Massage For Your Migraines?

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For Some Migraineurs, Special Head and Neck Massages Help (1)

For all the research being done with electrical stimulation of nerves, surgeries to potent medications and herbs, for some migraineurs the answer to their misery could come from the unassuming massage. But this by no means is a regular spa massage. Conducted by migraine specialists the massage targets certain places and obstructions to relieve pain and reduce attack incidences. In other words, the migraineurs neither puts up with the horrible side-effects of hand-me-down drugs originally aimed at treating other conditions, nor does she have to go on impractical diets.

A Bay Area physical therapist, Sheldon Low has discovered a massage method that is not currently popular as a migraine treatment and management technique among other doctors. He has worked on some chronic migraineurs and those who experienced the migraine trauma since their teens with amazing results.

A therapist for 35 years, Low worked on patient Zoe Soane who had been migraining since she was only 13 and lived life less than optimally because of the recurrent attacks that left her exhausted with pain and dizziness and rattled. Simple things like motion, computer screen glare, sunshine or strong winds worked as triggers for her. Though Soane was referred to for neck issue but Dr. Low found her a massage technique that worked for her!

As per Dr. Low, “It’s my theory, and my experience that taking pressure off the scalp nerves, that’s taking away the impingement and causative agent of the headaches. I’m actually working into that scar tissue trying to break it down. It’s almost like controlled shearing. If you’re peeling an orange and trying to play that game to keep the orange peel together and you’re trying to work it around so you’re not breaking the peel apart.” (2)

The therapist says he look for lumps or bumps in the head and neck areas. If he finds them sensitive then he knows what he has to work on. He goes by common sense and knowledge that any lumps in that area are not normal and neither skull nor any other bone. Some times these lumps have formed as a part of body’s inflammatory response to a fall or injury that happened in childhood which has hardened over a period of time causing trouble and blockages now.

Soane’s migraine episodes have diminished in number and in intensity. This treatment could be transferred to other migraineurs as well or so believes Dr. Marc Lenaerts, a fellow of the American Headache Society who also runs the headache clinic at UC Davis Medical Center, “Freeing inflammatory fluids, and humors and freeing the adhesions between the tissues is a very important point and worthwhile looking into. Probably not enough people practicing and doing it on a regular basis. Conclusion is we need more scientific evidence, but it’s encouraging and worthwhile going further.” (2)

SOURCES

  1. Image credit: Massage, flower, spa, gels – Photostock; freedigitalphotos.net; Web February 2015; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Healthy_Living_g284-Massageflowerspa_Gels_p37679.html
  2. Migraine Cure Could Be A Massage Away; CBS Sacramento; Web February 2015; http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/02/04/migraine-cure-could-be-a-massage-away/

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Implant To Pull The Plug On Migraine Pain

implant to cut off pain

 

Implant That Cuts Off Pain (1)

Another hand-me-down tool in the pain management kit for migraineurs but one that shows promise for the chronic migraineur. Patients who have tried almost all routes to seek relief from popping in painkillers and taking prescription opoids, having botox injected, trying hypnosis and biofeedback as well as other alternative therapies like shiastu and autogenic training but have turned to the doctor dismayed with the results now have hope. There appears to be one last technique/tool that some doctors may suggest to such patients. It is not meant for all migraineurs and is suggested on a case to case basis. It is yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The device was designed for patients of chronic back pain. But now it is holding hope for migraineurs who have tried everything and have no other corner to turn. According to Jenny Bruner who had been dealing with the onslaught of pain for many years, “I went to a neurologist. I was hospitalized. Then they put me on preventative medicines.  We tried acupuncture, even botox. I tried biofeedback, and nothing was working. I didn’t see any hope.  It was so frustrating just living in constant pain. It’s unbearable because you are not able to eat because you are nauseated all the time.” (2) During her years with the neurological disease she tried as many as 62 different medications with little or no help from any.

However, she did in the course come across a management technique involving neuro-stimulation. The treatment was called Transforma and it gave her considerable relief like no other technique or medication had.

