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HeadWay, Issue #129 -- In Between Headaches
April 21, 2015

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In this issue:

In Between Headaches

The "other" stories

Say what?!  Connectivity

In Between Headaches

You might tell someone that you get headaches, or that you have migraine, or migraine disease, but they still get the same picture in their heads. The occasional pain in the head.

Well, first of all, migraine, and even most headache disorders, are much more than that. Migraine may involve pain in other parts of the body, nausea, paralysis, and much more.

But the truth is that migraine is not just about the attack itself.

Yet another study, published last month, confirmed this. In summary, migraineurs (in this case migraine without aura) were scanned between attacks, and researchers discovered that their brains were actually different. There seemed to be increased connectivity in areas related to stimuli, particularly visual and auditory.

People with migraine do tend to be more sensitive to light and sound during attacks (photophobia and phonophobia), but they can also be more sensitive between attacks. They may have a steady headache even when migraine is not flaring up. There may even be visual problems.

There are four common problems during the "in-between-attacks" times:
  1. The effect of the attacks themselves: You may be concerned about when the next attack will happen, you may hesitate to make plans because you have frequent attacks, you're suffering fall-out from the last event you missed due to an attack, etc.
  2. The "in-between" (interictal) symptoms: sensitivity to light, other headaches, over-sensitivity to stimulation.
  3. Comorbid disorders: depression, IBS, cardiovascular disease, epilepsy - these are all things that may not be caused by migraine, but they seem to be related because they are more of a risk in migraine patients.
  4. Effects of migraine treatment: This could involve side effects of preventative medication, or even the restrictions of a diet or financial problems due to the high cost of treatment.
Getting good treatment for migraine may help minimize these issues, particularly #1. But even with good treatment, sometimes pretty significant problems can remain, even in-between attacks.

Migraine is a disease that impacts all of life. Most migraineurs know this intuitively, even if they haven't really thought about it. But sometimes family and friends, and even doctors, can miss how important this is.

This issue of HeadWay is not necessarily intended to give a solution. Instead, we need to stop and think about how migraine impacts life - especially when we're not in the middle of an attack. If we can understand this better ourselves, and explain it better to those who are close to us, it may help us find a solution more permanent and useful than "take two aspirin and call me in the morning".

More about the recent study here: Light and Sound Sensitivity in Migraine Explained?

The "other" stories

Don't forget that a community continues to develop and Facebook and Twitter with the goal of fighting migraine. You'll see frequent posts, not only from Headache and Migraine News, but also from other sources - clinical trials that are recruiting volunteers, recalls of medication, tips, news, and stories from other sufferers.

Here are a few examples of the "other" stories that you might have missed so far this year in our social media community:To get in on the conversation, it's "follow" on Twitter and "like" on Facebook! :)

Say what?!  Connectivity

When researchers in the study mentioned above wanted to investigate the migraine brain, they checked out "connectivity" in the brain.

In neurology, connectivity is probably something similar to what you might think. It measures how two things are connected. Imagine if your brain was like a city. You might measure how things are connected by the number of roads, or how wide the highway was. Or, you might actually count the vehicles going from one place to another during a given time.

Of course, connectivity in the brain is much more complex, and there are many ways to measure it. But for our purposes, the most important thing to remember is that it refers to how much information is flowing or may be able to flow. Being "better connected" can be good or bad - it can be like a good business networker, or like trying to pour a glass of water from a firehose.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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