Good morning to my Migraine and Headache Family. I hope you're doing as well as possible today — that the weather is pleasant where you are, and that your head is being kind to you. 💕
When discussing Migraine or other headache disorders, the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) is the gold standard for classifying and diagnosing headache disorders. The ICHD is now in its third edition (ICHD-3) and can be found online. There are sound, logical reasons for using standardized diagnoses:
It helps keep everyone "on the same page."
It simplifies matters if and when patients need to seek care from someone other than their regular health care providers.
These criteria give researchers a standardized set of criteria so that research is more uniform and valuable.
It's far easier for discussion purposes if everyone is using the same term to describe the various disorders.
Unfortunately, even some doctors don't use the ICHD-3 diagnoses on a regular basis. This is most likely due to how little doctors are taught about Migraine and other headache disorders during medical school. Unless a doctor is a Migraine and headache specialist or a neurologist, they may not be aware of the ICHD-3.
There are several patients who write about Migraine and headache online and/or are patient advocates for Migraine and headache patients. When we come across a discussion where a form of Migraine is being discussed, and it's not a standard ICHD-3 diagnosis, we generally give people information about the ICHD-3 and the "official" forms of Migraine. If you're part of one of those discussions, and one of us posts information for you, please don't be offended. We're just trying to offer information and support. Continuing to learn about our Migraines is one of the most valuable tools we have for working effectively as treatment partners with our doctors, and we all want to offer you the most accurate information possible.
Anyone interested in new Migraine treatments will be interested in this article...
It often starts with the aura.
Zig-zagging lines come into view, everyday light becomes searingly bright, and vision starts to slip. These are signals that a debilitating migraine is on its way.
“It’s like you’re possessed,” said Lorie Novak, who has suffered from chronic migraines since childhood. “I almost feel separate from my body, like it’s just this painful shell around me that’s not me.”
Novak, now in her 60s, is one of the roughly 35 million Americans who suffer from migraines. There are few effective treatments, and no new drugs have been developed since the early 1990s
The FDA issued a warning about serotonin syndrome that had many migraine patients in a panic. It warned of this "life-threatening" syndrome, although there wasn't a single death from it on record. The debate blurred the line between medication warnings and medication contraindications, increasing confusion rather than clarifying matters. The FDA does need to issue warnings from time to time. That said, this one seemed to be extreme and perhaps exaggerated.
This lesson includes video from an American Headache Society expert - information that gives us some background information to discuss the issue rationally with our doctors, pharmacists, and other health care providers.
Many of us with Migraine experience aphasia as a Migraine symptom. This video lesson offers interesting comprehensive information about aphasia that can help us understand what's going on in the brain when aphasia strikes as a Migraine symptom as well as more in-depth information about aphasia.
Language, written and spoken, is an enormous part of life, but aphasia can temporarily or permanently disrupt it. Temporary aphasia can be a symptom of a Migraine attack, beginning as early in a Migraine as the prodrome phase. Susan Wortman-Jutt details aphasia in detail. Not all of this video relates to aphasia as a Migraine symptom, but it's all very interesting and educational.
Sigh. This is a perfect example of why we shouldn't trust everything we read on the Internet. This salt "cure" has been circulating online for some time now, and it's just so wrong. In fact, it has the potential to be harmful to some people. In this case, they reference lime juice and salt, but whether lime or lemon juice are promoted this way, it's flat-out wrong.
Medication overuse headache (MOH) is very real and can be an enormous problem for people with Migraine. MOH can occur when we use acute medications - those taken to treat a Migraine attack when it occurs - too frequently. Pleasenote that I'm not saying abuse or misuse, but overuse. It's not a criticism of patients at all, nor is it blaming patients. Kerrie Smyres is sharing her experience with "detoxing" on her blog, The Daily Headache. These are great posts and well worth a look!
“This too shall pass.” Those words provide immense comfort when my migraine attacks are severe and disabling. They have carried me through many difficult years. As encouraging as this phrase can be, there’s a flipside to it: the difficult, trying times in life pass, but so do the pleasurable ones we never want to end. “This too shall pass” means that everything passes.
On Saturday, October 8, three Runnin' for Research runs/walks to raise funding for Migraine and Headache research will occur in:
Jeffersontown, Kentucky (outside Louisville);
Morgantown, West Virginia, and
Parkville, Missouri (outside Kansas City).
In each location, there will be a 5-K run and a 1-mile walk. For those who can't be present or who are physically unable to participate, there's a "virtual runner" option to support the events.
Registration for these events is kept to an affordable $20 fee. National and local sponsors have provided financial support that offsets an race expenses not covered by registration fees and adds to the "kitty" for research donations. The directors of these three events are volunteers, and they've worked diligently to organize and run fun, high quality events at minimum cost.
This is the third year for Runnin' for Research events. In 2015, Runnin' for Research donated $6,313 to the American Migraine Foundation from just one race in Morgantown. In 2016, the Louisville area race was added, and $17,434 was donated. With the addition of the Kansas City area race this year, it's anticipated that the donation will grow significantly.
Good Sunday morning to my Migraine and Headache family. I hope you're feeling as well as possible today and that your Migraines and Headaches are being kind to you.
One of the most most enormous challenges of living with Migraine is living with Migraine with grace and equanimity. It's certainly a challenge with which I've struggled for many years. Last week, I conversed with someone who is currently dealing with many severe challenges from her Migraines. To top things all off, a so-called "pain psychologist" was trying to tell her it was all "in her head." Seriously! The psychologist was trying to tell her that her Migraines could be stopped with therapy. Yeah, right.
Personally, in that situation, I don't know that I could handle things as well as she is. It's entirely possible that I'd tell the psychologist exactly what I thought of that theory, contact my insurance company and tell them not to pay them, and be very angry. But that's not how the dear lady I was conversing with handled it. Instead, she simply asked for some information to confirm that her reaction to the psychologist's advice - that the psychologist was wrong - was reasonable so she could continue to trust her instincts and her neurologist's advice. She told me she's been making some progress with her neurologist, and she's happy about that.
What incredible grace she showed under terrible pressure! I hope she reads this post because I want her to know how very much I admire her. As I continue thinking about it, I realize that the way she handles such challenges also makes life calmer and easier for her. Truly, I need to follow her example and not worry so much about things.
Do you know people who are able to handle life, Migraine, and other challenges in this way? I hope so. She came to me for information, but I'm the one who learned and benefited from the conversation.