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Do Migraines Cause Brain Damage

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Headaches Caused By A Brain Tumor?

My son Sharat suffered a severe traumatic brain injury 23 years ago leaving him with Aphasia and right sided weakness from his vision,hearing to his limbs. The lockdown in June was a great challenge for him as his caregivers stopped coming, no gym workouts and no outings for a coffee.

Being his mother and primary carer I feared that this was a hotbed for depression. I scoured the net and chanced upon FlintRehab. As there was a trial period it was safe for us to risk getting it across to Auckland.

His OT checked it out and felt that it was ideal. I can honestly second this.

He enjoys working on it and now after three months can do it on his own. His left hand helps his right hand. The FitMi video explains and shows him what to do, it gives him marks and applauds him too!!

He has to use both sides of his brain. The caregivers are OT students who returned enjoy working on it with him.

In three months there motivation built up in him with a drive to use his right hand. There is definitely a slight improvement in his right hand.

This encourages him as well as the caregivers to try harder.His overall mood is upbeat. He enjoys it, so much so, that it doesnt matter if his caregiver is away.

FitMi is a blessing.

Can You Prevent Brain Lesions

Scientists are still looking for ways to protect against brain lesions. They think keeping your migraines in check can help. Having frequent attacks is linked with a higher risk of lesions, so fending off migraines or treating them early on may help lower your risk. These simple steps could help:

  • Talk to your doctor. You may need to take medicine or get treatments, like Botox injections, to head off migraines.
  • Know your triggers. Bright lights, weather changes, and certain foods could set off your migraines. Once you know your triggers, you can learn to avoid them.
  • Keep a lid on stress. Make time to unwind and do things you enjoy every day.
  • Get moving. Exercise eases tension and boosts blood flow to the brain, which can help stave off headaches. Research also shows that physical activity may prevent white matter lesions.
  • Practice good sleep habits. A bad night could set off an attack. Try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time.

American Migraine Foundation: âMigraine and Brain Lesions.â

Cleveland Clinic: âBrain Lesions.â

Mayo Clinic: âBrain Lesions,â âMigraine,â âMigraine with Aura,â âMigraines: Simple steps to head off the pain,â âPatent foramen ovale.â

Neurology: âMigraine and Structural Changes in the Brain,â âPhysical Activity, Motor Function, and White Matter Hyperintensity Burden in Healthy Older Adults.â

Dana Foundation: âWhy the White Brain Matters.â

American Stroke Association: âSilent Stroke.â

Ways To Help Relieve Headaches And Migraines Naturally

If you suffer from frequent headaches, the good news is that there are tons of natural ways that you can get relief. Scroll through this list, and you can find simple and often inexpensive ways to banish headache pain.

Drink More Water Did you know that one of the most common causes of tension headaches and migraines is chronic dehydration? If you deal with recurring headaches, not drinking enough water could be at the root of your issue. On the flip side, studies show that drinking water could actually relieve dehydration headaches in as short as 30 minutes If youre not keen on downing glass after glass of water, try adding more water-rich foods into your diet, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, soups/broths, skim milk and plain yogurt

Magnesium May Help We hear a lot about the importance of calcium, but we dont always hear about what magnesium can do for us. Magnesium is involved in countless processes in the body, such as sleep, regulating nerve and muscle function, and blood sugar control As a supplement, its also been shown in multiple studies to be potentially effective at treating the frequency and severity of migraines. Some research indicates that these symptoms have been relieved by 600 mg of oral magnesium per day Magnesium oil is also a potentially effective headache reliever. The best way to use it is by applying it to the temples and neck. It can also be absorbed by rubbing it on your legs and arms

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Treatment For Headaches After Brain Injury

While each type of headache will require a different regimen, the following are some general lifestyle changes that can help you manage the pain:

  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is when your brain does most of its repair after an injury. This means staying awake can overwork the brain and delay the healing process, which will make your headaches worse.
  • Exercise daily. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins that act as your bodys natural painkillers. This means exercise can ease some of the pain from headaches.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can trigger migraines. Therefore, drinking enough water is crucial to keep migraine headaches at bay. Staying hydrated also helps your brain heal itself faster, which will help ease your headaches.
  • Avoid foods that trigger headaches. Some foods can trigger headaches, such as foods that contain artificial sweeteners or MSG. Alcohol can also make headaches worse. As a result, its best to avoid these foods and beverages until you can get your headaches under control.
  • Avoid heavy medication. Opioids and other strong medications are sometimes used to treat severe headaches, but if youve had a brain injury, you should not take those. Painkillers suppress brain function, which can be dangerous for TBI patients.

Too much medication can also cause rebound headaches, where the headaches return worse than before. Thats why doctors recommend trying other treatments before starting meds.

How Migraines Shape Your Brain

Do Migraines Cause Brain Damage?

