Migraines Treatment

Migraines Are One of the Leading Causes of Disability Worldwide

Migraines have a long history, with descriptions of the condition appearing in ancient medical texts dating back to the 5th century BC. The Greek physician Hippocrates even wrote about a condition called “hemikrania,” which is thought to be related to migraines. In recent years, there has been significant progress in understanding and treating migraines. Today, they are considered a common and treatable medical condition, with various effective treatments available to manage symptoms.

What are Migraines?

Migraines are a type of headache characterized by severe, recurring pain and other symptoms such as throbbing or pulsing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. Migraines can also cause visual disturbances like flashing lights or blind spots, lasting for several hours or even days.

It is estimated that about 12% of people in the United States experience migraines, which are more common in women and tend to run in families, indicating a potential genetic component. The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, but they are believed to be connected to changes in the brain and blood vessels in the head. Possible triggers for migraines include stress, changes in sleep patterns, certain foods and drinks, and hormonal changes.

What Are the Symptoms of Migraines?

Migraines are a debilitating form of chronic pain. People that suffer from migraines recognize the onset immediately. The lifespan of this intense pain can be broken into four phases:

Prodrome 

Prodrome, also known as the premonitory phase, refers to the warning signs that can occur before a migraine attack. These signs can include:

  • Cravings: A sudden desire for certain types of food or drink.
  • Stiffness in the neck: A tightness or discomfort in the neck muscles.
  • Challenging bowel movements: Changes in bowel movements such as constipation or diarrhea.
  • Significant mood changes: Sudden shifts in mood, such as feeling depressed or euphoric.
  • Increased thirst or the need to urinate frequently: A feeling of needing to drink more fluids or visit the bathroom more often.
  • Repeated yawning: A sudden increase in the frequency of yawning.

It is important to note that not everyone experiences prodrome symptoms and that these signs do not necessarily mean that a migraine attack is imminent. However, the presence of prodrome symptoms can warn individuals to take preventative measures to try and reduce the severity of the upcoming migraine attack.

Aura 

Aura, also known as a reversible neurological symptom, is a set of symptoms that can occur before or during a migraine attack. Aura symptoms typically affect the nervous system and can include visual, sensory, and motor disturbances. The symptoms of aura usually start gradually, build over several minutes, and last for 20 minutes to an hour. Here are some examples of aura symptoms:

  • Visual cues: Seeing bright spots, shapes, or flashes of light.
  • Temporary loss of vision: A temporary loss or impairment of vision.
  • Tingling sensations: A feeling of pins and needles in the arm or leg.
  • Weakness or numbness: A feeling of weakness or numbness on one side of the body or face.
  • Difficulty speaking: Struggling to find the right words or difficulty speaking in sentences.
  • Hearing music or noises: Hearing music or other noises that are not actually present.
  • Uncontrolled movements: Sudden, uncontrolled movements such as jerking or wild movements.

Attack

Migraine attacks last anywhere from four hours to three days if untreated, but the duration varies based on each person. Migraines happen rarely or occur many times a month. With a migraine, you may experience the following:

  • Excruciating pain on one or both sides of your head
  • Ache that pulses or throbs
  • Sensitivity to sound, light, and sometimes touch and smell
  • Sickness and vomiting

Post-drome 

Post-drome, also known as the “migraine hangover,” refers to symptoms that can occur after a migraine attack. These symptoms can include feeling exhausted, confused, and drained for an extended period of time, as well as sensitivity to sudden movements of the head that can cause the pain to return. It is important to note that the severity and duration of post-drome symptoms can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience only mild symptoms, while others may have more severe ones that last several days. It is also worth noting that not everyone experiences post-drome symptoms, and these symptoms do not necessarily mean that a migraine attack has occurred.

The Science of Ketamine Treatment For Migraines

Recent evidence points to ketamine’s inhibitory effects on the NMDA receptor in the lateral habenula. The lateral habenula is a brain region primarily responsible for encoding negative rewards or anti-reward cause-and-effect relationships. As a non-competitive NMDA antagonist, ketamine prevents glutamate from activating the NMDA receptor, blocking pain.

The inhibition of the NMDA receptor may cause a build-up of free glutamate, which then activates the AMPA receptors. When surplus glutamate activates the AMPA receptor, it releases a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) chemical. BDNF, in interaction with the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), promotes new neural growth. This new growth may reroute the brain from hyperactive areas associated with negative reward signals, providing long-term relief from migraines.

In short, ketamine blocks the neural excitation pathways likely responsible for migraine pain.

Getting Treatment

Migraines can be a severe and debilitating condition that can interfere with a person’s ability to work or go to school and their relationships with others. In addition to the physical symptoms of migraines, such as throbbing or pulsing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea, migraines can also affect a person’s overall health and well-being. For example, migraines can cause dehydration, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.

If you or someone you know suffers from migraines, seeking treatment is important to prevent the condition from becoming more severe or chronic. Left untreated, migraines can become more frequent and severe, significantly impacting a person’s life. Renew Health in Allen, Texas, is here to provide expert and compassionate care for those suffering from migraines. Don’t let migraines continue to interfere with your life. Contact Renew Health today to learn more about your treatment options.

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