Posts Tagged ‘migraine pain’
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Women are most likely to suffer migraines…and chronic pain. New research shows that when it comes to pain symptoms of chronic back pain, neck pain, arthritis, and hernias, women consistently report higher pain scores than men with the same exact condition.
Study focuses on chronic pain
In a recent Stanford study on sex differences in pain, medical records of over 72,000 patients were reviewed, which included over 160,000 pain scores of men and women who suffered from a painful disease. These findings, published by the Journal of Pain, make up the largest survey to date that investigates sex-specific variations in disease-associated pain intensity.
Scientists noted a significant difference in the way females suffering from musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory, or gastrointestinal disorders reported their pain intensity.
Other conditions covered were infectious diseases, physical injuries, and poisoning.
On a 10-point pain scale, women averaged 1 point higher in pain intensity than male pain patients, with 0 signifying no pain at all, and 10 being the worst pain imaginable.
Are Doctors Overprescribing Painkillers for Migraines? Fox News Report
What do these findings mean for chronic pain patients?
It means that when a woman who has given birth at least once in her lifetime rates migraine headache pain as the “worst pain imaginable,” you should probably take her word for it…migraine pain is debilitating, emotionally draining, and overwhelming, and aside from labor pains, it’s hard to imagine anything more excruciating…
…On the other hand, do these findings mean that women are more likely to complain about pain, whereas men are taught from birth to hide their pain? Are women, perhaps, not as pain-tolerant as they believe…?
Perhaps, medical staff- ER doctors, nurses, therapists- should consider one’s sex as an important factor when prescribing pain treatments. One pain point might not seem like a lot, but it’s enough to tell a doctor if a certain pain medication is working…
Hopefully, one day, doctors will be able to use this data to decide which painkillers, migraine drugs, or headache remedies to prescribe for women with chronic pain…and which ones not to bother with at all.
What do you think? Please weigh in on this controversial issue.
Read more about chronic pain and migraines:
Fibromyalgia- Migraine Illness’s Evil Twin
Epic Fail! Top 10 Migraine Analgesic Errors Doctors Make
Rude Headaches, Ruder Pharmacists- 6 Ways to Avoid Conflict
Migraine Medications That are Dangerous During Pregnancy
Sex Differences in Reported Pain Across 11,000 Patients Captured in Electronic Medical Records
Do Women Feel Pain More Intensely Than Men?
Women found to report much more pain than men
Stanford study shows women report more intense pain than men
Monday, July 18th, 2011
Ease Chronic Pain while Bedridden: Because if suffering from chronic pain is the pits,then being bedridden with chronic migraine pain is the Mariana Trench of all ailments.
Imagine being in so much agony that just turning your head the wrong way or even blinking gives you unimaginable pain and misery. It’s no wonder that so many migraine headache sufferers spend a disproportionate amount of time in bed, either waiting for the throbbing headaches to fade or recuperating from the migraine attack.
“How can I relieve headache pain when the migraine medications don’t work?”
Pain relief medications are hit or miss; what relieves migraine pain for one might not work for another. That doesn’t mean you are without options. When traditional pain treatments let you down, it’s good to know there are some alternative, although sometimes unusual, methods of soothing your aches and pains that work for many sufferers of chronic illnesses.
Here are 10 pain management tricks that work, even if you’re bedridden:
- Breathe deeply. By now, it’s common knowledge that deep breathing, along with gentle body stretches, is an excellent way to put your body into a state of relaxation. You might not be able to practice Hatha yoga moves from your bed, but you can easily benefit from the many yoga exercises that utilize breathing techniques for relaxation.
- Take a trip down Memory Lane. Looking at the faces of loved ones releases pain-killing endorphins. Keep a photo album by your bedside for days when the pain seems too difficult to cope. Depending on your pain threshold, you might also enjoy seeing a montage of family photos on your computer screensaver.
- Lean on somebody. It’s a proven fact that even the worst-case scenarios become more manageable when you have support from friends and family. If you don’t feel comfortable confiding with anybody about your migraine pain, then join one of the many migraine support groups that exist online and in face-to-face group therapy.
- Let it out. It’s okay to shout out loud when you’re in pain. Scientists have even proven that “swearing” while suffering from physical pain raises your pain threshold. So, don’t hold back a few choice words every so often. Just be careful not to hurt anybody’s feelings or offend others while you’re at it.
- Just imagine. According to a Johns Hopkins study, pain sufferers who replayed romantic scenes in their minds experienced less anxiety and discomfort than subjects who dreamed about food, for example.
