Effective new treatments for migraine

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EITHER you or someone you know is a migraine sufferer. Up to 15 per cent of the population are estimated to be migraine sufferers and that percentage is based only on formal reports filed – we cannot calculate for sufferers who have not sought medical attention for this problem.

Migraines were once thought to be initiated exclusively by problems with blood vessels in the brain but the vascular theory of migraines is now considered secondary to brain dysfunction. We now know from advances in brain imaging that migraine is closely associated with other mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and panic attacks, PMS, epilepsy and even asthma.

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The common link in these disorders is what is called “instability of arousal” in the brain, mostly in the electrical system of the brain.

Migraine triggers are usually broken down into two categories – internal (hormonal or stress responses) and external (food, noise and so on).

Migraine management focuses on three areas: trigger avoidance, promotion of good general health and finally, treatment options. In many situations, medication is a very effective intervention, providing the patient is responsive to it. However if you remove the medication, the migraine symptoms will once again appear.

Current research shows the most successful of interventions are Biofeedback and Neurofeedback. Biofeedback includes hand temperature, muscle tension and heart rate variability training, as well as Biofeedback-assisted relaxation training.

With Neurofeedback we look directly at the brain as we measure and re-regulate the EEG (the electrical activity of the brain). This process is completely non-invasive and has the advantage over drugs of having no side effects and no impact on your liver. .

If interested, you can attend to Liam Clarke, clinical director of the Advanced Neurotraining Clinic at Clontarf Place in Limerick, for more information on or treatment of migraine through Neurofeedback and Biofeedback therapies.