How are migraines managed medically?

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How are migraines managed medically?
« on: 27/06/2011 17:10:43 »
doug  asked the Naked Scientists:


Dear Dr Smith


Could you please advise me as to developments in pain research?


For some 10 years my wife has suffered from chronic daily headache together with periodic migraines [i.e. she has had a permanent severe headache 24/7 for 10 years!].


Are there, for example, any scientific advances in, say, genetic research; stem sell research; or anything else that might give my wife some hope of eventual relief?


Your advice would be deeply appreciated


With best wishes



What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/06/2011 17:10:43 by _system »


Offline MartinTheK

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How are migraines managed medically?
« Reply #1 on: 22/08/2010 20:23:29 »
I'm afraid the doctor is presently out, but I am a retired RN with a bit of knowledge and since "shark week" is over on the Discovery channel I am keeping off dull times by hanging around here answering the odd question, much like an old fire house dog hanging out at the station.

What has your doctor told you? After 10 years one might consider a consultation with a headache maven. If you can't afford that, the Neurology department at a local medical school might take you on for makee-learnee ( or at least refer you to an a-list big headache kahuna and a support group).

There is a type of disorder called "chronic daily headaches" and you can find a discussion of this by the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota ( Go Gophers! Rah! Rah! Rah! for Ski-u- mah! Rah for the U of M!) if you recite that mantra and go to...

perhaps they can provide further helpful new information. Dr. Chris is a righteous dude, but I would place my bets with the Mayo Clinic.
« Last Edit: 22/08/2010 20:33:05 by MartinTheK »


Offline Mazurka

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How are migraines managed medically?
« Reply #2 on: 27/08/2010 09:13:09 »
As a migraineur, although mine are (now) infrequent and rapidly treated with Imigrain (one of the sumatriptan class of drugs), I do try follow the news relating to the latest treatments.

Most importatnly the headaches will have an underlying cause which (if possible) a dcotor should be pushed into finding - particualrly if they are as debilitating as you imply.  (Don't trust internet forums! in this sort of circumstance they may point in the right direction but no more!)

Botox has recently been approved for use in the UK as a preventative for chronic Migraine.  I also understand there have been some clinical trials realting to the use of magentic fields to treat attacks.

However, before (expensive) interventions, it may be worth looking at "lifestyle" factors, as although I do not think any two migraineurs have exactly the same symptoms or triggers, there are some general things to look at, which have helped some people...

Headaches can be very difficult to deal with if the sufferer is in a cycle of taking painkillers (particualrly stronger paracetamol/ codeine ) types as withdrawl can cause headaches too. 
Diet can play a part as can caffeine.  I linked my headaches to chocolate and to a lesser extent caffeine - although oddly it seems like it is caffeine withdrawl that brings on an attack (so if I lie in bed too long without having a coffee at the weekend I am more likely to get an attack)

Sleep patterns can be important too - lots of sleep and a regular bedtime - can make a difference. Exercise can help in acheiving this. 


Offline imatfaal

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How are migraines managed medically?
« Reply #3 on: 27/08/2010 17:11:30 »
I would second Mazurka - I get a migrane around mid-afternoon if I have a lie in - very depressing but in order to avoid an afternoon of misery I have to be up and about by about 8am at the very latest. I have checked and it's not a caffeine thing - I think it's just natural quotidian hormonal levels being disrupted.  Matthew
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