Migraines and Chronic Headaches
A migraine headache (or migraine syndrome as it is often called) can be totally debilitating and dramatically affect the patient’s daily routine during the course of the attack. Along with considerable localized pain, symptoms include dizziness, visual problems, nausea, vomiting, redness and swelling. Some of these symptoms are recognized as indicators as they may appear before the actual pain of the migraine begins. Migraine pain is experienced most often in the temples, but can be found anywhere on the head, neck and face. Attacks can last a few hours or a few days.
Most medical professionals classify migraines as either classical or common, with the classical migraine being a headache that follows an event such as numbness or tingling, the appearance of an aura of flashes of light or for many, or a noticeable halo effect around the head. Common migraines (which are three times more common that classic migraines) differ in that no aura is experienced, but they can be just as troublesome. Unfortunately, migraines are quite common with nearly 30 million Americans reporting they experience some form of migraine headache.
The Cluster Headache
Closely related to the common or classic migraine, the cluster headache is recognizable when the pain comes on abruptly, high in the nostrils and spreads to the area around the eyes (most often on one side or the other). Many patients report considerable pain in the forehead and surrounding area. Cluster headaches are still a bit of a mystery as they often subside as quickly as they begin. They can occur several times a day with episodes lasting days or weeks.
Causes of Headache
The causes of migraine headache (or even those slight, but noticeable little headaches we all experience) are still a bit of a mystery. Many believe that inflammation of the cranial nerves around the head and brain, along with surrounding tissues, is the main cause of the pain. When pain-sensitive structures of the head are pulled or contracted, it is believed that the additional pressure caused by these changes sets a headache in motion.
The Latest Research For Treating Migraines and Headaches
In the case of migraines, research has revealed a mechanism called cortical spreading depression, or CSD. Many believe that a sudden increase of activity in the back of the brain (in the occipital lobes),spreads over the entire area. And pain follows due to these changes of activity, causing an increased level of inflammation.
If you would like to have more information or to set up a consultation and see how we can help you (or someone you know) reduce the effects of migraine or cluster headache, give us a call at 410-398-2108 to schedule an appointment.