Migraine and Headache Types

Image
Types

Migraine

Migraines can be debilitating.  Unfortunately, they are common.

Migraines affect ~36million adults in America each year.

  • ~13% of Adults

  • ~10% of Children

  • ~25% of US Households

Migraine is one of the most disabling conditions, and financially burdensome

  • ~91% miss work or can’t function during an attack

  • ~113 million workdays are lost each year

  • ~$13 billion annual impact on employers

For some, the aura or accompanying symptoms of the migraine can be worse than the pain due to frequency or severity. Auras may be intrusive, and can mimic stroke symptoms. They can involve visual obscurations, vertigo, weakness, changes in sensation, difficulty with speech or language, among others.  

Associated symptoms can be just as bothersome.  These include light and sound sensitivity, sensitivity to smells, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, motion sickness and lightheadedness. Patients with migraines often lead lives avoiding triggers, that is, being creatures of habit (Learn more about migraine triggers). For some, this is enough. For others an alternate therapy is necessary.  

Our Product is targeted at the migraine pain and associated symptoms. It also targets certain limitations that exist for the treatment of migraine, as follows:

SAFETY: Several common migraine medications are contraindicated in patients with comorbid diseases (i.e. vascular disease).

Our Products were created to minimize contraindications, interactions with medications, and side effects.

EFFICACY: Many products only work when they are given very early. Further, many have side effects that limit their use. Our products can be used alone or to boost the efficacy of over-the-counter and prescription migraine medicine with minimal side effects.

EASE OF ADMINISTRATION:  Most patients use 1 or more pills to abort a headache, which can be problematic due to nausea. Our product is a dissolvable effervescent powder to maximize ease of administration.

 

Concussion

The CDC estimates that there are about 1.6 - 3.8 million concussions/year in the US. This equates to about 5-20% of athletes in any given sport. Since the CDC has launched their "Heads Up" campaign, the diagnosis of concussion has increased by about 7-10%, suggesting many concussions are never diagnosed or reported. Currently, we do not have a biomarker to diagnose concussions, so it is diagnosed clinically, meaning based on one's history and symptoms. Concussion results from either a direct or indirect impact to the head and often results in migraine-like  symptoms including headaches, light and sound sensitivity, dizziness/ or vertigo, mood lability and nausea. There is often disrupted sleep, as well.

Current recommendations are to treat the headaches and associated symptoms as if it were a primary migraine headache unrelated to concussions.

HeadAid was designed with migraine in mind, and may aid the aforementioned post-concussive symptoms as follows:

Acutely

  • Light and Sound Sensitivity -- Magnesium can stabilize neuronal firing and glutamate toxicity, reducing:

  • Nausea - Ginger can reduce nausea and vomiting

  • Headaches -- Both caffeine and magnesium can help reduce a headache acutely

  • Sleep Disruption -- 5-HTP and chamomile can help with a better night’s sleep.

Preventively/ Chronically

  • Light and Sound Sensitivity -- Magnesium targets glutamate toxicity and is known to reduce the hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli that accompanies migraines and post-concussive syndrome.

  • Headaches -- CoQ10, melatonin, and magnesium decrease inflammation and stabilize neuronal membranes, reducing aberrant firing.

  • Sleep Disruption -- melatonin aids with this, also acting to reduce inflammation. It helps regulate the circadian rhythm and has been used in post-concussive syndrome effectively.

Tension- Type Headache

A tension headache (tension-type headache) is the most common type of headache and yet its causes aren't well-understood.

 - Tension-type (or "stress") headaches affect up to 80% of the population.

Managing a tension headache is often a balance between choosing healthy habits, finding effective nondrug treatments, such as HeadAid, and using medications appropriately.

HeadAid's daily product contains melatonin, which is similar in structure to indomethacin, a strong NSAID. NSAIDs are the mainstay for tension-type headache treatment but have many limiting side effects such as stomach ulcers and damage to the liver and kidneys. (FDA WARNING - NSAID) Persons who find relief with NSAIDs but experience these side effects may have benefits with melatonin.

