In this podcast series I aim to explore the different approaches to migraine treatment. This includes traditional medical treatments to alternative therapies. I'll be interviewing experts from different disciplines, to shed more light on this stigmatized and poorly understood disorder, and how to better treat it.
Migraine is a disabling and complex disorder affecting a large percentage of the population. It is assumed that 1 out of every 7 Americans suffers from migraines annually, while women are three times more prone to have migraines compared to men. This occurs particularly after puberty and before menopause. Although migraine is not considered a fatal disease it is a leading cause of disability. It is estimated as the sixth most disabling disease worldwide, leading to high societal costs resulting from both direct medical costs, and indirect work loss, and reduced work productivity.
Although people might differ in their experience of migraine and associated symptoms, migraine attacks are rated from mild to severe, they last from 4 to 72 hours and can occur several times a month. Migraines are accompanied by other symptoms including sensitivity to light and sound (and sometimes smell), nausea/vomiting or both, and can be exacerbated by physical activity. The exact cause for migraine is still not known, but some confirmed migraine triggers include: fluctuation in sex hormones, stress, lack of sleep, certain types of food, and migraine medication overuse. These triggers don't affect people with migraine in the same way.
Despite the currently available drugs for migraine treatment, many people suffering from migraine are not migraine free, or have poorly controlled migraines.
Another aspect of migraine is the reduction in quality of life caused by the stress of anticipating a future migraine attack, increased disability, and social isolation. These psychological aspects cause many people with migraine to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Therefore the complex nature of migraines and its associated problems, warrants a multidisciplinary treatment approach involving medication, lifestyle changes (such as nutrition and sleep habits), stress reduction, and emotional coping strategies among others.
I hope you find these podcasts informative and helpful.