In an ironic science-y twist, it seems chronic migraine sufferers who battle endless pain may in fact have a brain difference, which causes them to be more sensitive. This finding was established by a medical research team from the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, and presented recently at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting. In the future, identifying and prescribing effective migraine treatment may rely on diagnostic tools like brain imaging.
The presenting researcher explained that correlation between pain threshold and brain cortical thickness is not typical in migraine sufferers. The areas of abnormality include those involved with multisensory integration. He stated that, “The differences are sufficient enough that they allow for differentiation of the migraine brain from the healthy brain with high accuracy.” This study was reported on medical news site doctorslounge.com.
Similar research performed at Harvard Medical School, and published in Annals of Neurology, found that many migraine sufferers are so sensitive to pain that they reported even their hair hurt, when touched. The scientists discovered than about 80% of the migraine subjects experienced heightened temperature and physical sensitivity on certain areas. They explained that when a migraine occurs, pain receptors release substances that turn on spinal cord neurons, which cause even blood flow in the brain to feel like pulsing pain. These researchers also believe that understanding how a migraine occurs, and that only certain people develop heightened sensitivity, will help efforts to develop better migraine treatments for this subgroup. This is important, since regular migraine medication did not seem to be effective for treating sensitivity-related pain once a migraine was underway.
This recent medical study will no doubt spark a new area of migraine treatment and diagnostic research. Fortunately managing one’s chronic migraine pain does not have to be delayed until then. With medication, trigger avoidance strategies and the Omega migraine procedure, even the most sensitive headache sufferers have a myriad of therapies and treatments that will help them enjoy a life free of pain.