What This Means If You Have A Chronic Illness That Affects The Brain
People with chronic conditions that affect the brain report significant worsening of their condition in both severity and frequency if they contract COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2 launches a robust cytokine inflammatory response within the body, worsening conditions that are affected by inflammation, such as migraine, arthritis, and fibromyalgia, says Dr. Kuruvilla. The symptoms in these conditions worsen due to this inflammatory storm, making pain difficult to treat. The use of nerve pain medications can be helpful in these cases, whether they are caused or worsened by COVID-19, she says.
Other specifics on the impact of COVID-19 on various underlying chronic conditions:
- Depression: People report feeling more down and helpless after becoming sick.
- Multiple sclerosis: Recovery from COVID-19 for those with this autoimmune disease has been slower, says Dr. Kuruvilla.
- Parkinsons disease: Its very common for PD symptoms to worsen when people develop another disease. For instance, people with Parkinsons who develop COVID-19 may find it more difficult than normal to walk.
Neurological symptoms of varying types can occur with any severity of COVID-19, says Dr. Thomas. I personally know four people who suffered altered sense of smell and taste as the only manifestations, he says. On the other hand, we see COVID-related stroke more in people who are quite sick.
What Happens In Your Brain During A Migraine
Scientists used to think migraines were caused by blood vessels on the surface of your brain dilating and constricting, leading to the pulse of pain people often experienced. They saw migraines as being primarily a vascular disorder. Thats changed. We now know that these changes are the end result of a more complex nerve pathway in the brain.
Today, researchers believe migraines are a neurological disorder thats largely genetically based. They still dont understand everything that happens during a migraine, such as why certain symptoms occurbut they are closer to untangling the mystery of the migraine.
Heres what researchers believe happens inside your brain to cause the symptoms you are experiencing.
The Migraine Spreadsthen Stops
The initial migraine pain that starts with the activation of the neurons in the brainstem changes after about 1 to 2 hours. The migraine then moves to a second stage, where the central nervous system becomes hypersensitive and involved.
If you can take medication before the second stage of the occurs, you are more likely to be able to stop the pain. Triptan medication can shut down the initial pain by narrowing the blood vessels and blocking pain transmission.
But if the pain cycle continues to the central nervous system, medication becomes less effective. If untreated, migraine can last up to 72 hours, before the nervous system response finally quiets and your brain returns to its normal, pre-activation state.
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A Closer Look At Pain
Pain is the brains way of telling you that things are bad for you. For example, a hot stove or a slammed door can damage your skin and muscle. If you, say, burn your finger or slam a door on it, information about the damage is sent to your brain.
When it arrives there you will, unfortunately, experience it as pain.
As most of us know, pain feels terrible, but it is actually very useful. It is the brains way of convincing you not to do things that can hurt you.
Come on, mate, you whisper, rubbing your temples, get to the headaches already.
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Plant Based Medicines To Help Relieve Migraines Fastand Prevent Them Too
When I look back now, I cant believe I actually Googled brain surgery.
But after suffering my 17th migraine of 2018 , I couldnt take it anymore.
I desperately needed relief. By any means necessary. Drill a hole in my skull? Sure, how soon can I get an appointment? Anyone who suffers from migraines can probably relate.
I just couldnt take the throbbing, pulsing pain another day!
My migraine attacks were not only affecting me physically and emotionally. They were also taking their toll on my bank account. I had already used up all my sick days because of the attacks.
Fortunately, about 6 months ago, my doctor told me about something he uses called Migraine Care. Its the only thing thats ever significantly relieved my pain. In fact, I havent had an attack in over 4 monthsthe longest Ive gone without onebecause it works. Used regularly, it has changed my quality of life.
Ive tried both prescription and over-the-counters medications, all of them. Sometimes they would help, but most of the time, they work no better than drawing the curtains, turning out the lights, pulling the covers over your head and riding out the attack in bed.
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Theories About Migraine Pain
Older theories about migraines suggested that symptoms were possibly due to fluctuations in blood flow to the brain. Now many headache researchers realize that changes in blood flow and blood vessels don’t initiate the pain, but may contribute to it.
Current thinking regarding migraine pain has moved more toward the source of the problem, as improved technology and research have paved the way for a better understanding. Today, it is widely understood that chemical compounds and hormones, such as serotonin and estrogen, often play a role in pain sensitivity for migraine sufferers.
One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells. These trigger chemicals, such as serotonin, to narrow blood vessels. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. It can cause narrowing of blood vessels throughout the body.
When serotonin or estrogen levels change, the result for some is a migraine. Serotonin levels may affect both sexes, while fluctuating estrogen levels affect women only.
For women, estrogen levels naturally vary over the life cycle, with increases during fertile years and decreases afterwards. Women of childbearing age also experience monthly changes in estrogen levels. Migraines in women are often associated with these fluctuating hormone levels and may explain why women are more likely to have migraines than men.
Whats A Migraine Journal
- Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
- The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
- What are your symptoms? Be specific.
- Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
- Note the weather.
- Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
- Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
- Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
- List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
- How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
- Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?
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Other Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour
Other features of headaches have been identified as red flags, which may suggest a brain tumour. These include:
- a change in previous headache pattern
- if your headaches are associated with:
- any new muscle weakness, sensory symptoms , or visual symptoms, especially on one side of the body
- a change in memory, personality, or thinking
- seizures this does not have to be a full convulsive seizure, but could be a twitching of the hand, arm or leg, or an absence.
It is important to remember that all these symptoms can frequently occur in harmless headaches.
