The previous 3 articles discussed the misconception of the cause of migraines. In the initial article we had shown recent literature, which revealed migraines to not be a vascular disorder. Studies showed those suffering from migraines did not have significant dilatation of the blood vessels in the brain compared to those without a migraine. This ruled out the old theory that migraine is not a vascular headache as previously thought. 1,2.
The second article, physiologically revealed the cause of why a migraine attack occurs. Migraine occurs due to a dysfunction in the upper three cervical spine of the neck. Within the dysfunctional cervical segment lies the brainstem, which is sensitised and heightened in those with this problem. The Trigemino-cervical nucleus being a part of the brainstem filters sensory input into the brain such as input from the head, blood vessel dilatation and constriction, serotonin fluctuations of the body responsible for the body’s response to hormonal changes, food and stress. Hence, any of the above sensory input that is filtered through the Trigemino-cervical nucleus is now heightened, which the body perceives it as a threat and initiates a painful defence mechanism to the body in the form of headaches and migraines. 3,4.
The third article explained why the most common migraine medication called Triptans, is effective at relieving migraines. Health professionals currently use Triptans on the basis of the old theory that migraine occurs due to dilatation of the blood vessels in the brain. Since this old theory was disproven, and although Triptans do in fact vasoconstrict blood vessels, Triptans is also a powerful medication at increasing the serotonin absorption in the body. By increasing the serotonin absorption, this desensitises the already affected brainstem, thus becoming less sensitive to normal sensory stimulus of the body, and thus minimising the chances of a headache and migraine attack. 5,6.
Ultimately then, greater attention to the neck has shown to be an important factor at treating the cause of migraines. The current use of medications such as Triptans does not treat the cause of this problem, yet millions world wide continue to take this medication. A dedicated headache and migraine center called the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic has undergone studies and research with the internationally renowned Watson Headache Institute of Australia in studying the affects of the cervical spine and the sensitised brainstem. This new research and treatment method has been found to be effective in treatment all forms of migraines 90-95% of the time by treating the cervical spine without invasive treatment or the need of medication. The future for headache and migraine treatment is no longer invasive treatment, nor medication, however precise treatment to desensitise the brainstem in the upper three cervical spine.
1. Goadsby, P,J, (2009) The vascular theory of Migraine. A great story wrecked by the facts. Brain, 132 (1), pp 6-7.
2. Thomsen, l. L., Iversen, H.K., & Olesen, J. (1995). Cerebral blood flow velocities are reduced during attacks of unilateral migraine without aura. Cephalaglia, 15(2), 109-116.
3. (Goadsby, P,J, (2009) The vascular theory of Migraine. A great story wrecked by the facts. Brain, 132 (1), pp 6-7.
4. Thomsen, l. L., Iversen, H.K., & Olesen, J. (1995). Cerebral blood flow velocities are reduced during attacks of unilateral migraine without aura. Cephalaglia, 15(2), 109-116.
5. Mannix and Files (2005) The use of triptans in the management of menstrual migraine. CNS Drugs 19 (11), pp 951-972.
6. Goadsby PJ, Bartsch T Anatomy and physiology of pain referral patterns in primary and cervicogenic headache disorders. Headache Currents 2005;10:42-48.