Managing Migraine Misery Q&A

Check out the full Managing Migraine Misery: Merle Diamond, MD transcript


Diamond: Chronic migraine or chronic daily headaches is a very common problem seen in a neurologist's or headache specialist's office. There are many treatments available, some of which include drugs and some of which are behavioral. Some simple things to address include caffeine consumption, over-the-counter medications, decongestants, and prescription pain medicine. These can all lead to rebounds. Having a healthcare provider who is interested in managing your treatment over a long period of time is important. The National Headache Foundation may be able to give you appropriate resources in your area.


Member: I recently had a migraine that lasted over 10 days (no medication helped. I took Excedrin on top of Amerge and Tylenol with codeine) and ended up going to the ER for relief and a CT scan (normal results). I don't get migraines often, but when I do, they have lasted up to two weeks. Why?


Diamond: We know that patients with more severe, harder to treat headaches, migraine specifically, get something called central sensitization. That means that the whole brain has become involved in the migraine process. These headaches are harder to break or stop and can last for days at a time. It is important for your doctor to plan an effective intervention to turn off your headaches as quickly as possible. There are many ways to approach this but there are other options to use to prevent this from happening. Sometimes adding a preventative medication may be helpful as well.

Oh, yeah, I get migraines like that all the time. But then I get migraines all the time. And am on 3 preventatives right now. Certainly the ER here does not care one wit whether you have a migraine for three days or one hour, they treat it the same damn way.




Member: I have been a migraine patient all of my life. My concern is for my children. Are they hereditary? Also, I recently read that a child that gets car sick usually develops migraine headaches later in life. Do you have any knowledge of that statement? Thanks for your help!


Diamond: Motion sickness is probably an early migraine forerunner. Migraine is a genetic disorder and if you have one parent with it, you have a 50% likelihood of getting it. If both of your parents have it, you have an 80% chance of getting it. In saying that, migraine in a family will vary so that one person may have very severe attacks and other patients within the same family may not have as severe or as many attacks.
Huh... that explains that bad motion sickness I used to get as a kid, and still do really.
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