Pain is not the only complication from migraine headaches…Sometimes the treatments can create some new ones.
On their own, migraine headaches can do a lot to test our tolerance for pain NHS Heroes
, without any help from the rest of our bodies.
One big concern for migraine sufferers should be the risk of developing other serious conditions as a result.
We need to be on a mission to find ways to control and prevent migraines from threatening our lifestyles, and improve our overall health
If you’ve lived with migraines (whether you’re being treated or not), it is recommended that you speak to your physician about examining or testing you for the possibility of other conditions.
Complications related to migraine treatment include the following:
Rebound headaches – Medications for migraines are meant to be taken to relieve the pain at the first sign of migraine.
When you take them too often it can lead to even more headaches. Ask your doctor to check if you need a lower dose or a more powerful medication that is used less often.
Abdominal problems – Over the counter medications are tempting to try when you have a migraine. However, chronic use of pain relievers at high doses, especially Aspirin, as well as Acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can lead to bowel problems and stomach ulcers.
Serotonin syndrome – This is a rare condition but requires monitoring. Some migraine medications may have negative interactions when taken with antidepressants that affect the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the blood.
Reynaud’s Syndrome, is a crippling condition of the hands and feet caused by the narrowing of blood vessels, which interferes with blood flow to those body parts. When the hands and feet are exposed to cold, fingers and toes may get purple or deep red, and movement may become extremely painful.
Unfortunately, one type of medication used to treat migraine, called Beta Blockers, may constrict the blood vessels even more, worsening the Reynaud’s.
There is another type of medication, however, that can be used to treat Reynaud’s as well as migraines. These are called Calcium Channel Blockers, and research has indicated good results.
Biofeedback, used either alone or combined with medication, has also provided excellent relief for patients suffering from both of these conditions.
The migraines themselves can create other complications:
Chronic Fatigue and Depression (which often go hand in hand) may develop, by extension, in response to the nature and frequency of migraines in some people.
Asthma and migraine headaches share some substances (neurotransmitters) released by the body which cause inflammation. Researchers are focusing on whether the common elements may cause a patient with either condition to be more susceptible to the other.
Sleep problems – Insomnia or sleepwalking may be a result of a similar decrease in the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline (which are needed to support health) experienced by people with migraines.
Heart complications – Pain in any part of the body causes an increase in heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
A “holistic” approach to treatment, which takes the “whole” of the person into consideration, is always the best way to diagnose and treat migraines, as well as many other medical conditions.
Keep the lines of communication with your health care provider open, and share a thorough medical history, along with the names of your past and current medications (including any “natural” or herbal supplements).
And, look for upcoming articles about some easy dietary changes that can help diminish not only the migraine headaches, but also their intensity.
To your good health!