Are You Suffering From Migraines?
A migraine is an intense headache accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea (feeling sick), visual problems and an increased sensitivity to light or sound. It is commonly described as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
Common triggers include changes in routine, weekend headaches, stress, sleep (too much or too little), caffeine, certain foods (chocolates, cheese), lack of food, alcohol, mild dehydration, computer screens, the environment (e.g. loud noises, flickering lights) and hormonal changes in women.
Migraines commonly last for a few hours but can last up to three days. Some people experience migraines several times a week. Others might only experience attacks every few years.
Migraine is a common medical condition affecting one in every five women and one in every 15 men and they usually begin in early adulthood.
Although migraines are not life-threatening and do not shorten peoples life expectancies, they can significantly damage the quality of peoples lives.
Treatments for Migraines
For an acute attack treatment can be with medication. These include painkillers like paracetamol, aspirin or triptans. There is also medication available to ease the nausea and vomiting. Supportive measures like plenty of fluids and resting in a darkened room may also help.
For the prevention of migraines one needs to take into account the person’s preference, other medical conditions, risk of adverse events and the impact of their headache on their quality of life.
Medication that is available includes propranolol (used to treat high blood pressure) and anti-seizure medication like topiramate.
Acupunture & Botox
Acupuncture may be of benefit and a more acceptable treatment option for some.
Botox (Botulium toxin type A) injections is recommended as a treatment option if drug therapy options fail to be of benefit.
Migraines and rTMS
In January 2014, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for the treatment and prevention of migraine. This followed clinical trials investigating the treatment.
rTMS can be used in 2 different ways:
- when a migraine starts, to treat or reduce the severity, or
- when using it regularly to prevent or reduce the frequency of migraines occurring
A controlled trial with 164 patients, treated with single transcranial magnetic stimulation for at least one attack of migraine with visual disturbance, produced 39% pain-free levels at two hours. The pain-free rate at 24 hours was 29% and at 48 hours 27%.
In a separate study, three-quarters of patients with migraine who treated repeatedly with the transcranial magnetic device had a reduction in headache frequency, even those with chronic migraine.