Unmotivated Thanks to Chronic Migraine

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March 27, 2015

If you needed another good reason to get a migraine procedure, a research study involving some rodents may be just the news to motivate you. It’s not a mystery that when you are in the throes of pain, setting a goal and working to achieve it is the farthest thing from your mind. But how motivated are you when the pain subsides, or when you are having a pain-free day? Do you really believe that your level of motivation to accomplish things is really up to snuff? A bunch of mice in California suggest that if you are living with chronic migraine pain, you just might have lost your oomph altogether! Have you thrown in the towel?

The study, led by a post-doctoral scholar and a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, examined a group of hungry mice that also had injured front paws, which caused them chronic pain. They also created a control group that was pain free. The mice were taught to stick their noses through a hole in order to get some food. Gradually, the scientists raised the number of nose maneuvers required to get the food, so they could determine just how motivated the mice were to work for the food.

After one week of chronic pain, the mice gradually lost the will to keep working for the food, despite the fact that they were still hungry. They were observed to be fully capable of running of running, and were obviously hungry and willing to eat when provided with free food. The pain free group however was still willing to work for their meals. The hurting mice were then administered analgesics to treat the pain, and observed further to see whether they would regain their motivation. Interestingly. Despite their respite from pain, they appeared to have lost their motivation.

The researchers believe this loss of motivation as a consequence of chronic pain has something to do with the brain structure called the nucleus accumbens. This is responsible for making calculations that guide survival related behaviors. It appeared that a permanent change occurred in the structure that dialed down the motivation to work toward the goal. Additionally, the scientists believe that the brain chemical galanin is involved with this alteration. They are hopeful that in the future, following additional studies on other species, treatments can be developed to prevent this process from occurring in human beings who suffer with conditions like chronic migraine pain.

In the meantime, this information certainly is motivating. It seems like a great reason to consider undergoing a migraine procedure so as to prevent chronic migraines or headaches from becoming a condition that saps you of your motivation to do the things you love.

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