June marks Migraine Awareness Month
June 11, 2012 ·
Migraines are a problem that many Americans suffer from regularly. Why some people get migraines and others don’t is still a mystery, but the debilitating pain for those who do get them is well known.
It’s estimated that more than 40 million
Americans suffer from chronic headaches or migraines. More than 11 million
people suffer moderate to severe disability from them. Dr. Paul Ferguson is a neurologist with the Marshall University
Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. He
said every patient has a different description of their pain.
“Some folks will describe them as deep
achy sensation type headaches; others say pulsetile like they can feel there
heart beating in their head and many folks will get a pain that goes behind
their eyes,” Ferguson said.
Also according to migraine.com women
suffer from migraines more than men and
they more often occur between the
ages of 35-55. Ferguson said migraines can be caused by different
circumstances. The most common is a genetic
predisposition, that is inherited.
And he noted diet can cause the onset of a severe migraine.
“There are very common dietary triggers
for folks: highly processed meats, hot dogs and lunch meats, those types of
things tend to provoke migraines in many people. Cheeses and some wine in other
people will provoke migraines,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said that there are different
ways of dealing with migraines, but he cautions against the repeated use of
over the counter medicines such as Motrin and Tylenol because after repeated
use these medications can cause
headaches themselves. Ferguson said he even uses Botox in some cases for those
suffering from chronic migraines which resist many medicines and can occur
upwards of 15-20 days a month.
“These headaches can be treated
effectively with botulinum toxin which is an injection that many may be
familiar with in the treatment of cosmetic wrinkles. A small percent of the
population that has these recurrent headaches that have been resistant to
multiple different medications may find some benefit to seeing a provider that
can possibly offer this as an opportunity,” Ferguson said.
June is migraine awareness month and
Ferguson noted that it’s important
for those that are having recurrent headaches to see a physician who can determine
a treatment plan to limit the number
and severity of migraines.
“They really need to make an effort to
get in to see a provider because there are a lot of things we can do to
relieve their symptoms or at least reduce them> When patients come in with
headaches occurring more than 3-4 times a month especially if the headaches are
functionally limiting, often times we’ll consider putting them on prophylactic
medication. These are our preventative therapies,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the best way to treat
migraines is to prevent them from happening in the first place.