Daily Headache? Chronic Migraine: Symptoms & Treatment

What is chronic migraine?

Chronic migraine is a debilitating condition that transcends the occasional headache, evolving into a constant companion for those affected.

Characterized by headaches on 15 or more days a month, with migraine symptoms on at least eight of those days, this condition significantly impacts the daily lives of sufferers.

Regarding prevalence, chronic migraine affects about 1-2% of the global population, marking it as a significant health issue that impacts millions worldwide.

10-20 out of every 1000 people regularly have chronic migraine.

This condition not only affects individuals' health but also their ability to work, socialize, and perform daily activities, making understanding and managing it crucial for those affected.

Symptoms indicating that you have Chronic Migraine

Symptoms of chronic migraine include experiencing headaches on 15 or more days per month, with at least eight of those days being migrainous in nature. This condition is distinguished by its regularity and severity.

  • Frequent or daily headaches: These can vary in intensity but are often debilitating.

  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound: This can make everyday environments uncomfortable or intolerable.

  • Nausea and vomiting: These are common and can significantly impact daily activities.

  • Aura symptoms: Visual disturbances (like seeing shapes, light flashes, or experiencing vision loss), dizziness, or even speech and motor disturbances occur in some individuals before the headache phase.

Chronic migraine significantly affects quality of life, making management and treatment crucial.

Diving Deeper: Causes and Triggers

Chronic migraines can be tough to pin down because they come from a mix of genetics and things around us. Some people might find their migraines are linked to feeling stressed or anxious, having other pain conditions like fibromyalgia, or not sleeping well.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Mental Health: Feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious can lead to migraines.

  • Other Pain Conditions: Having conditions like fibromyalgia can also be a trigger.

  • Sleep Issues: Not sleeping well, including conditions like sleep apnea, might make migraines more frequent.

  • Food and Drinks: Yes, what you eat and drink can spark a migraine. It’s a good idea to notice if any specific foods or beverages seem to make your headaches worse.

  • Osmophobia: The Journal of Headache and Pain notice that unlike symptoms such as vertigo and dizziness, osmophobia is closely linked with the headache and other symptoms of migraine.

Understanding chronic migraines can be simpler when we break down the causes and what might trigger an episode.

Life Under the Shadow of Chronic Migraine

Living with chronic migraine means navigating a world where work, social engagements, and even personal relationships are constantly under strain. The physical and emotional toll can lead to a reduced quality of life, emphasizing the need for effective management strategies.

Navigating Diagnosis

Diagnosis is a critical step towards managing chronic migraine. It typically involves:

  • A thorough medical history review
  • A detailed symptom analysis
  • Neurological examinations

Navigating the diagnosis of chronic migraine involves a comprehensive evaluation process that includes a review of the individual's medical history, an in-depth analysis of symptoms, and neurological examinations.

Keeping a headache diary is particularly beneficial for documenting the frequency, duration, and characteristics of migraines, which can greatly aid healthcare professionals in making an accurate diagnosis.

This diary should note the timing, triggers, severity of the headaches, and any accompanying symptoms, providing a valuable tool for understanding patterns and identifying potential migraine triggers.

Effective Treatment

To address chronic migraine effectively, a comprehensive treatment plan incorporating both medication and lifestyle adjustments is essential. Before beginning any medication, it's crucial to undergo a thorough medical assessment to tailor treatment to your specific needs. Click Pharmacy offers a short medical assessment to determine the most appropriate medication for you.

Treatment for chronic migraine often requires a multifaceted approach, including:

  • Medications such as NSAIDs

  • Preventive treatments, including beta-blockers and CGRP monoclonal antibodies

  • Non-pharmacological strategies like stress management and lifestyle modifications

Among the medications available for chronic migraine treatment are:

For a detailed list of migraine medications and to find the right one for your condition, visit Click Pharmacy's migraine section.

Recent clinical trials, as reported in The Lancet, highlight the potential of atogepant in significantly reducing monthly migraine days (MMDs) for chronic migraine sufferers. The study showcased a marked decrease in MMDs over 12 weeks, presenting a promising avenue for those affected by this debilitating condition.

Living with Chronic Migraine

To effectively live with chronic migraine, adopting coping strategies and seeking support are crucial.

Developing a routine that includes regular sleep patterns, healthy eating, and stress management can significantly mitigate symptoms. Engaging in gentle exercise and relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can also be beneficial.

Building a support network, whether through friends, family, or online communities, provides emotional backing and shared experiences.

Educational resources, like those available from headache and migraine organizations, offer valuable information and advocacy tips.

Embracing these strategies fosters a proactive approach to managing chronic migraine, underscoring that while the journey may be challenging, you are not navigating it alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are migraines a disability?

In the disability UK Equality Act 2010 (“EQA”), section 6 includes:

(1) A person (P) has a disability if

(a) P has a physical or mental impairment, and

(b) The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on P's ability to

carry out normal day-to-day activities.

In the UK Employment Tribunal case of Mr. Z Ismailjee vs. Morrison Data Services Ltd, the court looked at whether chronic migraines could be considered a disability under UK law.

They acknowledged that the migraines were a physical problem, but decided they did not qualify as a disability. This was because the migraines did not have a significant, long-lasting impact on the person's daily activities. This case shows that to be seen as a disability, an issue must seriously affect someone's everyday life.

Why do I keep getting migraines?

If you find yourself constantly battling migraines, it's crucial to understand that various factors can be at play. Chronic migraines can stem from a mix of genetic makeup, your environment, and specific lifestyle habits.

Key triggers include:

  • Stress and Mental Health

  • Physical Health Conditions

  • Dietary Triggers

  • Sensory Sensitivities

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