Over 29 million Americans suffer from migraines. The NTI-tss is indicated for migraine prevention. It is a small nightguard that comfortably fits over your four front teeth. Its patented design keeps your canine and back teeth apart. This separation minimizes the intensity of your nighttime clenching forces.

Phases of a Migraine

A migraine can be a complicated event, with symptoms that change over hours or even days. Migraines tend to progress through several stages:

  1. Prodromal phase before the migraine
  2. Aura phase
  3. Attack phase
  4. Postdromal phase after the migraine

Prodromal Phase: Early Warning Signs- several hours before the migraine begins, and sometimes even the day before, many people with migraines notice unusual sensations. They may feel: either unusually energetic and excitable or depressed, irritable, thirsty, have cravings for certain foods, sleepy with frequent yawning, or have the need to urinate more.

Aura Phase: Strange Sensations Arise- About 1 in 5 people with migraine develop and "aura" that begins before the headache or starts along with it. An aura may not occur with every headache, but can include: changes in vision, skin sensations, or language problems.

Attack Phase: The Headache Begins- The attack portion of a migraine episode can last a few hours to several days. During this phase of the migraine, the person usually wants to rest quietly and finds normal activities difficult. A defining quality of migraines is their pain:

  • usually begins above the eyes
  • typically affects one side of the head, but it may strike the entire head or move from one side to the other. It may also affect the lower face and the neck.
  • tends to have a throbbing intensity
  • may throb worse during physical activity or when you lean forward
  • may get worse if you become physically active
  • other symptoms may include: unusual sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, light-headedness, nausea or vomiting.

Postdromal Phase: After the Storm- Following the most severe phase of the migraine, you may not feel well for up to a day. Symptoms of the post-migraine phase may include: extreme tiredness, sluggishness, confusion, head pain that flares up when you lean over, move quickly or experience a rush of blood to the head.

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New Migraine Prevention Guidelines

The American Academy of Neurology has released new guidelines for the prevention of migraine headaches.  One goal of releasing the new guidelines is to ensure people who are candidates for preventive treatments actually use them. Studies show that migraine is under-recognized and under-treated. 

Unlike treatments to relieve pain and symptoms of a migraine attack, preventative treatments usually are taken everyday to stop attacks from occurring as often and to lessen their severity and duration. Some studies show that migraines can be reduced by more than half with preventative treatments.

Preventative migraine therapy usually has two parts:

-Avoiding known migraine triggers.

-Taking medicine everyday to decrease the number of migraines and how severe they are.

For preventative therapy, you can start with daily herbal or over-the-counter products such as petasites (butterbur), Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Riboflavin, MIG-99.  Research has found that the following prescription medicines have the best evidence for preventing migraines: anti-seizure medicines and beta-blockers.

 

 

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Brain Freezes Could Be Linked To Migraines

New research shows that the "brain freeze" headache you experience when eating ice cream or other cold foods may be caused by a sudden change in brain blood flow.

Results suggest that these headaches are triggered by a sudden increase in blood flow in the brain's anterior cerebral artery. Brain freeze disappears again when this artery constricts. The rapid dilation and then quick constriction of the anterior cerebral artery may be a type of self-defense for the brain.  The skull is a closed structure and the sudden rush of blood could therefore boost pressure and cause pain. The subsequent constriction of the artery may also be a way to reduce pressure in the brain before it reaches dangerous levels.

Brain blood flow changes similar to those seen in brain freeze could be associated with migraines and other types of headaches. If further research confirms that this is the case, then finding ways to control brain blood flow could offer new treatments for headaches researchers say.

 

 

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A Facelift Could Relieve Your Migraine Pain

Plastic surgeryThe 36 million Americans that suffer from migraines are always looking for a new treatment option that will bring relief without tying them to constant medication. 12 years ago, a surgeon realized he may have a new option for those suffering. Dr. Bahman Guyuron, chairman of the plastic surgery department at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland discovered that several of his plastic surgery patients reported that their migraines improved after a cosmetic procedure known as a forehead lift. And, other women reported migraine relief after they had received Botox injections that cosmetically smoothed furrowed brows by paralyzing muscles.

The surgery that was developed works by seeking out a structural reason for pain, a nerve compressed or impinged by surrounding bone or soft tissue. A study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2009, found that just fewer than 85 percent of the patients who underwent the nerve decompression surgery reported at least a 50% reduction in migraine, calculating pain, frequency, and duration. Nearly 60% reported a complete elimination of pain.

Dr. Glaser at the Migraine Research Foundation does caution that while the study was rigorously designed, it was conducted on a very small population of sufferers and may not be a “cure” for all. “It’s hard to extrapolate from these small populations. You have to be very careful when you read headlines about cures.”

Dr. W.G. Austen Jr., of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that each new surgery he performs, confirms his belief that compressed nerve branches are both the cause of, and the solution to, his patients’ migraine pain. “80% of the time when I go to release a nerve, I find something anatomically wrong. Such as a band around a nerve, or a nerve that comes through a hole in the bone instead of a notch.”

A patient said two weeks after having the surgery that she is still a little sensitive to light, but is “pain-free” and feeling great.

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Soldiers Suffer from Chronic Headache

It is no surprise that our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are in an environment ripe with headache triggers. Recently there have been studies published about soldiers returning from war zones and suffering from chronic daily headaches that occur at least half the days of the month, with many suffering even more.

Three of the most common War Zone Headache Triggers are:

  1. Stress: From the trauma of seeing someone injured tot he emotional turmoil of being away from family, stress is a constant trigger in active duty. "If someone wanted to provoke a migraine, I couldn't think of better conditions than in a war zone in Afghanistan," says Marc Husid, MD, chief of Neurology at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Fort Gordon, GA.
  2. Insufficient Sleep: Sleep disrupted by stress, noise, mortar attacks and early awakening can trigger migraine and chronic headache says Dr. Anne Calhoun, MD, CAPT/MC/USNR-Ret, partner and co-founder of the Carolina Headache Institute in Chapel Hill, NC.
  3. Medication Overuse: According to Dr. Husid, an army medic's first response to headache pain is often to treat the service member with painkillers. But frequent use of such pain meds can lead to 'medication overuse headaches.' Dr. Calhoun stresses another often-overused drug: caffeine. "It can convert the occasional episodic migraine stateside to chronic daily headache...." she says.

Here are the numbers; one in five soldiers who return from Iraq or Afghanistan having suffered a concussion develop chronic headaches according to a U.S. Survey. Army researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Headache, examined nearly 1,000 soldiers with a history of deployment-related concussion and found 20 percent had suffered frequent headaches diagnosed s "chronic daily headache" for three months or more, a quarter had headaches everyday. 98% reported headaches after the concussion.

The Chronic headache group was more likely to score higher on a test for signs of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Nearly twice as many with chronic headache, 41%, screened positive for PTSD, compared to the 18% who didn't have headaches often.

The finding that more soldiers which chronic daily headache also had PTSD symptoms supports the idea that the headaches could be related to the actual physical brain injury or to the psychological trauma of the event that caused the concussion. 

Although the headaches after concussion can be very debilitating for some people, the good news is they usually clear up with time.

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