Migraine: Going Beyond The Headache
It’s common for the first post on a blog to introduce you to the person behind the keyboard so I thought I’d tell you how my journey started with the disease we know as Migraine and give a brief description of said disease. I started my journey during October of 2016 by visiting a team of neurologists complaining of headaches that would not respond to over the counter treatment such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The first visit to this team of doctors resulted in them “prescribing” Excedrin Migraine. I tried that product and I didn’t respond to that either. I returned to the clinic and they proceeded to prescribe Firocet which is a combination tablet of butalbital, acetaminophen and caffeine.
There Are Different Types of Headache?
I didn’t know this then, but now I think I ran into something called Medication Adaptation Headache (MAH). This is a secondary headache disorder, and I plan on explaining it in more about Medication Adaptation Headache in a future post. There are two different types of headache disorders, primary which Migraine is one of, and secondary as previously mentioned. The primary headache disorders don’t have a known cause whereas the secondary disorders do have a known cause. The cause of the disease known as Migraine is unknown but what we do understand is that in patients with it there is an increased presence of Calcitonin Gene Related Peptide (CGRP). This peptide binds to receptors which are located both in the brain and gut. We will talk about treatments that block this event from taking place later. Right now, it is important to know, a migraine attack is a flare up of the disease.
What “causes” Migraine disease?
Migraine is a biologically determined disease and it is believed that its roots are in genetics, Dr. Paul Matthew of the John R. Graham Headache Center is fond of saying “Migraine comes from your mother, not your mother in-law”. An attack is comprised of three to four stages and this is because not every person experiences all the stages. The stages are premonitory, aura, headache, and postdrome. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness can happen at any point during the attack. These phases can overlap and even loop around on themselves. You can learn more about the phases of migraine on Bridget Walker’s blog Beyond Coffee, she has a great page describing each phase.
What are your thoughts?
Have you been diagnosed with Migraine or do you know someone who has? We are learning new things about this disease every single day. As we go forward I will be talking about the FDA approved treatments for Migraine. Stay tuned!