Migraines are not just average headaches. Migraines are characterized by severe, often debilitating headaches, accompanied by other unsettling symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes even smells. These episodes can last anywhere from hours to days, significantly impacting an individual’s quality of life.
But what exactly happens in the brain during a migraine? Let’s pull back the curtain on this neurological enigma.
The Migraine Aura: A Peculiar Phenomenon
Approximately 25 percent of people with migraines also experience an “aura” phase before the headache begins. Auras are visual, sensory, or motor disturbances that can manifest as shimmering lights, blind spots, or even temporary paralysis on one side of the body.
These symptoms are thought to be the result of a phenomenon called cortical spreading depression (CSD), which is a wave of depolarizing electrical activity that slowly moves across the brain’s surface – disrupting the normal functioning of neurons and causing aura symptoms.
The Migraine Prodrome and Postdrome: Before and After the Headache
According to the International Headache Society, some people experience a “prodrome” before the migraine and/or a “postdrome” after the migraine has stopped.
“Prodrome” is a symptomatic phase, lasting up to 48 h, occurring before the onset of pain in migraine without aura or before the aura in migraine with aura. Among the common prodromal symptoms are fatigue, elated or depressed mood, unusual hunger, and cravings for certain foods.
“Postdrome” is a symptomatic phase, lasting up to 48 h, following the resolution of pain in migraine attacks with or without aura. Among the common postdromal symptoms are feeling tired or weary, difficulty with concentration, and neck stiffness.
The Trigeminovascular System: Ground Zero For Migraines
The trigeminovascular system, a network of nerves and blood vessels, plays a crucial role in the development of migraines. Migraines are thought to be a result of the activation of the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for sensations in the face and head.
When this nerve is activated, it triggers the release of certain chemicals, such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), that cause inflammation and dilation of blood vessels, leading to pain and other migraine symptoms.
The Role Of Neurotransmitters
The exact mechanisms underlying migraine development are still not completely understood. However, it may involve brain chemicals – such as serotonin and dopamine. Abnormal fluctuations in these neurotransmitters might distort the brain’s electrical activity, potentially leading to migraine symptoms.
Migraine Prevention & Treatment
Preventive measures and effective treatment strategies that can reduce migraines include:
- Identifying and addressing personal migraine triggers, such as specific foods, stress, or lack of sleep
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and practicing good sleep hygiene
- Engaging in regular physical activity and managing stress through relaxation techniques
- Adopting self-care and healthy lifestyle choices
- Consulting with a healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan, which may include medications or non-pharmacological therapies
If you’ve been struggling with migraines and haven’t found relief through traditional treatment methods, Kairos Restorative Medicine may offer a solution.
Providers at Kairos Restorative Medicine have experience with all types of pain problems and offer the following treatments for chronic migraine sufferers:
- Vagal Nerve Stimulation (handheld)
- Pain Reprocessing Therapy
- IV Ketamine Therapy
These treatments work best when combined, but can be prescribed separately.
If you are interested in learning more about ketamine for migraines treatment in Wichita Falls, TX , contact Kairos Restorative Medicine and request your consultation today.