Your brain is an organ that has “plasticity.” That means it changes and forms new pathways. It’s how you survive, grow, adapt, and work.

These brain changes can happen because of disease or pain, but they can also happen as a result of positive things, too. For example, Brennan says, the part of the brain that’s connected with a pianist’s hands will thicken as she trains and becomes more skilled.

When you have chronic migraine, however, your brain can start making pathways that encourage pain.

“Studies show a dysfunctional learning process in the brain in migraine and in other pain conditions,” Brennan says. “The brain learns to produce and perpetuate pain.” In other words, your migraine can teach your brain that pain is normal, so your brain changes to help pain happen more often.

Take heart — your brain can “unlearn” what your migraine is teaching it. But it’s not a quick fix.

“This isn’t an instant ‘be healed!’ process,” Brennan says. Finding a doctor who can treat all of your symptoms, with the right medications and procedures, along with good exercise, diet, and — most importantly — mental health care, is the key to retraining those pathways.

Recommended Reading: How To Get A Migraine

When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider

  • You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
  • You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
  • Your headache comes on suddenly.
  • You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:

  • The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
  • Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.

When Migraine Mimics Stroke

The symptoms of some types of migraine can mimic stroke, such as hemiplegic migraine where there is weakness down one side.

Migraine auras can be confused with transient ischaemic attack , where someone has stroke symptoms that pass in a short time. For instance, a migraine with only a visual aura but no headache may be mistaken for TIA.

Like a stroke, a migraine can be sudden and can lead to mild confusion. However, migraine aura symptoms tend to develop relatively slowly and then spread and intensify, while the symptoms of a TIA or stroke are sudden.

Migraine can sometimes be mistaken for a stroke caused by bleeding on the brain, called a subarachnoid haemorrhage , which is often characterised by a sudden, very severe headache. Unlike SAH, migraine headache is usually one-sided and throbbing, slow to come on and lasts for a shorter period of time. Vomiting usually starts after a migraine headache starts, but is likely to happen at the same time as headache during a SAH. Patients with a SAH also develop neck stiffness, which is uncommon during a migraine attack.

Read Also: How Common Are Visual Migraines

Should I Worry About Having A Headache

Most headaches are not dangerous. In the first few days after a concussion or head injury, a person should see a health care professional experienced in treating persons with brain injuries IF the following occurs:

  • Your headache gets worse.
  • You have nausea and/or vomiting with a headache.
  • You develop arm or leg weakness or problems speaking along with a headache.
  • You have increasing sleepiness with headache.

Posterior Circulation Territory Infarcts

What Causes Migraine Disease? 5 Factors in Migraine Neurobiology

Based on our finding of an increased prevalence of posterior circulation infarct-like lesions in migraineurs, we further focused on these lesions. Of all 60 identified subclinical brain infarcts, 39 were in the posterior circulation territory, and a majority of these were located in the cerebellum. Lesions were often multiple, and round or oval shaped, with a mean diameter of 7 mm. The majority of infratentorial infarct-like lesions had a vascular border zone location in the cerebellum. Prevalence of these border zone lesions differed between controls , cases with migraine without aura and cases with migraine with aura . Besides higher age, cardiovascular risk factors were not more prevalent in migraineurs with posterior circulation infarct-like lesions compared to those without lesions. The combination of vascular distribution, deep border zone location, shape, size and imaging characteristics on MRI makes it likely that the lesions have an ischaemic origin.

No previous study specifically reported on cerebellar lesions in migraine. But interestingly, subclinical cerebellar dysfunction has been reported in migraineurs, which raises the question whether more advanced functional tests would have identified cerebellar dysfunction in our cases.

Also Check: How To Cure Migraine Naturally

Migraines And Brain Damage

With so many myths and theories about migraines and why they occur, its really difficult to tell which of them are facts and which are just old wives tales. One of the many migraine myths scientists have busted recently is the theory that people who suffer from chronic and severe migraines are more prone to brain damage and other forms of brain deterioration. Several experts from the British Medical Journal conducted a study on migraines and brain damage or loss of cognitive function. In this extensive study, researchers and analysts took a closer look at the data on more than 6,000 women provided by the Womens Health Study. The women who participated in this study were classified based on their migraine experience and were tested and observed during follow up consultations for a period of two years. By the end of the study, the scientists and experts found no evidence of a link between migraines and cognitive function loss or damage to the brain. This new study dispels any worry caused by a study done in 2007 regarding the occurrence of tiny transient strokes during migraine attacks wherein the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain is disrupted during a migraine which causes long term damage as cells in the brain slowly die.

Contact a Headache Specialist

What Is Migraine With Aura

A migraine aura describes neurological symptoms that occur prior to a migraine attack. Symptoms of a migraine aura can include problems with:

  • Vision
  • Sensations
  • Speech
  • Motor functions

Migraine aura symptoms last just a few minutes and should not leave any lasting effects. It is common for aura symptoms to occur only on one side of the body or one side of the visual field. After migraine aura symptoms resolve, usually a migraine attack or headache will occur.