- Meditate. Take the opportunity to practice self-hypnosis. Visualize a comfort zone, and imagine all the sensory features related to it, such as the sound of the wind, the scent of orange blossoms, or the feel of the sand beneath your feet. Many meditation cd’s are available to provide guidance and background music.
- But don’t think too hard. Sometimes, brooding on an unpleasant situation causes anxiety that ultimately escalates out of control. When, or if, the situation arises, such as a three-alarm migraine attack, you overreact, robbing yourself of the opportunity to learn how to cope with the symptoms. Don’t get trapped into a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. Try to take things in stride; you might be surprised to learn that what you thought would be a number nine headache on the Richter scale was actually a three. Stop Your Next Panic Attack in 4 Simple Steps
- Magnet therapy. Whether magnet therapy provides a placebo effect is anybody’s guess. Sworn believers insist that strategically placed magnets increase blood flow, thus relieving aches and pain. To test it for yourself, tuck a small magnet under a Band-Aid, and apply wherever you feel pain. Either way, there’s no harm in trying, and it might help.
- Myofascial Massage. Enlist a close friend or certified masseuse to give you a gentle massage. Myofascial massage is less strenuous than Swedish massage, which can sometimes be painful. 5 Sports-Related Migraines You Never Heard Of
- Listen to a good book. Reading is out of the question, especially if you suffer from migraines with aura. That doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the pain-relieving distraction that a good story can provide. Assuming that small sounds don’t also trigger your migraine headaches, then listening to an audio book is an excellent way to make the most out of an uncomfortable situation.
Go Ask Alice: Migraine Auras in Wonderland
Perfumes and Migraines: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Stinky
Pain Relief Tips and Tricks | Living life from a bed
The Oddest Pain Relief Tricks That Work – Prevention.com
Different Types Of Massage For The Bedridden | LIVESTRONG.COM
Thursday, June 9th, 2011
“It’s just Stress” and other Fallacies- The truth about Migraines: Migraines are debilitating neurological disorder that interferes with daily life, in and outside of the home. Chronic migraine headaches are one of the leading causes of disability, and account for millions of hospital visits to ER every year. Migraine symptoms, such as pulsating head pain, intense nausea and stomach cramping, acute sensitivity to strong scents, loud noise and bright lighting, make life unbearable for the migraine sufferer.
Still, families, friends and coworkers of migraine patients have difficulty relating, as there are many incorrect stereotypes and misconceptions that surround migraine illness, regardless of the best efforts of migraine awareness groups, such as M.A.G.N.U.M. and the World Headache Alliance, and online migraine support sites such as Migraine.com, Help for Headaches and WebMD- Migraines. (See Top 20 Websites for Migraine Headache Patients.)
Below is a list of 6 oft-repeated myths about migraines:
Migraine Myth #1: Migraines are like any other headaches.
Not true. Clenched muscles, usually in the upper back, shoulders, and neck regions, cause tension headaches. Common stress headache pain can range from mild to moderately severe; over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient treatments for the common headache.
Migraine headaches are a neurological illness. Constricted blood vessels cause migraine headaches, and the pain fluctuates between moderate to debilitating. The triggers that cause migraines are numerous: food, weather, stress, hormones, light, scents and sleep disturbances. Only a neurologist who specializes in migraine therapy can recommend proper treatment. Migraine Pop Quiz: How Well do you Understand your Headaches?
Migraine Myth #2: There’s no real cure for migraines.
Actually, there’s no one cure for migraines. Many factors need consideration when finding an effective migraine treatment; the task can sometimes seem fruitless. Don’t let pessimism keep you from finding migraine headache relief. Seek a qualified neurologist who specializes with migraines, and stay informed by frequently visiting online migraine forums and blogs. Alternative Migraine Treatments: Thinking outside of the Botox
Migraine Myth #3: Stress only triggers stress headaches, not migraines.
Stress is the leading cause of all headaches, including migraines and tension headaches. So how does one tell the difference between a migraine attack and a stress headache? Migraine pain attacks one side of the head only. Tension headaches are described as a tight band circling the head.
Migraine Myth #4: Migraines are associated with mental illness.
There is a high correlation between migraines, depression and anxiety, but that does not mean that all migraine patients have emotional disorders or need antidepressants. There is currently no proof that mental illness of any kind causes migraines. However, one must take into account the emotional strain chronic migraine sufferers experience. It is common for migraine patients to go through phases or depression, nervousness or anxiety while learning to cope with their condition. Stop Your Next Panic Attack in 4 Simple Steps
Migraine Myth #5: Migraine attacks always impair your ability to function.
