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Under Pressure


        Migraines are a neurobiological disorder. While there is still research being conducted today on what exactly causes/creates migraines we do know that it's an illness of the nervous system that's caused by biological factors such as genetics or metabolism. This is known because of several ancillary findings.

        As a fellow sufferer myself, I know how debilitating a migraine can be. You feel as if you’re in a mental fog, nauseous, light sensitivity, even if coworkers are whispering it feels like they’re shouting. You can’t enjoy the sunny days because the sun feels like a burning evil day star. Unless you know what triggers your migraines (i.e. smells, certain activities, or even certain foods), you can feel helpless and stuck in an endless cycle. There is hope!

        I have a patient who used to get migraines and tension headaches almost daily. She finally got a massage prescription from her doctor to come in once a week. After the first 3-4 sessions she noticed a significant drop in the occurrence of her migraine episodes. That same patient now only has to come in when she needs to.

        While the exact science behind the mechanics of migraines is still being researched there does seem to be a correlation between outside stimuli and symptoms. Recent years of research have uncovered the network of neurons that sense pain signals from the dura changes quickly during the course of a single migraine episode and treatment can be just as tricky.

        The criteria required in order for your doctor to diagnose you with migraines:

1) The duration of the episode(s) must range from 4 to 72 hours

2) Be accompanied with sensitivity to light and sound (photophobia and phonophobia)

3) There must be an association of nausea and/or vomiting

4) The pain experienced must be: should only be on one side of your head; have a pulsating quality that is moderate or severe; and is aggravated, or causes the avoidance of, physical activity. 

        The treatment for migraines often include prescription medications (there are many on the market), botox injections (only for the severe cases), diet changes, even massage. Please do not selfdiagnose.

Have a chat with your primary doctor about symptoms and come up with a treatment plan that best suites your needs.

Works cited

Jennifer Roldan, Massage Therapist at Northwest Wellness