Worsening Migraine Attacks

December 9, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Worsening Migraine Attacks are decreased significantly by cervicogenic (neck) treatment. Recent evidence suggests that migraine is an increasing condition in which over time, the attacks become more frequent, more severe, less responsive to medication, and perhaps lasting longer.

Research has shown that by decreasing information (surgically) from cervical (neck) nerves deceases the long term worsening of the migraine process. The natural progression of cervicogenic (neck) headache is exactly the same – if it is left untreated, cervicogenic headache becomes more frequent, more severe and eventually becomes continuous. This indicates that with the passage of time the neck disorder is gradually worsening (and it is likely to be loss of function or stiffness). This research supports the idea that cervicogenic (neck) disorders are the reason for not only worsening of the migraine process but also for the migraine process in the first place i.e. sensitisation of the brainstem.

Now I am not suggesting that migraine sufferers rush off and have the relatively minor surgery performed in this study (in fact I respectfully suggest that skilled treatment of the neck would have achieved the same result), but this research clearly demonstrates disorders of the upper neck are significantly involved in the migraine process.

Cheers

Dean

(Perry CJ, Blake P and Goadsby PJ Intervention altering the natural history of chronic migraine. Is chroni?cation of migraine headache a harbinger of peripheral afferent nerve involvement? Cephalalgia 2009; 29 (Suppl. 1):1–166)

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

How Common Is Migraine?

December 8, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

There are plenty of statistics in relation to the incidence of migraine, but a recent survey revealed more than just gender incidence.

This survey of over 120,000 households found that four out of ten females and two out of ten males respectively will experience migraine at some stage in their lifetime – most likely before aged 35 years……

….. and that the greatest frequency of attacks are likely to occur between the ages of 20 and 24 years in females and 15 to 19 in males. The authors reported that these findings were in accordance with previous studies.

Clearly this is a significant problem for many!

Cheers

Dean

(Stewart WF, Wood C, Reed ML, Roy J, Lipton RB. Cumulative lifetime migraine incidence in women and men. Cephalalgia 2008;28:1170-1178)

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Is Migraine Inherited?

December 7, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Is migraine inherited?

Is migraine inherited?

In a previous post I mentioned a recent survey which reported that 40 per cent of females will experience migraine in their lifetime.

Why is it then, that if three females in a family of ten for example, the assumption is often made that migraine is inherited? This incidence is no more than what occurs in the general population.

This assumption immediately leads to “ …. well you just have to live with it; there’s nothing we can do but manage the attacks.” This is a life sentence and not necessarily the case.

A skilled examination of the neck will confirm or eliminate cervicogenic disorders as the cause of your migraine condition.

Cheers

Dean

(Stewart WF, Wood C, Reed ML, Roy J, Lipton RB. Cumulative lifetime migraine incidence i women and men. Cephalalgia 2008;28:1170-1178)

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

The Headache and Migraine Sufferers Bill of Rights (cont)

December 2, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

The first ‘bill’ is that the headache sufferer has the right to know his/her headache diagnosis as precisely as possible, and to know the nature of the headache disorder, its prognosis and the possible types of treatment.

I have discussed the first point regarding diagnosis; now

to know the nature of the headache disorder

Clearly there is a substantial body of research which shows that the brainstems of Migraine, Tension Headache and Menstrual Migraine sufferers are sensitised.

We know that the ‘triptans’ desensitise the brainstem and are effective in preventing Migraine, Tension Headache, Cluster Headache, Hemicrania Continua, Menstrual Migraine, Cervicogenic (neck-related) Headache (which shows that cervicogenic disorders can sensitise the brainstem) ……

The underlying disorder is sensitisation of the brainstem; optimal management therefore is identifying the reason for the sensitisation ….

Stay tuned,

Cheers

Dean

(Members’ Handbook. International Headache Society 2000 Scandinavian University Press)

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Headache, Migraine and Depression

November 30, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

It is of no surprise to me that a recent survey showed that headache sufferers were almost 3 times as likely to be depressed than non headache sufferers but who had other issues in their lives.

Let’s consider the lot of a headache sufferer:

little is known about what causes headache or migraine

headache sufferers either experience constant or near constant pain or severe pain

the only management appears to be medication which at best relieves the pain, but doesn’t change the cause (because the cause is unknown)

the doctor is despairing (because he or she doesn’t know what to do next)

Arguably the aforementioned points are more significant than some other issues(?) ….. not much hope is there?

