Migraine is more than 'just a headache'

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Migraine is more than 'just a headache'

Post by Ketchup »

'New drug works when others fail, researchers say'
Erenumab is a monthly injection that might soon be offered to patients on the NHS if the cost can be justified.
Migraine is very common - it affects one in seven British people - and can be hard to stop.
The severe throbbing pain can last for hours or days on end, making it difficult to work, rest and sleep.
Some people get nauseous and sick with it. Others also get an aura - accompanying visual symptoms, such as seeing colourful shapes or experiencing tunnel vision or blind spots.

Rachel Walls, 37, from the West Midlands, has had migraines since she was 17. For the past two decades she has tried lots of different preventive medications and alternative therapies with no success.
"I get a migraine with aura so it affects my eyesight too," she says. "I see cells floating across my vision and I find smells and strong light really difficult to deal with.
"The pain is horrible. It's like having your skull crushed. You can't do anything else - just lie in a dark room and wait for it to go, and it can last for days."
She relies on strong painkillers during these attacks, which she says is unpleasant.

Every now and then we are hit with sensational news such as the one in the headline above, where researchers claim to have hit upon a 'wonder drug' - in this case Erenumab® - still in testing phase, purported to be 'a new migraine medication - one of the first bespoke drugs for decades - which appears to work well even when others have failed'.

Erenumab® is a monthly injection that might soon be offered to patients on the NHS if the cost can be justified.

However, as the report itself states - 'Finally, a medication that is designed for migraine' - and yet, up until now, no-one has really been able to pinpoint the cause of the migraine that so many people seem to suffer from. This new drug is apparently an antibody designed to block a receptor thought to be responsible for transmitting to the brain the pain signals associated with migraine. That's not getting at the cause of the migraine ... which may well differ between individuals anyway. Blocking out the pain is not treating the cause!

Like Rachel Walls, whose symptoms are detailed above, I too have experienced similar migraine with aura episodes on and off over many years. These episodes can last for anything from an hour up to a week, depending on the severity.
Just recently, after a long period free from any migraine episodes, I was suddenly hit with the worst bout that I had ever experienced before in my life that I could remember. These episodes were occurring daily and constantly over a number of days. The headaches were totally unbearable and did not abate at night time, and left me unable to do ANY of the normal everyday things; my vision was badly affected because of what I call my 'jigsaw puzzle eye' - the constant moving and expanding zigzag lines and tunnel vision, which meant I could not read, as the words would be blanked out in places on page or screen (tv/computer/phone etc), could not drive, could neither text nor speak with anyone on the phone - because as well as the sight disruption - all my senses were exaggerated to the highest peaks; taste - I could taste, ultra-strongly every single ingredient that went to make up a slice of bread, even water was unpalatable to me, as I could actually decipher various 'items' in a tiny sip of water from the tap (chlorine, perhaps? - and whatever else may be picked up along its journey to the tap); if there was a speck of pepper, say, or a coffee bean or even a dust particle, over in the far corner of a room, I could detect it by smell - and so strongly that it would be nauseating; all sounds were hugely exaggerated, even the birds tweeting turned into a horrendous din! A whisper would be a screeching shout, traffic was a roar everywhere, and I could not cope with even just simple chit-chat conversation. Top top all that, I was also getting really strong electric static shocks with the slightest touch on certain things - including from people! (e.g. transferring from their fingertips when handing me back my change in shops, etc).
Couldn't eat, couldn't sleep - constant horrendous stabbing headache was not eased with paracetamol (even though I already take regularly the strongest painkiller there is for my other ailments - they had no affect on these headaches). I was also experiencing vertigo at this time, with light-headedness and dizzy spells even while lying down and not moving.
Because my sense of smell was so exaggerated, I had noticed too that whenever I walked into the kitchen, a particular smell hit me with such force that it actually felt like a blow to the head ... it was a smell that I couldn't quite decipher, sort of chemically ... I couldn't locate where it was originating from.
Then ... on one of the worst days ever, when I actually found myself in tears with the awful pain, I was in the kitchen. At the far end of the room was a glass bowl with some apples and oranges in it. I noticed that one of the oranges right down the bottom of the bowl was covered in a greeny-bluey mould - Penicillium mould!

Penicillium species: the mould that saved millions of lives

Penicillium is a group (Genus) of moulds found everywhere world-wide. It is the mould that saved millions of lives by producing the first ever known modern antibiotic, the penicillin. The discovery of penicillin from the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum (then known as Penicillium notatum) by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928, perfected the treatment of bacterial infections.

Penicillium causes food spoilage, colonizes leather objects and is an indicator organism for dampness indoors. Some species are known to produce toxic compounds (mycotoxins). The spores can trigger allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to mould. Therefore, the health of occupants may be adversely affected in an environment that has an amplification of Penicillium.
I have a known extreme allergy to Penicillin! - as had my mother before me.

I had obviously been breathing in these penicillium spores all the time of the headaches and stuff. As soon as the source was [swiftly!] got rid of, the migraines and all that went with them - disappeared - completely. So there you go... this particular 'wonder drug', had I been availing of it, would not have gotten rid of what I had been suffering from - 'dulling the receptors to my brain which told me I felt pain' would not have addressed the problem, and had I not discovered the source (the actual originating cause), it could well have escalated into something far worse - as all the reports mention some very serious possible effects to organs (liver/kidneys) from the mycotoxins.

Some related links:-

Hidden Risks: Penicillium Mold In The Indoor Environment
Penicillium - Mold & Bacteria Consulting Laboratories
Penicillium Species As Indoor Air Contaminants
~ Today is the Tomorrow you worried about Yesterday ~
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Re: Migraine is more than 'just a headache'

Post by chaggle »

Interesting post.

I had one only migraine and I hope I never have another. It was a very long time ago - I would have been 11 or maybe 12.

It came on with squiggly lines in my vision, lasted about 5 hours of searing pain and nausea.

I reckon I got off lightly.

It seems this new drug is masking a symptom rather than addressing a cause which is never ideal, although better than nothing if, unlike in your case, the cause simply cant be found.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con
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Re: Migraine is more than 'just a headache'

Post by Tony.Williams »

I've been fortunate enough to have missed that experience, in fact I very rarely get ordinary headaches (except after over-imbibing, which I try to avoid these days). I recall reading recently that there are several different causes of migraines, with different effects, and if so it would seem unlikely that any one medicine would deal with all of the causes.
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