The research for this article was driven by my own distress and demand for coping mechanisms. I am hoping that my discoveries can help other victims find answers, or at least know where to start looking. Migraine: a vascular headache preceded by a constriction of cranial arteries, then beginning with the vasodilation that follows (in other words, the blood vessels get smaller, then bigger), with the resulting spasms limiting blood flow to the brain. It’s due to a neurological disorder, a chemical or electrical problem in the nerve-rich arteries of the brain.
Migraines are sometimes preceded by an”aura” that may consist of flashing or zigzag lines, or a blind spot; occasionally sufferers feel”not quite right” before an attack, such as depressed or unusually hungry. Migraines are often one-sided, and it is not necessarily the exact same side, even though the right side is more commonly affected. Symptoms may include nausea and sensitivity to both light and sound.
Migraines afflict more women than men; hormones are a variable. Trigeminal Neuralgia (also called tic douloureux): a disorder of the fifth cranial nerve, the largest nerve in the mind, which sends impulses to the brain in the areas of the jaw, gums, forehead, and around the eyes, lips, nose, and ears. It’s one of the most acute pains known to humanity. TN ends in a less extreme, more constant pain.
The cause could be abnormal blood vessels or other lesions. The connection between migraine and TN might be that the dilated vessels in migraine press upon these strange vessels, triggering a TN attack. My experience was not of excruciating pain as much as of eccentric, previously unimagined sensations. For instance: claws being stuck into my scalp, a”bruised” feeling in my head socket or cheekbone area, a toothache, pinpricks, or fuzzy feeling you get when your face starts to awaken from the Novocaine following dental work.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus causing major mood disorder. It’s believed that melatonin, a hormone that can cause symptoms of depression, is produced at higher levels in the dark. Symptoms include sleep difficulties, fatigue (like muscle fatigue, in my case), craving for sweets and carbohydrates, depression, anxiety, and a weakened immune system. People working in buildings without windows may experience SAD.
the attribute of a drug to produce the opposite effect once the intended effect of this drug has passed, or when the patient no longer responds to it. In a individual prone to headaches, particularly migraines, OTC pain relievers taken over a couple of days a week–especially on a continuous basis–can make the pain receptors more sensitive. After the medication wears off, the receptors turn on to generate a new headache. More drugs leads to more headaches in a horrible vicious cycle. Again, more women than men are affected, and the most common age of onset is in the uterus.
The most recent research indicates that migraine also tends to coexist with stomach problems in addition to fibromyalgia and other pain disorders. If you suffer from any or all of these, please be aware that it’s not on your head–it is, but in a very real, physical sense. Please know that you’re not alone. And please supplement this information with your own research and/or talk with your healthcare provider. Websites and message boards talking about these subjects abound.