WHAT IS CHRONIC MIGRAINE?
Migraine is the most common brain disorder. Headache which occurs at least 15 days while having migrainous headaches for at least 8 days in a month and lasts for 3 months is characterised as chronic migraine. Chronic migraines are less frequent in the beginning but later they become more frequent.
Chronic migraine affects approximately 2% of the world’s population. It leads to significant impairment of quality of life and is even more debilitating than episodic migraine. In addition, chronic migraine poses enormous costs to society. In the United States, the direct and indirect costs of migraine are estimated at more than $20 billion annually, and a significant portion of these costs are due to chronic migraine
Suffering from chronic migraine can have a significant impact on your daily life. Chronic migraine headaches have a tremendous impact on physical, social, and professional life. It can also impact your relationships. Many chronic migraine sufferers report a lower quality of life and worse health than those with episodic migraine.
Finding the right treatment can be difficult, and you may have spent years trying to find ways to make migraines more manageable.
If you are suffering from chronic migraine, visit Specialty Care Clinics for better treatment.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF CHRONIC MIGRAINE?
The cause of chronic migraine is not fully understood.
For many people, chronic migraines develop gradually, with migraine attacks becoming more frequent over time. Each year, about 2.5 out of 100 people with episodic migraines develop chronic migraines. In some people (about 2 in 10), chronic migraine goes into remission within 2 years of becoming chronic.
Chronic migraine patterns vary depending on individual circumstances. Some people return to temporary migraines, some feel they stay the same, and others get worse.
There are various medical conditions that may increase the possibility of having migraines. These include:
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
- Sleep Apnoea
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC MIGRAINE?
Chronic and episodic migraines have the same symptoms, the difference is frequency. Chronic migraines are more frequent than episodic migraines. The symptoms occur at least 15 days each month for at least 3 consecutive months. Chronic migraine symptoms include:
- Moderate to severe headache, which gets worse with physical exercise or body movement
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
- Pain in one or both sides of head, mainly affecting one side
- Throbbing pain
HOW IS CHRONIC MIGRAINE DIAGNOSED?
Your doctor will ask for details of your medical history for diagnosis, the doctor may ask:
- Patterns of migraine pain, including when and how a migraine starts. Whether they are temporary or continuous, migraine duration, if there are triggers or factors that make the migraine worse.
- Location, sensation, and severity of pain.
- Other symptoms associated with pain such as aura, lack of energy, stiff neck, dizziness, visual or sensory disturbances, nausea/vomiting.
- Current and previously attempted treatments, including medications, dosages, results, side effects, and use of alternative or complementary therapies.
- Other health problems.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR CHRONIC MIGRAINES?
Medications: If you suffer from chronic migraines, your doctor will likely recommend taking prescription medications. Depending on your condition, you may be given medication to take when a migraine headache starts, or medication to take daily to prevent or reduce the severity of migraine attacks.
Triptan drugs, such as almotriptan and eletriptan, are acute migraine drugs taken early in a migraine attack to reduce its severity. Antidepressants and antiseizure drugs may also be prescribed to reduce migraine activity.
Changes in lifestyle:
- If you are overweight, lose weight.
- Start with a doctor-approved exercise plan.
- Manage stress. Learn methods for coping with stress, including meditation, yoga, relaxation training, and mindful breathing.
- Create a regular schedule for meal and snack times. Do not skip meals.
- Initiate treatment for existing mood disorders (including depression and anxiety) or sleep disorders.
Preventive Treatments: Preventive treatment aims to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. These are often required for chronic migraines.
There are various preventive treatments. The treatments offered depend on many factors, including migraine patterns, other health conditions, preferences, and possible side effects.
Mainly four classes of medications that a doctor can prescribe as preventive treatment. These are beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, antiepileptic drugs, blood pressure pills candesartan.
Oral prophylaxis is usually started at a low dose and increased gradually. Some people may need to take lower doses longer and increase the dose slowly if side effects occur.