Melatonin aids sleep, which can further help limit headache days. Caffeine, in our fast-acting daytime product, is commonly used to limit the intensity and duration of tension-type headaches when they start. Think about the last time you drank a cup of coffee for a headache. It is an intuitive nutritional aid most of us have used. Finally, our fast-acting nighttime product contains 5-HTP and chamomile to promote sleep, like melatonin, can help ward off a tension-type headache from sleep deprivation.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a tension headache include:

  • Dull, aching head pain
  • Sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head
  • Tenderness on your scalp, neck and shoulder muscles

Tension headaches are divided into two main categories — episodic and chronic.

Episodic tension headaches

Episodic tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to a week. Frequent episodic tension headaches occur less than 15 days a month for at least three months. Frequent episodic tension headaches may become chronic.

Chronic tension headaches

A tension headache can last hours. If your headaches occur 15 or more days a month for at least three months, they're considered chronic.

Tension headaches vs. migraines

Tension headaches can be difficult to distinguish from migraines. Plus, if you have frequent episodic tension headaches, you can also have migraines.

Unlike some forms of migraine, tension headaches usually aren't associated with visual disturbances, nausea or vomiting. Although physical activity typically aggravates migraine pain, it doesn't make tension headache pain worse. An increased sensitivity to either light or sound can occur with a tension headache, but these aren't common symptoms.

 1."Symptoms and Causes - Tension Headache - Mayo Clinic." MayoClinic.org. MayoClinic, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016. 

Migraine with Aura

What is Aura

Aura is the term commonly used to describe the visual disruption which is caused by migraines. Aura typically appears just prior or during the build up of a migraine. 10 - 30% of the migraineur population experience aura with their migraines.

Symptoms

Migraine aura symptoms include temporary visual or sensory disturbances that usually strike before other migraine symptoms — such as intense head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Visual Disturbances include:

  • Blind spots in the field of eyesight (scotomas)

  • Colored spots

  • Seeing fireworks or hazy stars

  • Flashing lights

  • Tunnel vision

  • Zig zag lines across the field of vision

  • Temporary blindness

These symptoms can also be associated with

  • Numbness and tingling

  • Pins and needles feeling on arms and legs

  • Muscle Weakness on one side of the body

  • Dizziness

  • Vertigo

  • Difficulty in speech and language

Migraine aura usually occurs within an hour before head pain begins and generally lasts less than 60 minutes. It’s possible for migraine aura to occur with little or no headache, especially in people age 50 and older.(1)

When to see a Doctor

See your doctor immediately if you experience the signs and symptoms of migraine with aura, such as temporary vision loss or floating spots or zigzag lines in your field of vision. Your doctor will need to rule out more-serious conditions, such as a stroke or retinal tear.

Causes

The cause of migraine with aura isn't completely understood. Migraine with visual aura is like an electrical or chemical wave that moves across the part of your brain that processes visual signals (visual cortex) and causes these visual hallucinations.(2)

Many of the same factors that trigger migraine can also trigger migraine with aura, including stress, bright lights, some foods and medications, too much or too little sleep, and menstruation.

Risk factors

There are no specific factor that contributes to a higher risk of migraine with aura. Although, migraine is know to be hereditary and more common in women.  

Complications

People who have migraine with aura are at a slightly higher risk of stroke. Women who have migraine with aura appear to have an even higher risk of stroke if they smoke or take birth control pills.

 

1. Obrenovitch, Tiho P., and Jens P. Dreier. "Migraine with Aura - The Migraine Trust." Migrainetrust.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

2. "Symptoms and Causes - Migraine with Aura - Mayo Clinic." MayoClinic.org. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

Migraine Triggers

Many migraineurs will note certain smells, foods, environmental stimuli, and changes in daily habits will trigger, or at least worsen a migraine. Avoidance of these triggers is one step to reducing migraines and their associated symptoms, such as nausea. The following is a list of common triggers:

Aged cheeses

Artificial sweeteners ( Ie aspartame)

Alcohol

Bananas

Caffeine (acutely this typically helps a migraine, but daily/excessive intake can worsen headache)

Chocolate

Citrus fruits

Cured meats

Dehydration

Lights ( particularly with glare, flickering, fluorescent)

Menses

MSG ( common food additive that may be listed as “monosodium glutamate” or “natural flavor”)

Nitrites or nitrates

Noise

Odors

Onions

Over or under sleeping

Over or under eating

Over or under exercising

Stress

Travel

Weather changes, particularly with the barometric pressure changes

Download the Migraine Diary here!