The system involved the implantation of tiny leads just below the skin. These sub-cutaneous leads are connected to a battery pack. This battery is implanted in the lower back of the patients. The battery sends electrical pulses of very low voltage to the areas of the brain that process pain and is involved in pain signalling. The beauty of the system is that the migraineur can adjust the voltage strength according to her/his needs or the level of pain being experienced in a migraine episode. The electrical pulses feel like a mild massage.

According to migraine specialist Dr. Jack Chapman, “We are turning on a small electrical signal to the nerve to basically shut off or change that nerves transmission of the pain that people interpret as a headache.” (3) To Bruner, this has been a life-changing treatment. She has retrieved bits of life that she had to let go off.

SOURCES

  1. Image Credit: Asian Girl With Headache; tokyoboy; Freedigitalphotos.net; web October 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Healthcare_g355-Asian_Girl_With_Headache_p86098.html
  2. Relief for migraine sufferers thanks to small electronic device; ClickOrlando.com; Web October 2013; http://www.clickorlando.com/news/relief-for-migraine-sufferers-thanks-to-small-electronic-device/-/1637132/22282540/-/t3xan8z/-/index.html
  3. New treatment helping people with migraines; WNDU.com; Web October 2013; http://www.wndu.com/news/specialreports/headlines/New-treatment-helping-people-with-migranes-226347731.html

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Aberration in Structure of Brain Artery Responsible For Migraines: New Study

Brain Neuron

 

Incomplete Brain Arterial Network Found In Migraineurs (1)

Researchers from University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine are suggesting based on their recent study, that the network of arteries that supply blood to the brain is incomplete in those who suffer migraines. This impairs and creates asymmetries in cerebral blood flow that act as triggers for migraines.

The network of cerebral arteries consists of a series of connections between major arteries. This network with it’s connections is called ‘Circle of Willis’. The study found a strong association between incomplete network connections in the Circle of Willis thus depriving certain parts of the brain of blood flow and oxygen.

As per lead author of the study, Brett Cucchiara, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology, “People with migraine actually have differences in the structure of their blood vessels – this is something you are born with. These differences seem to be associated with changes in blood flow in the brain, and it’s possible that these changes may trigger migraine, which may explain why some people, for instance, notice that dehydration triggers their headaches.” (2)

The study also suggested that blood vessels in the brain played a rather different role in migraine condition than what was earlier believed. The structural aberration in blood supply caused by an incomplete Circle of Willis also increases a person’s susceptibility to abnormal neural activity and electrical pulse generation in the brain thus triggering migraines.

The study examined 170 people from three groups.

  • Group 1: A control group with no migraines or headaches
  • Group 2: Those suffering from migraines with aura
  • Group 3: Those with migraines without aura

A good percentage of persons in Groups 2 and 3 were found to have a common ground of incomplete Circle of Willis when compared to the control group.

MRI angiography was employed to examine blood vessel structure and a noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging method called Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) was used to measure changes in cerebral blood flow during the study.

According to senior author, John Detre, MD, Professor of Neurology and Radiology, “Abnormalities in both the circle of Willis and blood flow were most prominent in the back of the brain, where the visual cortex is located. This may help explain why the most common migraine auras consist of visual symptoms such as seeing distortions, spots, or wavy lines.” (3)

The study suggests that at some point in the future more work on the role of the Circle of Willis will help design personalized treatment and therapy for patients.

SOURCES:

  1. Image credits: FreeDigitialPhotos.net: Image by Renjith krishnan; Web July 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/neuron-photo-p186134
  2. Migraines Associated With Variations in Structure of Brain Arteries; Science Daily News; Web July 2013; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130726191731.htm
  3. Abnormal Arteries May Trigger Migraines; Nationalpainreport.com; Web July 2013; http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/abnormal-arteries-may-trigger-migraines-8821061.html

DETAILS OF THE STUDY MAY BE HAD AT PLOS ONE:

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