minutes, although most often about 5 seconds to 4 minutes), and may occur as single stabs, series of stabs, or in a sawtooth pattern. There must be at least 1 autonomic sign or symptom on the side of the headache as described above. Attacks must have a frequency of at least one per day for more than half of the time when the disorder is active. However, the attacks generally occur in a very high daily frequency when active, sometimes even up to 200 attacks per day or 5-6 attacks per hour.

 

SUNCT and SUNA both share the above criteria. The difference between the two is that SUNCT requires both conjunctival injection (redness of the eye) and lacrimation (runniness/tearing of the eye), whereas SUNA requires only 1 or neither of these 2 features.

 

Treatment of SUNCT / SUNA is detailed further here.

 

MIGRAINE

Migraine is not a TAC syndrome, but it can sometimes have overlapping characteristics with the TACs in terms of its one-sided nature and associated autonomic features in some patients. For this reason, I have included it in this discussion. Migraine is discussed and detailed further here. The autonomic symptoms seen in migraine are not required by criteria for diagnosis, in contrast to the TAC syndromes which do require these symptoms for diagnosis. In some patients with migraine, their headache attacks can have some of the autonomic features described above. For many patients, migraine also activates the sinus pathways, so sinus symptoms of sinus/facial pressure, congestion and drainage are common. This is often misdiagnosed as “sinus headache”. However, if there is any throbbiness, pulsating, or pounding, it is almost guaranteed to actually be of a migraine origin rather than of a sinus origin.

 

Migraine headache attacks last 4 to 72 hours if untreated or unsuccessfully treated. There must be 2 of the following 4 features present: a unilateral (one-sided) headache, pounding/throbbing/pulsating quality, moderate-to-severe pain intensity, and worsening by routine physical activity. There must also be 1 of the following 2 features present: nausea and/or vomiting, or both photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound).

 

Treatment of migraine headache is detailed further here.

 

 

IF YOU HAVE HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN AND ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ON ANYTHING RELATED TO IT, A HEADACHE SPECIALIST IS HERE TO HELP, FOR FREE!

FIRST, LET’S DECIDE WHERE TO START:

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION, HOT TOPICS, AND TREATMENT TIPS, VISIT OUR FREE BLOG OF HOT TOPICS AND HEADACHE TIPS HERE. THIS IS WHERE I WRITE AND CONDENSE A BROAD VARIETY OF COMMON AND COMPLEX  MIGRAINE AND HEADACHE RELATED TOPICS INTO THE IMPORTANT FACTS AND HIGHLIGHTS YOU NEED TO KNOW, ALONG WITH PROVIDING FIRST HAND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A HEADACHE SPECIALIST.

 

IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR POSSIBLE TYPES OF HEADACHES OR FACIAL PAINS BASED ON YOUR SYMPTOMS, USE THE FREE HEADACHE AND FACIAL PAIN SYMPTOM CHECKER TOOL DEVELOPED BY A HEADACHE SPECIALIST NEUROLOGIST HERE!

 

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING HEADACHE, MIGRAINE, OR FACIAL PAIN DIAGNOSIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR FURTHER EDUCATION AND SELF-RESEARCH ON YOUR DIAGNOSIS, VISIT OUR FREE EDUCATION CENTER HERE.

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