is essentially a nasty headache, even a sick headache, which
comes on suddenly in a healthy person, lasts a few hours or
even a day or two and afterwards the sufferer is restored
to full health once more. During an attack the patient feels
and looks very ill and may vomit. It is this repeated and
unexpected onset of attacks, which characterises migraine.
A diagnosis of migraine is made if there are headaches, which
come and go and if two of the following features are present.
A dislike of light and noise - pain limited to one side of
the head only - vomiting or a feeling of nausea - disturbances
of vision - queer sensations before an attack - a history
of migraine in the family. It is not known what happens in
the head to cause the symptoms of a migraine attack. One theory
is that in the early stages of an attack when the patient
looks pale and strange things are happening to the eyes, skin
or limbs, the blood vessels of the brain suddenly become narrowed.
Later the throbbing headache develops when the blood vessels
widen and become larger than usual. The headache continues
until the blood vessels resume their normal size again, usually
whilst sleeping. Headaches can affect the lives of every one.
One in ten people suffer directly with moderate to severe
headaches on a regular basis. The lives of those around them
can also affected in many ways. The sufferer will probably
often need to go and lie down, have difficulty driving, put
off household tasks, find their work is disrupted and wish
to be alone. Migraines are twice as prevalent in the population
as asthma; in fact it is one of the commonest of chronic disorders.
Women suffer more severe and more frequent attacks. The condition
is age related and strikes in teens and early twenties, meaning
that ¾ of sufferer are under 45, having a serious impact on
work and family. The cost to industry of headaches is between
£600 and £750 million every year in lost productivity due
to time off work. Over 4 million working days are lost per
year from men alone and there are 4 times as many women as
men who suffer from headaches. In between attacks headaches
can interfere with relationships, cause anxiety and depression
and lead to an inability to cope with every day life.
Migraines are usually headaches which feel like a moderate
or severe pulsing or throbbing pain, usually one sided, which
may increase on movement and can last from 4 hours to 3 days.
Migraines can be at intervals of between a few days to a year
or more and the sufferer is usually symptom free between attacks.
There is sometimes a pattern, they may be menstrual related
or so-called 'weekend migraine' or food, alcohol, stress or
even hunger may trigger them.
In order to start to take charge of the headaches the patient
needs to find out what triggers their attack. The aim is to
find best possible treatment and manage the headache or migraine
with as little disruption to daily life as possible. Treatment
can be for the acute stage or preventative but the idea is
to resume normal activities as soon as possible. There are
many ways in which migraines can be helped. These include
medication, lying down and resting, fighting the headache,
keeping busy, sleeping to try to ease the pain. Most sufferers
do take medication for headache but very few want to bother
their GP and say that it is 'only a migraine'. They believe
that there is no effective treatment available. Treatment
with drugs may relieve the symptoms of pain and nausea. Certain
foodstuffs and activities can trigger headaches and a change
in life-style avoiding these triggers may reduce the number
of attacks. Treatment with Manual
Lymph Drainage improves the blood flow and reduces some
of the effects of increased pressure due to circulatory problems.
Connective Tissue Manipulation
releases the tension around the blood vessels and helps to
reduce not only the severity of the attack but also the frequency
at which they occur. The effects of Connective Tissue Manipulation
are cumulative. Once the tension has been reduced by treatment
that reduction is maintained. The degree to which it is maintained
is conditional upon the stress put into the system by the
patient's lifestyle. By using a combination of reducing the
tension, increasing the blood flow and improving the lymph
drainage the altered circulation to the brain, which occurs
during a migraine headache, can be returned too normal. See