Migraine Headache Myths and Truths

Migraine Headache Myths and Truths
Migraine Headache Myths and Truths

MigraineInformer.com - Migraine headaches affect a lot of people and during the years a lot of misconceptions have been created about migraine headaches. This article explains the most common myths and truths about migraine headaches.

Migraine and headache are the same?

Many people believe that migraine headaches and headaches is exactly the same, but this view is wrong. The migraine is just one of many causes of headaches. The expert in headaches doctor can easily distinguish migraine from other headaches, since migraines have unique symptoms: high intensity pain, which may be rhythmic – «like a hammer pounding in my head», as indicated by many patients-and intolerance to sounds, smells and lights (migraine headaches symptoms).

The distinction of migraine headaches from other forms of headache is important for two reasons. First, because patients with migraine in most of the cases do not need to undergo special investigations, which is necessary in cases of other headaches, and secondly because the treatment of migraine is done with specific, specialized medicines and is quite different from the treatments administered for other forms of headaches (migraine headaches treatment and migraine headaches relief).

There are people suffering with migraine headaches that cannot get help from any medicine?

Many people believe that there is no effective medication for migraine headaches and thus the only thing they can do when they have a crisis is suffering until the crisis is over. However, this view is not correct.

The pharmaceutical treatment of migraine can be made with a wide variety of formulations, and has two components: the treatment of crisis and preventive treatment.

For the treatment of migraine headaches crisis triptanes are widely used. In patients who for various reasons cannot take triptanes, they can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or simple analgesics, but they are not as effective as the triptanes. Sometimes they can also take different groups of drugs in combination. In any case, the goal of medication is complete or nearly complete remission of pain within two hours after taking the drug, and this is usually achieved.

The purpose of granting preventive treatment in people with migraine headaches is to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of migraine crisis.

With proper selection of medicines, most people with migraine headaches can see significant improvement, often with impressive impact on the quality of life.

The migraine headaches can occur equally in both men and women?

While most people know that migraines occur more frequently in women, there are many who feel that appear equally in both sexes, a view that is demonstrably wrong.

According to statistical studies, the migraine occurs three times more frequently in women than in men. In total population, about one in seven women suffers from migraines, with the percentage even rising to the age groups of 20-45 years, with one in four women in these age groups to suffer from migraine headaches.

The majority of women suffering from migraine report that, although it may occur anytime within the month, migraine crises are often associated with the monthly cycle, occurring near menstruation or ovulation. These migraine crises are probably related to variation in the levels of estrogen. There is a perception that these migraine crises are more difficult to treat than other migraine headache crises, however, a carefully selected therapy from a specialist doctor can successfully treat migraine headaches.

The views on the positive or negative effects of contraceptive pills in migraine headaches differ and it seems that the quantity of estrogen in contraceptives determines whether it will assist or get rid of migraine crisis.

The migraines are hereditary?

The current view of most experts is that there is a clear genetic predisposition for the occurrence of migraine headaches. However, until now, it has not been proven that the existence of a particular or any specific genes is responsible for the existence of heredity in migraine, at least for most forms of the disease.

But the discovery in recent years of the genes responsible for a rare form of migraine, the «Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM)», and also for a rare hereditary syndrome that often occurs with migraine crises (CADASIL sydrome), offers hope that within the next few years they will be important developments and will reveal the genetic basis of migraine headaches.

What foods can be a cause for migraine headaches?

Indeed in some people certain foods can cause migraine crises, but the arbitrary generalizations and the commercial exploitation of the issue have led much of the public to believe that migraines are always due to food, a view that is wrong.

For many years there have been reports that certain foods and drinks can cause migraine headaches in some patients. However, no food has been proven that it can cause a migraine crisis to all patients. Even patients, who have observed an association with food and migraine headaches, rarely will say that this happens every time, something that would show the correlation.

Thus, doctors should be careful before making food prohibitions, but patients should not make changes in their eating habits because they read somewhere that some food can be a cause of migraines for some people.

Is necessary to document the relationship between specific foods and migraine headache crises by keeping a headache diary. Only when the correlation recorded in this manner is appropriate, the doctor should propose a change in dietary habits of the patient.

Migraines can be caused by taking specific drugs, or by some diseases, or even from hunger?

An enormous variety of factors may influence the occurrence of migraine crises in people who have this predisposition.

Some medications, such as some used in heart disease, can cause migraine headaches in a patient with migraine. These cases, however, is rather uncommon in practice.

Many medical disorders can cause headaches, which though may seem as migraine, but after examination may not be a migraine. In each case of a patient with headache there must be proper diagnosis to verify the causes of the headache in order to exclude the existence of a serious underlying condition such as cerebral aneurysm or other vascular malformation, brain tumour, temporal arthritis etc.

In some people, the migraine headache occurs if they do not eat at their regular hours or when they are fasting. They are usually patients who are particularly sensitive to any change in their daily program, whether it concerns a meal or sleep or rest, as their brain overreacts in order to “protest” for the change. It is understood that in such cases, keeping a regular daily program may save the patient from migraine headache crises, pain and suffering.