Customizing Migraine Treatment

April 1, 2014

Knowing your triggers can help you prevent or at least mitigate your migraines. A Houston (one of the worst cities for allergies) resident with allergies that trigger his migraines might start taking allergy medication when the forecast promises that pollen counts will be high, virtually ensuring an onslaught of misery.

Similarly a Boston resident, for whom triggers include changeable weather, can make sure to begin her migraine treatment medication well before the storms roll in. According to recent research, it’s possible that when medical experts understand the underlying cause for someone’s migraines, they will be able to improve individualizing treatment available to the patient.

The January issue of Pain Medicine News reports that researchers have found a possible explanation for migraines among certain individuals. A ring of blood vessels in the brain, called the Circle of Willis, may be linked not only with cerebral blood flow but also with the storm of events that occur inside the brain that are responsible for migraine attacks.

The researcher studied subjects with migraines with aura; migraines without aura; and a control group. After neuroradiologists reviewed magnetic resonance angiograms, they found that an incomplete Willis Circle occurred most frequently in the migraine with aura group (73 percent) compared with the aura free migraine group (67 percent) and the control group (51 per cent.)

Treatment for migraines in individuals with aura is the same as that for people who don’t experience aura. Aura however, can open an earlier window of opportunity to begin abortive therapy.

The lead author of the study was quoted to say “you could imagine a day when we could identify the various reasons why people get migraine, and then potentially select preventative therapies that are tailored to an individual’s underlying [headache] causes.” As migraine treatment becomes more fine-tuned, it is exciting to think that one day a cure may be available.

Until then, if you weather the storms in Boston, or battle the pollen counts in Houston, migraine treatment options abound. These range from avoiding your triggers, medications, lifestyle changes, Botox injections and the long lasting Omega Migraine Procedure. As long as you know that your treatment is working, you can be patient while scientists continue working to understand the underlying causes of migraine.

 

 

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