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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Migraines Could Lead To White Matter Damage In Brain: New Study

Migraine photo

Abnormalities are common in the signal-sending white matter of migraineurs with aura (1)

A recent analysis of some 19 medical studies put together on migraineurs point that permanent changes likely occur in the brain of those who suffer from migraines and particularly those among them who experience aura – visual or otherwise, before the onset of an attack.

The analysis which was published online in the latest Journal of Neurology concluded that migraineurs with aura were almost two times as likely to have anamolies/abnormalities in the brain structure as those who do not suffer from migraines.

MRIs clearly show white-matter blips and other tissue changes in the migraineurs brain images but how exactly do these neurological variances translate to significant imagery correlate or give a prognosis of progressive deterioration is yet to be seen.

According to Dr. Richard B. Lipton, a neurologist who heads the Montefiore Headache Center in the Bronx, N.Y. “Part of the message I hope to communicate here is: If you have migraine with aura and you have white-matter lesions, they’re probably not a cause of concern.”  (2) However he noted that migraineurs with aura have twice the risk of getting a stroke than non-aura migraineurs

The 19 medical study analysis said the occurrence of tiny lesions that imitate scars left from strokes in aura migraineurs have left them inconclusive because there was no significant evidence of cognitive decline or other neurological symptoms from such lesions or other white-matter anomalies.

In addition, Dr Lipton said that it was good to follow the ‘you never know’ strategy,  further saying, “If you have migraine with aura, certainly you shouldn’t smoke,. Certainly, if you are going to use oral contraceptives, you should use the lowest possible hormonal dose. If you have other stroke risk factors such as hypertension or diabetes or high cholesterol, it becomes particularly important to manage those risk factors.” (2)

What was found to be more disturbing was the uncertainty that surrounds the direction of the correlations. This especially so because it puts forth the reverse question on the table : Is it that the peculiar white-matter phenomena of aura migraineurs on MRI images is what makes for a migraine-prone brain? That is, are the brains of migraine patients different to begin with?

SOURCE:

  1. Image Credits: Sad Middle Aged Woman Suffering From Headache; StockImages; FreeDigitialPhotos.net; Web August 2103; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Emotions_g96-Sad_Middle_Aged_Woman_Suffering_From_Headache_p150766.html
  2. Migraine could be associated with brain damage, study warns; Los Angeles Times; Web August 2013; http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-migraine-brain-damage-20130828,0,7497521.story

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Sleep Quality Influences Migraine Frequency And Disability

Sleeping Woman - Migraine Blog

 

Sleep Quality Directly Effects How Often You Get Migraines (1)

Tests conducted by researchers at the University of Mississippi, U.S.A have shown a strong correlation between poor quality of sleep and the frequency of migraine episodes as well as the disabilities that go with the condition.

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was employed in the study which tested 78 migraineurs and 208 non-migraineurs who formed the control group.

The PSQI is a tool in the form of a scoring but subjective questionnaire developed by the Sleep Medicine Institute of the University of Pittsburgh. It has questions within it’s 7 broad components on which a patient is scored, viz;

  • Subjective Sleep Quality,
  • Sleep Latency,
  • Sleep Duration,
  • Habitual Sleep Efficiency,
  • Sleep Disturbance,
  • Use of Sleep Medicines,
  • Daytime Dysfunction.

Todd Smitherman and his team found that sleep quality was significantly worse for those experiencing episodic migraines than for those in the control group. The migraining group scored an average PSQI of 8.90 as compared to 6.63 in the control group. A PSQI score more than 5 is considered significantly bad.

Factors such as depression, anxiety were adjusted for the regression analysis calculations but still it accounted for 5.3% and 5.8% of unique variance in headache frequency and disability, respectively, which the researchers say is a modest but non-trivial amount. Even when depression and anxiety factors after poor sleep quality were included in the calculations the affective symptoms did not significantly improve these analysis models beyond that of sleep quality alone which made sleep quality almost an independent and very relevant factor in assessing headache frequencies and related disabilities.

As per Smitherman, “As such, sleep quality should be assessed preferentially to other sleep disturbance variables when subjective self-report measures of insomnia are used. In light of the present findings, conclusions from systematic reviews, and practice guidelines, the most potent means of improving sleep quality and insomnia among migraineurs is likely a treatment package that incorporates stimulus control and/or sleep restriction in addition to basic sleep hygiene education and management of comorbid psychiatric symptoms.” (2)

SOURCES:

  1. Image Credits: Freedigitalphotos.net; Tired Woman by Graur Codrin; Web August 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10021635
  2. Sleep Quality A Key Contributor To Migraine Severity; MedWireNews.com (Springer Healthcare Limited); Web August 2013; http://www.medwirenews.com/44/104664/General_neurology/Sleep_quality_a_key_contributor_to_migraine_severity_.html
  •  Abstract of the research may be had at:

Sleep Disturbance and Affective Comorbidity Among Episodic Migraineurs; Wiley Online Library; Web August 2013; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/head.12168/abstract

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