Actually there is … it is amazing that, when after examination of the upper neck reveals the source of headache or migraine symptoms, ‘depression’ lifts – just knowing where the headache comes from leads to significant improvement in one’s outlook.

Cheers

Dean

(Marlow RA, Kegowicz CL, Starkey KN. Prevalence of depression symptoms in outpatients with a complaint of headache. J Am Board Fam Med 2009 Nov-Dec(6):602-3)

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Migraine and Dizziness

November 29, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

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Dizziness is a symptom that many headache and migraine sufferers experience

Are migraine and dizziness different presentations of a common disorder?

Some patients of mine have presented with dizziness as their only symptom and whilst they are are grateful they do not have to endure the awful pain of migraine or headache, significant dizziness can be disabling …. and of course dizziness is another symptom that many of my headache and migraine patients experience.

Many of those patients in whom dizziness was as the only symptom have responded to mobilisation of the upper three spinal segments (particularly C2-3 – the segment formed by the second and third vertebrae) – the same segments which have the potential to (and I believe do) sensitise the brainstem in migraine and headache conditions.

So I am not surprised by the recent findings of Japanese researchers which indicates that migraine- associated vertigo (dizziness) and Meniere’s Disease share a common condition.

Just as in migraine (I don’t know why!), the cause of Meniere’s Disease is unknown (and controversial) – could it be that the Meniere’s condition arises from a senstised brainstem?

….. all I know it is worthwhile seeking a skilled examination of your neck!

Cheers

Dean

(Murofushi T, Ozeki H, Inoue A, Sakata A. Does migraine-associated vertigo share a common pathophysiology with Meniere’s disease? Study with vestibular-evoked myogenic potential. Cephalalgia 2009;29:1259-1266)

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Demystifying Migraine

November 23, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

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The migraine debate

Debate as gone on for decades as to whether migraine with aura and migraine without aura are different conditions or just different expressions of the same condition.

Research suggests that they are different expressions of the same condition and that migraine is not about the blood vessels.

My previous posts can be viewed by going to the ‘Home Page’ and keying in ‘Migraine’ to view a list of posts that talk about ‘Migraine’.

Cheers Dean

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Post-traumatic Headache

November 21, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Neck disorders can be responsible for headache

Neck disorders can be responsible for headache

Whiplash or post-traumatic headache for some reason seems to be a controversial headache – perhaps because the only explanation for it might be that it results from a neck injury – and there is reluctance by some authorities to accept that neck disorders can be responsible for headache (especially given that post-traumatic or whiplash associated headache presents just like a migraine or tension-type headache?)

To review my previous posts on post-traumatic or whiplash associated headache. Please go to the ‘Home Page’ and key in either ‘Post-Traumatic Headache’ or ‘Whiplash Headache’.

Cheers  Dean

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Cluster Headache – Another Headache or Migraine

November 16, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Tension Headache and Migraine are recognised as the most common forms of headache.

Cluster headache is one of the third ‘group’ of headaches – the other headache types in this group are Hemicrania Continua, Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania, and SUNCT.

All of the headache types in this third group share similar symptoms with Cluster Headache and either blocking or modifying information from the neck has a beneficial effect on Cluster Headache suggesting that neck disorders not only play a significant role in Cluster headache but perhaps the others(?)

To review the posts on Cluster Headache key in ‘Cluster Headache’ on the ‘Home Page’ and all associated posts will be listed for you to review.

Cheers

Dean

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Cluster Headache – Another Headache or Migraine

November 12, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Tension Headache and Migraine are recognised as the most common forms of headache.

Cluster headache is one of the third ‘group’ of headaches – the other headache types in this group are Hemicrania Continua, Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania, and SUNCT.

All of the headache types in this third group share similar symptoms with Cluster Headache and either blocking or modifying information from the neck has a beneficial effect on Cluster Headache suggesting that neck disorders not only play a significant role in Cluster headache but perhaps the others(?)

To review the posts on Cluster Headache return to the ‘Home Page’ and key in the search term ‘Cluster Headache’.

Cheers

Dean

© 2009 & Beyond. Watson Headache Institute, All Rights Reserved.