Chemicals Cause Additional Symptoms
Your brain also responds to the brainstem activation by releasing chemicals called neuropeptides, including serotonin, noradrenalin, prostaglandins and others. Once released, they travel to the outer layer of your brainthe meningeswhich results in inflammation and swelling of blood vessels, causing an increase in blood flow around the brain.
This is likely the cause of the throbbing, pulsing pain most people experience during migraine. While the pain may be originating from the surface of your brain, you may feel it in your eyes, temple area, neck, face or sinuses. These neurochemicals also can transmit signals to the part of the brain that controls appetite, and .
Another phenomenon that occurs as a result of this inflammation and chemical interplay is skin super-sensitivity. About 80% of migraine sufferers experience whats called cutaneous allodynia that causes things like earrings, necklaces, neckties and eyeglasses to become painful. Some people say even their hair hurts this chemical reaction is why.
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See Your Doctor As Soon As Possible If You Experience Any Of These Troubling Symptoms
We all get headaches from time to time. They can be brought on by annoying but manageable reasons such as stress, dehydration or your menstrual cycle, or they could be the result of an ongoing medical issue, such as migraines.
But how can you tell when a headache is a symptom of an even more serious or life-threatening problem? Here are some signs to look for.
It Begins To Be Such Intense Pain That I Feel Nauseous Mary 26
I tend to get them most often at the end of the day. It starts off with light pain and pressure, always in the front of my head, behind my forehead. As the pain increases, typically over the course of 30 to 45 minutes, it begins to be such intense pain that I feel nauseous. Personally, the pain comes in waves with 30 second intervals it will be intense pain for 30 seconds, then light pain for 30, and back to full intensity.
One time, I had a migraine at the end of the day in college and when I got home, the pain was coming in such intense waves that I could barely get out of bed. When I stood, the rush of standing up caused so much pain that I threw up. I got back into bed and made my boyfriend push on my forehead because, for some reason, the pressure he applied to my forehead would slightly release the pain. As I tried to fall asleep, I was crying from being in so much pain. I woke multiple times in the night, each time with fewer migraine symptoms, and then had no pain by morning.
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Why Does My Face Get Swollen When Having A Migraine
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Mother Nature To The Rescue
Its unbelievable to me that humans have put a man on the moon but we still dont know what causes migraines. Experts are now turning back to plant based medicines for pain management with amazing results. Research has shown 5specific plant extracts to be highly effective in relieving the symptoms of migraine headaches.
These 5 plants are cold pressed into pure therapeutic grade essential oils, custom blended for maximum migraine relief.
- Sweet Fennel
Migraine Cares all natural ingredients give me peace of mind when I need it most. I use it every day and no longer have to leave my desk at work to hide in my car every time a migraine strikes.
And if I have a feeling that an attack might be around the corner, using Migraine Care stops the impending doom in its tracks. This unbelievable new product has given me a new lease on life.
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What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine
There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.
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What Is A Migraine Is It Just A Bad Headache
“Headache is a general term for any type of pain in the head,” says Dr. Natbony. “Migraine, however, is more than just a headache. It is a chronic and disabling neurologic disease that affects the way the brain processes pain. We think that migraine is likely genetic, meaning that it runs in families and is inherited. Headache is only one of the many symptoms of migraine. Migraine headache usually presents with moderate to severe pain on one side of the head that is throbbing or pounding, made worse by movement and lasting more than 4 hours. The pain is accompanied by other symptoms including sensitivity to light, sound or smells, nausea, and vomiting. Some people may also see spots or flashing lights in their vision.”
Another sign of a migraine: It’s hard to go about your life. “Typically, a migraine prohibits you from routine activities you want to lie down or rest until the attack goes away and a migraine can last 4 to 72 hours, so its pretty impressive in its ability to do harm,” says Lawrence Newman, M.D., neurologist and director of the Headache Division at NYU Langone Health. Often difficult to prevent and treat, a migraine can make you miss work and other obligations.
What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine
Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:
- Visual symptoms or vision loss.
- Sensory symptoms .
Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:
- The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
- Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.
Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
- Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.
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Picturing A Migraine Attack
The brain works through many extremely complicated biochemical and electrical mechanisms, many of which are not even completely understood by science so it is no surprise that a description of what happens in the brain during a migraine attack is complicated! This article will try to make the process as clear as understandable as possible, even if you do not know a lot about cells and chemistry.
To start off, it can be helpful to use a mental picture that illustrates what is going on when migraine attacks are triggered: imagine a large troupe of gymnasts doing a dance routine to music, on a slick hardwood floor. The dancers are listening to music for their cues of when to do which dance move.
This wave of falling dancers is of course a bit silly, but the process has some similarity to the kind of chain reaction that takes place in the brain when a migraine attack is triggered, as we will see when we now dive into the actual biology of a migraine attack.
How To Really Tell Whether You Have A Migraine
When your head starts to throb and you feel pressure building in your forehead and nose, is it just sinus pain? Well, it could be but don’t discount the idea that you might have a migraine coming on. Over 30% of women experience migraine headaches, but fewer than 5% of people who suffer from these head-pounders ever receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment from a healthcare provider, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
“There is a general lack of education regarding headaches and migraines in the medical community,” says neurologist Lauren Natbony, MD, assistant clinical professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a specialist in headache medicine. “Doctors may not know the questions to ask to make an accurate diagnosis, or they may mistake migraine for another condition. In studies, patients are commonly diagnosed with sinusitis when migraine is the true offender. And migraine is only one of many headache disorders there are actually more than 200 different types of headaches!” Identifying and seeking care for migraines can help you find relief from this disabling pain.
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