Migraine aura symptoms and signs are very similar to stroke or transient ischemic attack . If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, remember FAST.

Also Check: Are Migraines A Symptom Of Pregnancy

Whats A Migraine What Does A Migraine Feel Like

A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that its the sixth most disabling disease in the world.

How Do These Brain Lesions Affect Your Health

Headaches: Do They Really Cause Brain Tissue Damage?

If you have migraines, do you need to get regular brain scans? Experts say no. The odds that thereâs a problem is less than 1 in 1,000.

Brain lesions donât appear to cause any long-term damage. Two large studies found people with migraines didnât have any more changes to their brain function or thinking than those who donât get the headaches.

One study concluded these lesions donât affect your brain health. The scientists used scans to track lesions over 9 years. They found those who had more brain lesions scored no differently on memory, attention, or speed tests.

Recommended Reading: Tylenol Migraine Dose

What Is The Prognosis For People With Migraines

Migraines are unique to each individual. Likewise, how migraines are managed is also unique. The best outcomes are usually achieved by learning and avoiding personal migraine triggers, managing symptoms, practicing preventive methods, following the advice of your healthcare provider and reporting any significant changes as soon as they occur.

Migraines Can Alter Brain Structure Permanently

Scientists have discovered that migraines may affect the long-term structure of the brain and increase the risk of brain lesions, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark analyzed six population-based studies and 13 clinic-based studies to see whether there was a link between migraines and brain lesions, silent abnormalities or brain volume changes.

The study authors looked at MRI brain scans of patients with common migraines or migraines with aura. Migraine with aura is when a person experiences symptoms before the onset of the migraine. These scans were compared with those of people not suffering from the disorder.

The results of the study revealed that those who had migraines with aura showed a 68% increased risk of white matter brain lesions, compared with those who did not have migraines.

Patients who experienced common migraines showed a 34% increased risk of brain lesions compared with those not suffering from migraines.

Infarct-like abnormalities in the brain symptoms that indicate a disruption in blood flow to the brain increased by 44% in those who had migraines with aura compared with those who had migraines without aura.

Additionally, brain volume changes were more prevalent in both people with common migraines and migraines with aura than those without the conditions.

The study authors explain:

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Other Primary Headache Disorders

Cluster headache primarily affects men and has only one-tenth the incidence of migraine, but causes disability comparable to migraine . There are few studies on cognitive performance in cluster headache. Although patients display a reversible cognitive decline during the cluster attacks, their cognitive performance was detected as normal between the attacks .

In TTH, acute headache was associated with reversibly impaired cognitive function . In a longitudinal birth cohort study, childhood headache was related to worse performance on cognitive measures such as verbal and performance IQ, receptive language, and reading, whereas cognitive performance of adults with TTH was similar to headache-free controls or headache-free tinnitus sufferers . TTH, known as the most common headache disorder, is often misdiagnosed in patients with probable migraine, and chronic migraine, resulting in a highly varying prevalence of TTH between 5.1â78% . It is likely that majority of TTH studies are not conducted on pure TTH patients and that may be at least partially responsible for cognitive problems detected in TTH studies. Indeed, STD test was intact during headache attacks in pure TTH patients , while STDTs were significantly elevated in migraine attacks. STD differentiates the central pathology of migraine from TTH and, normal STDTs in TTH could suggest a better cognitive status in pure TTH attacks.

Understanding Migraine And Stroke

Dr. Peter Goadsby on Migraine and Brain Lesions

Stroke and migraine both happen in the brain, and sometimes the symptoms of a migraine can mimic a stroke. However, the causes of the symptoms are different. A stroke is due to damage to the blood supply inside the brain, but migraine is thought to be due to problems with the way brain cells work.

In a stroke, the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. This causes permanent damage to the brain, and can have long-lasting physical, cognitive and emotional effects.

A migraine causes pain and sensory disturbances, but the changes inside the brain are usually temporary.

The relationship between migraine and stroke is complex. The symptoms can sometimes seem similar, and they may share some underlying risk factors.

Migrainous infarction

Occasionally migraine and stroke can happen together, but there is no evidence to suggest that one causes the other. Migrainous infarction is the term given to an ischaemic stroke that happens during a migraine. This tends to happen alongside prolonged aura symptoms, but is extremely rare.

Stroke risk and migraine

If you have migraine with aura, you’re about twice as likely to have an ischaemic stroke in your lifetime, compared to those without migraine. However, the overall risk linked to migraine is still very low, and you’re far more likely to have a stroke because of other risk factors like smoking and high blood pressure.

Women and migraine

Other health conditions

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