What is a Migraine and Why are They so Hard to Pin Down?

The human brain is a mysterious thing. Entire fields of medicine, like neurology and psychology, are dedicated to trying to figure it out. Why do we feel the way we feel? Why do some people see and hear things others don’t? Why do some of us pick up languages easier than others? There are a million questions we haven’t answered. One question, though – where do migraines come from? – seems like it should have a fairly simple answer, right? Well, if it does, we haven’t figured it out yet. It’s why when you look up migraine symptoms and triggers, the lists are long and diverse. In most syndromes, physical or mental, the longer the list of symptoms, the less we know about it.

What We Do Know About Migraines:

The short answer here is that we have some ideas, but we don’t have any hard and fast answers. Doctors use MRI’s, CT scans and EEG’s to test people with chronic migraines. The issue is, those tests don’t tell a doctor almost anything except what isn’t causing the migraine. They just rule out other causes like tumors, encephalitis, or seizure disorders.

One interesting implication MRI studies have shown, though, has to do with brain lesions. Everyone gets little lesions in their white matter as they age, but people with migraines tend to have more lesions than people without migraines. It seems that people with auras before their migraines tend to have even more of these lesions than people with migraines without auras. Results from another MRI study on migraines suggested that people with chronic migraines have irregular or more sensitive brain responses to normal stimuli.

Some of us have even had a spinal tap or two because no one could figure out what was going on with our heads. And anyone who has had a spinal tap knows what an unpleasant experience that is. However, one thing researchers have noticed in these spinal taps is a correlation between higher sodium levels in spinal fluid and occurrence of migraine headaches.

Okay, Now We’re Just Guessing

Another one of medicine’s ideas has to do with blood vessels in the brain and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin irregularities lead to the blood vessels in the brain either constricting or dilating. Dilation of the brain’s blood vessels can cause a lot of pain, so this theory makes some sense considering that most people with migraines report pain on the sides or front of their face, behind their eyes, and in other areas of the head with a lot of nerves and blood vessels.

Other theories in their infancy include hereditary correlations of who suffers from migraines, and a spread of electrical activity in the brain observed in some people with migraines.

So, in a total non-conclusion, the list of possible causes is about as long as the list of possible symptoms. Migraines rank up there with Schizophrenia and insomnia as brain-related conditions the medical community is having a really hard time figuring out.

At the Blatman Health and Wellness Center we have been helping people make their migraines go away for more than 25 years. We have learned that these headaches do not come from your head. Have you ever had a headache with loose and soft and non-tender neck, shoulder, and jaw muscles? Exactly, it doesn’t happen. And don’t you have less severe headaches when these muscles are softer and less tender? Instead of using Botox to make the muscles softer by poisoning your system, schedule to explore muscle softening by nutrition, mind body medicine, environmental detoxification, herbal medicine, intravenous nutrition, body work at home, and fascia repair of old injuries.

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