Can’t write more — computer screen too bright to look at.
Can’t write more — computer screen too bright to look at.
Headache specialist Christina Peterson‘s comments on the news that a patient’s skin sensitivity may help predict Botox’s effectiveness for migraine explains the exciting research behind the story. Dr. Peterson attended the lecture on the topic at the International Headache Society’s annual conference. She wrote:
This was far and away the coolest lecture, although it was also given at the American Headache Society Meeting. Dr. Rami Burstein, who is a basic science researcher at Harvard, has done some ground-breaking research.
It has been conventional wisdom that there are no pain receptors within bone; the only pain receptors are on the periosteum–the lining on the bone. Dr. Burstein took it into his head to wonder if this were actually true of the skull, and set out to trace the pain pathways in rats. He showed amazing slides of fluorescent lime green nerve fibers shooting right through holes in the bone of the skull (so, yes, your skull can hurt), and terminating at the hair follicle.
So–when people say they have headaches that feel as if their hair hurts, it can be literally true. These nerve fibers were most dense at the sutures in the skull, where the bony plates of the skull come together. And now we know why craniosacral therapy works!
Dr. Burstein has also determined that there are three major types of headache pain:
- Explosive pain (like you feel as if your brain is too big and will explode out of your head)
- Implosive pain (as if your head will cave in the pressure is so great)
- Orbital/eye pain (your eye hurts, or it hurts behind your eye, or it hurts to move your eye)
Unfortunately, you are permitted to have more than one of these in a given headache. He has found that it is the implosive type of pain that is most likely to respond to Botox. [all emphasis mine]
Dr. Peterson’s latest e-mail newsletter, which arrived in my inbox today, explains more about the research. If you aren’t subscribed to the newsletter, you’re missing out on an excellent, up-to-date resource. Take a look at previous newsletters and sign up for future issues.
I often worry that even if my migraines were under control, I still
wouldn’t accomplish anything. That the problem isn’t my illness, but
that I’ve become lazy. The last three days have shown me just how much more motivated I am when I don’t have a migraine and my headache is mild.
I’ve taken care of many tasks that hang over me but I usually don’t have the energy for. Even now, with the house picked up and all my phone calls made, I’m looking for more to do.
The voice in my head is saying, “You need to rest. You feel great now, but will crash — hard — if you keep pushing.” I’m proud of that voice. It took so long for it have a permanent spot in my head that I truly appreciate the reminder. I’d listen to it if I didn’t know that a migraine could make my head explode and steal my energy and mind at any moment.
What a relief to know that migraine and chronic daily headache haven’t permanently snatched a integral part of my personality. Maybe they’ve made me appreciate it even more and have (almost) taught me to back off before I overdo it. I’m not ready to give it the Pollyanna treatment, but maybe, just maybe, there are some hidden blessings in this illness.
I’m going to try to listen to the wise voice in my head now. I need to eat a sweet and then will snuggle up with Harry Potter. I encourage you to relax and enjoy your weekend too. Taking care of yourself can be magical.
Trisha, an RN with chronic migraine and occipital neuralgia, is seeking patient input for an article for she is writing for a nursing journal. Her focus is patients’ perspectives on chronic pain and what their health care experiences have been. She says,
The reason I want to write this article is because after almost two
years on the other side of the fence, so to speak, it’s become
glaringly obvious that there is a need for the healthcare community to
hear first-hand how it feels to be treated with discrimination simply
because you have a disability that isn’t visible to the naked eye.
Being refused treatment in the ER, being accused of drug-seeking
behavior, and not having access to adequate pain relief complicates the
issues at hand and may, in fact, make the pain and suffering we face
worse than it already is. Chronic pain sufferers deserve just as much
respect and dignity in treatment situations as any other person with a
Trisha has created a questionnaire for patients who would like to contribute. She asks many questions, but many only require short answers. More importantly, they are questions that anyone with chronic illness should think about. Your responses will help you better understand your headache history and the impact of illness on your life. Think of it as self-administered therapy.
Chronic Pain Questionnaire
I have a questionnaire I’d like to get as many people to fill out **realistically and kindly** as possible in order to base the article on as wide a reference base as I can reach and get responses from. If you’re interested, please fill this out and email it back to me by September 1.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire. Please note that doing so gives me permission to use this information, in context, in an article or articles having to do with chronic pain and associated issues. If you prefer not to answer a question or two, please put N/A in that spot so I know you didn’t overlook it. I appreciate your input.
Thanks again. I appreciate your time and effort. –Trisha
Photo by Eric
Without much time between yoga and the massage I had scheduled yesterday, I went to Whole Foods for Kerrie-safe tuna salad. Instead of the usual kind that mom makes (which has none of my triggers), they had a fancy cranberry one with tuna, canola oil mayo, cranberries and red onion.
Halfway through, a large almond sliver reared its ugly head. Hoping it was an anomaly, a look through the remaining salad revealed tiny bits of almond throughout. That’s when I realized that Whole Foods always has two tuna salads — the kind that mom makes and a delicious-sounding-but-forbidden cranberry and almond one.
Whether or not the unknown amount of almond I had eaten would have triggered a migraine, I couldn’t risk it. Thankfully I live in Seattle and could get iced tea at the coffeehouse next door to the spa. Dressed in a robe and slippers in the serene environment, I sure felt strange with caffeinated tea in my hand.
I didn’t get a migraine. I also didn’t exactly relax during the massage. Instead I enjoyed figuring out which muscles the massage therapist was working on and why. And contemplated a career as a massage therapist for people with headache disorders.
Photo by Duane Romanell
Wondering how migraine and tension-type headache differ? Or what the common migraine treatments are? The American Council for Headache Education (aka ACHE) has a new website that will answer these questions and more.
Particularly good stuff:
All headache organization and educational sites have similar information. How it’s presented is the difference. ACHE’s articles are brief, but don’t skimp on details. The vast amount of information is narrowed to key topics, so you’re not overwhelmed. Articles aren’t bogged down with confusing jargon and are well-written.
I was shocked that ACHE links to Wikipedia’s migraine page. Wikipedia is a wonderful pop culture and travel reference, but am I’m wary of it for serious topics. The migraine page used to be full of errors and misleading information. At 1:03 pm PST on July 22, the page is quite good. Just know it is ever-changing and that being wrong doesn’t preclude someone from editing it.
ACHE’s site is primarily focused on migraine, which is the case
with a lot of headache sites (including mine). Perhaps it’s because
migraine is so prevalent and underdiagnosed. The articles are helpful even if you aren’t a migraineur. You might find — like I did — that your headaches that aren’t migraines actually are.