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Sensory Overload: When Migraine Overwhelms the Senses

Though it is actually about sensory overload in autism, this short animation depicts perfectly what I feel when a migraine heightens my senses so that sights, sounds, smells or touch are overwhelming. I become as irritable as a hungry three-year-old and want to curl up in the fetal position and shut down.

This video shows why I carry earplugs (in a metal box with engraving that says “My cure for everything”!) and calming the constant visual barrage with TheraSpecs is so helpful for me. In fact, a woman who tried TheraSpecs for migraine relief said they were wonderful for her ADD — she felt like they gave her brain a rest. It is exciting to have a product that provides real, noticeable relief in people’s daily lives.

via Krulwich Wonders

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Kerrie’s Latest Post on Migraine.com: The Many Symptoms of Migraine

Migraine is far more than “just a headache.” Skin sensitivity, difficulty finding words, inability to concentrate, constipation, stuffy nose, and dizziness are but a few of the many symptoms of migraine. Check out my full article on Migraine.com, Migraine is More Than a Headache: The Many Symptoms of Migraine.

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Migraine & Headache News From the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting

Migraine-related study findings presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, April 12-19.

Migraine Increases Risk of Severe Skin Sensitivity and Pain
The study found that 68 percent of those who reported almost daily headaches (chronic migraine) and 63 percent of those with episodic migraines reported allodynia, the name of this intensified and unpleasant, painful skin sensitivity. Forty-two percent of people with probable migraine reported the skin pain compared to 37 percent of those with daily or tension headache.

Migraine Frequency Linked with Women’s Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
New research shows women who have weekly migraine are significantly more likely to have a stroke than those with fewer migraines or no migraine at all, but those with lower migraine frequency may face increased risk of heart attacks.

Breastfeeding While Taking Seizure Medicine Does Not Appear to Harm Children
A first of its kind study finds breastfeeding while taking certain seizure medications does not appear to harm a child’s cognitive development.

Children with Migraine at Increased Risk of Sleep Disturbances
Children with migraine are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and lack of sleep, than children without migraine, according to research on the effects of headaches on children’s sleep patterns.

Overuse of Codeine, Oxycodone and Barbiturates Increases Risk of Chronic Migraine
People who overuse barbiturates and opioids, such as codeine, butalbital, and oxycodone, to treat migraine are at an increased risk of developing chronic migraine.

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Migraine Reprieve Ends: Welcome Back, Nausea

Is it normal for a visit to the grocery store to make someone want to throw up? Namely, me. At the Whole Foods downtown. Granted, a huge hot food section, lots of stinky cheeses, and two kiosks of made-to-order Asian food makes it particularly smelly. But still.

My head may be in less pain, but the nausea has returned full force. Clearly the my migraines haven’t retreated, only the pain. I actually developed the aversion to eating a few days ago, but the over-the-top nausea just kicked in.

Being honest with myself, I know that my “good week” wasn’t as grand as it seemed. It meant an extra good hour each day with an awesome day and a half on Tuesday and Wednesday. After walking less than a mile yesterday, my body felt as if I’d run five. The gentle yoga practice I did upon returning home increased the exhaustion. All the signs of an impending migraine were there whether I wanted to pay attention to them or not.

Now my head is sore to the touch (allodynia) and tears are streaming from my eyes (a sure sign for me that a migraine is coming). I didn’t ever consider that the effects of reducing my neck and shoulder pain were longterm. Even so, I hate when the good times end.

As usually happens, Hart missed my low pain, high energy days. I’m going to try to eat some lunch and relax for a bit. Maybe the migraine will let up before I pick him returns from work.

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Migraine Treatment News

Here’s the roundup of migraine treatments. Other news posts I’m working on are about presentations at the International Headache Society’s conference (including cluster headache news), depression and chronic pain.

Migraine Patients Who Take Triptans Report Greater Satisfaction Than Patients Taking Barbiturates or Opioids
Survey: Migraine Patients Taking Potentially Addictive Barbiturate or Opioid
Medications Not Approved By FDA as Migraine Treatments

The survey found that patients taking triptans are significantly more likely than those taking barbiturates or opioids to report that their medication works well at relieving migraine symptoms, with sixty percent of triptan patients reporting that it describes their medication “extremely” or “very” well to say it relieves their migraines symptoms completely compared with 42 percent of patients taking barbiturates and opioids.

Patients taking opioids and barbiturates for their migraines also reported a lower quality of life than patients taking triptans, according to the survey. Patients taking these drugs were twice as likely as patients on triptans to say that migraines “always” limited their ability to exercise or play sports (35% vs. 14%), engage in sexual activity (33% vs. 17%), drive a car (28% vs. 14%), spend time with family and friends (28% vs. 8%) or simply get out of the house (33% vs. 15%).

Though many patients are prescribed barbiturates and opioids for their migraines, the majority indicated that they prefer their migraine medication to be FDA approved for the disease, not addictive and have few side effects. Seven out of ten patients (72%) surveyed said it’s “extremely” or “very” important that their prescription medications not be addictive, and eight out of ten patients (79%) said it’s “extremely”
or “very” important that their prescription medication have only minor side effects. Sixty-five percent said it’s important that their migraine medication be approved by the FDA to treat the disease.

Frova for Menstrual Migraine
Endo’s Menstrual Migraine Treatment Better Than Placebo in Study

Endo Pharmaceuticals said that its Frova 2.5mg tablets reduced the frequency and severity of difficult-to-treat menstrual migraine in women when used as a six-day preventative regimen.

Predicting Botox ‘s Effectiveness
Cutaneous Allodynia Predicts Response to Botulinum Toxin Type A in Migraine Patients

Botulinum toxin type A has been reported to be effective in preventing migraine attacks in some patients but not in others.

[R]esearchers found that patients with cutaneous allodynia had experienced significant reductions (P <.01) in migraine frequency and number of headache days in response to botulinum toxin type A, whereas patients without cutaneous allodynia had no such improvement in symptoms.

[I]nvestigators concluded that cutaneous allodynia could be used to predict which migraine patients are likely to respond to prophylactic therapy with botulinum toxin.

DHE Relieves Skin Sensitivity (Allodynia)
Migraine With Skin Sensitivity Eased By Older Drug

Dihydroergotamine or DHE, an established drug for migraine, works well even when the attack is accompanied by super-sensitivity to touch or heat and cold, according to researchers.

Many migraine sufferers get relief from the newer drugs known as triptans, but these are less effective when people also have heightened skin sensitivity. This condition, called cutaneous allodynia, makes even a light touch to the face or neck feel painful.

“Unlike triptans, DHE works in the presence of allodynia, any time in the migraine attack,” lead investigator Dr. Stephen D. Silberstein told Reuters Health.

Migraine Preventives
Migraines: Symptoms Disappear With The Right Prevention

According to Greek researchers, migraine sufferers can eliminate symptoms altogether if they take higher doses of anti-migraine medicine for a longer period of time than is now customary. Another team of researchers has found that certain psychopharmaceuticals could serve as a new therapy option for persistent chronic headaches.

“In treating migraines, optimizing the effect of already available agents is at least as important a task as developing new substances.”

I’m a little wary of this article, but wanted you to know about it. Take it with a grain of salt.