Migraine is a Brain Disorder

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Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by Laura on Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:09 am

I've often stressed to my doctors that the pain is not the only disabling symptom - and that sometimes the pain is not even the worst symptom. Here is a link to a blog entry abot a study that adresses this subject.

"Positron emission tomography of patients experiencing the premonitory phase of migraine, prior to the headache setting in, shows activation in several areas of the brain, indicating that migraine is a brain disorder and not a response to pain stimuli."

" 'This is an important step in solidifying our ideas that migraine is fundamentally a disorder of the brain, not a disorder of structures outside the brain,' said Dr. Goadsby. 'We were able to address the question that people have wondered about for many, many years, that is, what is the degree to which pain is driving the initial symptomatology — and we got clear answers to that.' "

http://www.brainandspinesurgerycenter.com/migraine-a-brain-disorder/
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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by Sarah on Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:11 am

Thanks for posting. What an interesting article.

I've got to admit though, I was happier with the idea of it being a disease outside the brain. Sad
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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by pīwakawaka on Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:12 pm

From my personal experience, I've long held the view that migraines originated in the brain and not elsewhere. This is based on symptoms I display well before any pain is apparent (and I do often have migraines with very little pain). Family members notice mood changes up to a day before the migraine proper starts. I notice a stiff neck, photophobia, phonophobia and a craving for sweets a long time before the more disabling symptoms arrive. Also, during an attack, pain killers can dampen the pain but have no effect on other symptoms.

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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by Sarah on Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:31 pm

I actually don't notice any changes beforehand at all, and nor does anyone else (notice them in me, I mean). I mostly get migraines without aura, and even with the ones with aura, I can literally be in the middle of speaking a complicated sentence and it suddenly hits - there is no warning.
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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by pīwakawaka on Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:47 pm

I'm fortunate that the prodrome can last up to a day. The only problem is that often that's all I get. The Migraine fizzes out before it starts. So in those cases it's like a false alarm.

If I ignore the prodrome (and too often I do), the shift from prodrome to full blown attack can be so gradual that I don't notice it actually arriving until too late. It seems that my ability to realise a migraine has started is one of the first cognitive skills to go. If someone who is familiar with my symptoms is handy, they will pick up on the changes, and with luck, I'll be reminded to take some medication.

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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by Sarah on Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:18 pm

I really wonder what it all means, and why some people get warning signs and others don't. I also wonder how common or uncommon it is. My mum has migraines (always with aura) and hers always seemed to hit suddenly too.

I think that's why I have developed such a fear of doing everyday things and being too far away from home - it's the worry of going from OK to incapacitated in such a short space of time.
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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by pīwakawaka on Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:40 pm

I've decided that life is too valuable to live in fear of what migraine might do to me. Admittedly I'm not able to drive far by mysef just in case a migraine strikes. I'd be too much of a danger to others while behind the wheel..

The only major drawback is that on several occasions each year, well meaning members of the public or emergency services drag me off to the hospital A & E in the firm belief that I have had a stroke. It's usually when I haven't recognised the onset of a migraine, or it has come on too quickly, and I'm not able to explain what is happening to me.

I think the most unpleasant part of it all is that if people think that my symptoms are due to alcohol or drug abuse instead of a migraine, they can treat me less than kindly. In fact it can be quite hostile at times.

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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by Sarah on Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:10 am

I can imagine. But I definitely admire your attitude to get on with life.

It annoys me so much how I have changed. I used to go out to work every day, despite the awful migraines. Not that I want to go back to that, as I don't think I did myself any good whatsoever pushing myself too hard, but I was definitely a whole lot less fearful.
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Re: Migraine is a Brain Disorder

Post by pīwakawaka on Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:20 am

I guess I have been lucky that my migraines got worse over a very long time. I had Migraine with aura from my early teens which faded out during my early twenties. Then from my late twenties, they returned - very mild and infrequent at first until by the time I was fifty I was unable to work full time. They are still gradually getting worse, but at a much slower rate than they were 5 to 10 years ago. The slow progress has meant it has been relatively easy to make the necessary adjustments.

I really feel for anyone who develops chronic migraine over a relatively short time as it can mean such a major realignment of one's lifestyle.

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