The symptoms of migraines can range from moderate to severe. At its worst, migraine pain can be excruciating to the point that the only option is to take your medication and wait out the storm in a dark, quiet room. The fact that you are able to withstand head pain while running errands, working at the computer or trying to relax doesn’t contradict the nature of migraines, nor does it mean that you must endure the suffering. Top 10 Headache Symptoms that Point to Migraines
Migraine Myth #6: Migraineurs are usually hypochondriacs.
This is probably the most hurtful notion of all, because it forces the migraine sufferer to bear the burden of proof. Short of carrying around a brain scan imaging report, there’s little one can do prove to a skeptic that your headache symptoms are not imaginary. You can’t see a migraine; the debilitating symptoms are unobservable to all except a qualified neurologist. But the proof is available through multiple medical reports, scientific breakthroughs and social statistics.
Read more about migraine stigma and coping mechanisms:
Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
10 Clues your should Include in your Headache Diary Today
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
U.S. News Best Hospitals for Neurology
Out of 1,200 hospitals that were reviewed for excellence in treating chronic migraines, the US News has narrowed their list down to the 10 highest ranking hospitals in the fields of neurology and neurosurgery.
1) John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland (410) 955–5000: In addition to placing #1 for migraine treatment and prevention, John Hopkins Hospital also made the national #1 Honor Roll for treatment in ENT, Rheumatology and for gynecology.
2) Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (507) 284–2511: World-famous Mayo Clinic ranked #1 for diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, and kidney disorders; they also have a strong online presence in providing current information about migraine headache symptoms and common headache triggers.
3) Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (617) 726–2000: Massachusetts General Hospital ranked #1 center in Boston for treating migraines, and #1 in the USA for their psychiatry department.
4) New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York (212) 746–5454: In addition to neurology, NY-Pres also ranked #4 in psychiatry and kidney disorders.
5) University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, California (415) 476–1000: The UCLA teaching hospital was voted the #1 hospital for treating migraine pain in all of San Francisco.
6) Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio (216) 444–2200: Cleveland Clinic ranked best hospital in Cleveland for providing migraine headache relief, and #1 US hospital for treating heart disease and conducting heart surgeries.
7) Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California,(310) 825–9111: The UCLA Medical Center was voted the best clinic in Los Angeles for treating chronic migraines, and #2 in the USA for excellence in Geriatrics.
8) St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona (602) 406–3000: This prestigious hospital was also voted the third best neurological center in Phoenix, Arizona.
9) NYU Langone Medical Center, New York (212) 263–7300: The NYU Langone Medical Center made the national Honor Roll for excellence in 14 fields of medicine, including neurology and neurosurgery. Additionally, they placed #2 for best hospital in New York for migraine headache patients.
10) Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Saint Louis, Missouri (314) 747–3000: The Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University made the Honor Roll as #1 best migraine treatment center in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Monday, May 30th, 2011
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic migraine headaches. So why do you feel all alone? Your closest family members and friends don’t always understand the depth of your pain, but know that there are vast communities out there who can help you understand your migraine symptoms, share their experiences with migraine remedies and provide emotional support.
When Alice had a migraine, she found even the pretty things were too much to bear.
Here are 20 excellent migraine resources, listed in alphabetical order, including non-profit headache research sites, personal blogs and chronic migraine patient forums:
1) ACPA – American Chronic Pain Association: To provide support to patients diagnosed with chronic migraines and to their families, to help them find appropriate healthcare, education and to raise public awareness about migraines.
2) American Pain Society: Another excellent resource for finding out about recent advances in migraine treatment and other pain management tools.
3) Blog Carnival: A rotating collaboration of blogs which address health issues such as migraine headaches.
4) The Daily Headache: Blogger Kerrie Smyres writes about the issues migraineurs want to know about, including research, opinions and forum.
5) Head Wise: Migraine blogger Steph shares some inspiring life stories about her battle with migraines.
6) Help for Headaches: Managed by leading migraine expert Teri Robert, author of “Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches,” Help for Headaches is a great landing base for all topics related to migraines and other headache symptoms. Robert’s posts can also be viewed on Migraine.com and Health Central’s My Migraine Connection.
7) LiveJournal: Online migraine patient support group.
8) MAGNUM: The National Migraine Association: Their mission is to raise public awareness about migraines as a debilitating neurological illness. Find out how you can help.
9) Meetup: Find out about local migraine support groups, and meet other headache sufferers in your area.
10) Migraine.com: Join the largest virtual community of migraine patients and experts on the web. Migraine.com features articles written by some of the top experts in migraine treatment, education and social issues, including the Migraine Girl, Teri Robert, Diana Lee, Prof. Joanna Kempner and Dr. Whyte.
