How do you know if what you’re experiencing is migraine pain?
Dr. Timothy Dembowski, the founder of Atlanta Medical Clinic, begins by drawing a parallel with back pain: Someone might feel a low-back twinge after a Saturday filled with yard work – or suffer a couple of days of agony for no apparent reason.
The Mayo Clinic defines a headache as “pain in any region of the head,” but for 36 million Americans that suffer from migraine headaches every year, that hardly defines the suffering of the condition. With severe, disabling discomfort, vomiting or nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, vision problems, and even disorientation, all lasting up to 72 hours, migraine is a neurological disorder and not your typical headache.
Is it possible that what you think is a headache is actually a migraine? Here is some basic information to tell the two apart.
When you have head pain, it’s not always easy to tell if it’s a migraine or another type of headache. It’s of paramount importance that you be able to tell which one is occurring so that you can use a more accurately targeted treatment.
What’s the difference between a migraine and other types of headaches?
Many people suffer from migraine, and it is one of the leading causes of disability. Let’s review the causes of migraine and major risk factors.
Migraines are prevalent & often disabling
About one out of every eight people suffers from migraine: 12% of the population. There is a migraineur (someone suffering from the disease) in just under a quarter of households.
Migraines are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, as indicated by the World Health Organization’s 2012 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report. The GBD study surveys a total of 289 illnesses and injuries. Of all those health conditions, migraine is the eighth likeliest to cause disability.
One of the figures calculated by the GBD is “years lived with disability.” That metric rose from 583 million in 1990 to 777 million in 2010. Along with ranking as one of the top disablers, migraine was also the third most common disease, with only tooth decay and tension headache occurring more frequently.
Nearly three out of four migraine patients reported lower pain and less need for medication following chiropractic therapy.
Dr. Peter Tuchin, a chiropractor for two decades, decided later in life to get a PhD. For his doctoral dissertation at Macquarie University in Australia, he conducted a randomized clinical trial – looking for evidence of the role chiropractic can play in migraine relief.
The SPG nerve block has become an increasingly common treatment for migraine and chronic headaches. A 2015 clinical trial shows that it stops pain quickly.
How the SPG is involved with headache disorders
The SPG nerve block directly targets the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG), a group of nerves that is connected to the brainstem (often the origin of migraine or cluster headaches) and the meninges (connective tissue layers covering the brain) via the trigeminal nerve.