11) The Migraine Action Association: Formerly a British association, this website features quarterly newsletters, a telephone hotline and current migraine information.
12) Migraine Chick: You’ve seen her pics on some of our blog posts. Blogger and artist Deborah Leigh shares her unique, thought-provoking attitude about the social impact of migraines on our culture.
13) MigrainePage.com: Online community of migraine sufferers. Participate in chat discussions, forums or the online migraine journal.
14) Migraine Puppet: Anecdotes about life and pain management, and an updated list of blog posts by fellow migraine patients.
15) Migrainista: Unique, nostalgic and sometimes controversial insights by blogger Migrainista.
16) The National Headache Foundation: The world’s largest non-profit voluntary organization for finding migraine treatment clinics, resources and local community programs.
17) Painfully Speaking: Blogger Jessica opens up about her battles with chronic headache pain and anxiety.
18) Somebody Heal Me: Famous blogger Diana Lee writes about chronic pain management and headaches, and shares her database of sites, blogs and organizations which deal with a variety of health issues.
19) WebMD- Migraines: WebMD is a comprehensive website which provides health tips, information, slideshows and support for medical issues from A to Z; their migraine page is particularly helpful.
20) WHA- World Headache Alliance: Migraine news, global headache awareness activities and links to support groups.
Some good reads:
Migraines Caused by Eye Strain? Tinted Glasses can Help
Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
7 Headache Categories:Which Type of Headache do you Have?
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Vincent Van Gogh might have suffered from hallucinations and nightmares, but he’s got nothing on the majority of chronic migraine sufferers. Migraine headache symptoms- throbbing head pain, nausea, ultra-sensitivity to bright lights and noise- make life unbearable for the millions of Americans who experience them regularly, not to mention inconvenient. ( “Of course I’m coming to your wedding! Unless I get a migraine…”)
Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
It’s no wonder that yesterday’s starving, tormented artist has morphed into today’s equally tormented, financially strapped migraine patient, depicting her source of grief through modern art, poetry or video montage.
Recently, the Los Angeles Times featured a story about patients with brain disorders who have learned to release their pent up emotions through creative expression. Scientists hope to learn more about the workings of the brain by analyzing their artwork.
Another piece, featuring the work of migraine sufferer and author Dr. Oliver Sacks, was published in 2008 by the New York Times; based on his book “Migraine,” this slideshow, migraine art, illustrates the classic migraine with aura through a series of geometrical images and bold, strategic grafting.
Russian artist Olea Nova is a celebrated artist who uses florid watercolors to interpret the excruciating “lightning bolt” pain described by many who suffer severe migraine headaches. This collection of migraine art delves deep into the disturbing and often macabre experiences commonly felt by victims of migraines.
More information on migraine art can be found at the Migraine Aura Foundation.
Migraine on my Mind, by Deborah Leigh, Flickr
Visual Disturbance, by Stinging Eyes, Flickr
Migraine, by quinn.anya, Flickr
Monday, May 9th, 2011
Millions of Americans suffer from migraine headaches, but that number could be larger than we think. While data collected from the American Migraine Study II suggests that 28 million people in the US suffer migraine symptoms, another study points to a large number of cases where migraine pain was misdiagnosed as sinus headache symptoms.
About 18% of all women are diagnosed with migraines; headache pain is described by 80% of all migraineurs as excruciating, to the point where sufferers are unable to perform even simple daily tasks, interfering with their social lives and job performance. More disturbing, experts believe that less than half of all migraine sufferers will ever be diagnosed with chronic migraines, and an even small number- fewer than 20%- will ever receive prescribed migraine medications for headache relief.
Please read: Migraine Headaches Send Millions to the Emergency Rooms
Some researchers have conducted a study to explain the high rate of misdiagnoses surrounding migraine headaches, pointing to a tendency among patients and some doctors to confuse the symptoms of sinus headaches with those of migraines.
The Sinus, Allergy and Migraine Study (SAMS) was conducted to draw a line of contrast between two headache types: migraines and sinus headaches. Says lead authors, the “majority of those with self-diagnosed sinus headaches have migraines or probable migraines.”
Here are the results of that study:
- Included in this study were 100 individuals who believed themselves to be suffering from sinus headaches.
- Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires designed to deduct the level of their headache pain and impairment caused by their headache symptoms.
- Headache sufferers were also asked if they had any other side effects, such as stuffy nose, watery eyes or flushed skin.
- All in all, 63% of study participants were eventually diagnosed with chronic migraines, after having previously been diagnosed with sinus headaches.
- Scientists attributed the wrong diagnoses to miscommunication between the patients and the doctors, in addition to a tendency among some patients to “self-diagnose” their headache symptoms.
- Triggers which caused migraines included changes in the weather and seasons, allergies and altitude changes.
For more info on headache types, read:
7 Headache Categories:Which Type of Headache do you Have?
Women who get Migraines are also Likely to get This
FYI Living, PubMed Gov
Friday, April 8th, 2011
Got your iPad yet? It’s not just for games, you know. There are iPad health apps geared to improve your life. For example, if you get chronic migraines, then you want to see this list of 20 iPad apps for migraine sufferers:
- Migraine Diary, by Net Workz LLC: Originally created by a migraineur for a master’s degree thesis, this electronic migraine diary will help you identify headache triggers and find the right migraine treatment. Free; for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
- iHeadache - Headache & MIgraine Diary: This high-rated migraine diary for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch was developed by neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Brian D. Loftus; uses International Headache Society Criteria to help you classify your migraine. Let the iHeadache help you to help your doctor find the right cure for your headaches. $9.99, but a free lite version is available.
- Headache Relief Diary: By the New York Headache Center, this migraine diary is free and was developed neurologist Dr. Mauskop, developer of Migralex headache medicine. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
- Headache: this app utilizes Chinese medicine to help you discover the natural causes of your headache instead of just treating the symptoms; selected by licensed acupuncturists. $2.99.
- iManage Migraine: by Merck & co., maker of the famous Merck manual; features an interactive Migraine Management Square, Migraine Journal, graphs and other tools to help you and your health professional manage your migraines. Free; for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
- Migraine i-pocketcards: For $3.99, carry an electronic glossary of all terms related to migraines. Easy to navigate, includes zoom feature.
- Family Doctor - Symptoms and Diagnosis: By Vito Technology, includes 150 easy-to-follow symptom charts; simple “yes” or “no” questions will help you decide if your headache or other pain symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor. $4.99
- Handbook of Signs and Symptoms (SignsSx): Reference guide to help you recognize symptoms and their possible causes; valuable for people who get migraines and other chronic pain sufferers.
- Laboratory Gear Medical ~ Lab Values, Differentials & Symptoms: quick reference guide for healthcare professionals and students; linked with the MedCalc medical calculator. $2.99
- MedFlashCard2: This comprehensive reference tool comes with a hefty price tag, $29.99 and is only compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch, not the iPad. Includes information on migraines, MS, angiography and more.
- Allergy Alert: If allergies are giving you headaches, then you want to get regular allergy forecasts on pollen; also for asthma, cold and cough, and ultraviolet sensitivity.
- Dr. Dorian`s Instant Medicine is a collection of medicinal videos from Dr. Armand Dorian, Los Angeles board certified Emergency Physician and advisor for Grey’s Anatomy and ER. $0.99.
- Pain Guide: This free medical guide will help you determine which type of headache you are having according to common symptoms and facial pain locations.
- iMensies (Period Calendar): If PMS is the source of your migraines, then be prepared for the next attack by keeping a period calendar; track mood and email yourself reminders. $1.99.
- Period Planner Lite: This period calendar does everything the iMensies app does, only it’s free.
- BrainWave Tuner: This app requires the use of a headset; alleviate headaches and manage stress with over 19 preset brainwave patterns. Utilizes advanced Electroencephalography. $2.99
- WebMD for iPad: Now you can access the popular website WebMD from your iPad; look up health information on hundreds of health conditions, including migraines. New version lets you search local health listings. Free.
- Relax Ocean Waves: Stress management is key to alleviating headache symptoms; set your timer and relax while listening to the sounds of the ocean. Free.
- Pain Killer 2.0: Requires headphones, the Pain Killer utilizes binaural beat methodology (TBSW) to treat headache pain, sports injuries, arthritis and more. $2.99.
- Restorative Yoga Therapy for Depression-Laura Hawes-VideoApp: It’s not just for depression; the included yoga sequences in this iPad app for yoga app enthusiasts will help to alleviate migraine pain, indigestion, anxiety, fatigue and more. $9.99.
Monday, February 1st, 2010
A study performed by scientists at the Jefferson Headache Center of Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience highlights the prevalence of cutaneous allodynia. This is a condition which makes people experience pain as a result of light touch, which is also common in people with migraine pain.
This study was done on 41 patients who experienced either chronic or episodic headaches. The researchers took a gauze pad and lightly brushed it over the patients’ foreheads, necks and forearms. Half of these reported feeling pain when their foreheads were gently brushed with the gauze pad, a telltale sign of allodynia.
Hopefully, this study will lead to a better understanding of cluster headaches and migraine pain.