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A migraine is just one of many different kinds of headaches. Close to 20% of Canadians live with migraines. The typical migraine is described as being pulsatile on one side of the head with mild to severe pain that interferes with daily routines. It is often associated with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Migraines tend to have prodromes and auras. Prodromes are symptoms that precede the headache such as irritability, depression, loss of appetite and restlessness. An aura is a symptom that precedes the migraine headache and may consist of visual changes such as: flashes or tunnel vision, tingling, numbness, and, in some cases, actual paralysis may occur.
The exact mechanism of migraine headaches involves minor swelling and inflammation within the brain structures. This is accompanied by constriction of the blood vessel supplying blood to the brain itself. Migraines tend to start early in life, and affect women more than men. Many different substances have been implicated in having a role as migraine triggers. Common food triggers include: chocolate, alcohol, red wine, yeast in baked goods, certain cheeses, pickled meats containing nitrites or amines, and certain beans. Many non-food triggers also exist. Emotional states, menstruation, hunger, intense sexual activity, smoking, looking at computer screens and sleep deprivation can all trigger migraines. Migraines are linked to strokes.
People who experience auras with their migraine are twice as likely to suffer a stroke. Women who use birth control pills and suffer aura associated migraines raise their risk by almost seven fold. Women who smoke, take birth control pills, and have classical migraines, are at an even higher risk for strokes. Migraines tend to cluster in family groups. Menopause certainly improves the migraine prone state, and it is rare to see a new onset of migraines in older people.
Two general approaches are used in migraine treatment. The more sensible approach involves identifying a person's migraine triggers and trying to avoid them. This is sometimes coupled with using medications to prevent onset. For persons who only get the occasional migraine, a different approach makes more sense. Cambia is a new migraine treatment available in Canada that uses a proven molecule in a different format. Powdered diclofenac is mixed with water and drank at the onset, with some impressive results in treating migraine headaches. It is not indicated but may work for most other headaches. The sooner, the better. Adding cold compresses, massaging the temples and avoiding bright light helps. Sometimes narcotics like oxycontin are used, but are discouraged due to addiction potential, and notoriety of causing rebound headaches.
Triptans which are a different class of migraine drugs than CAMBIA work by stopping the vasoconstriction of cerebral blood vessels by binding to specific serotonin receptors in these vessels. Recently, caution has been raised about heart patients using these medications. Sometimes migraines are so disabling that hospitalization is required and various intra-venous cocktails are employed in the hopes of relieving them. I am using Cambia as a first line agent now with good results in patients not used to narcotics. Cambia is packaged in little sachets that patients can carry with them.
● User Reviews & Ratings - Cambia Oral. User comments about the side effects, benefits, and effectiveness of Cambia Oral, from WebMD.
● Cambia. Generic Name: diclofenac potassium for oral solution. Brand Name: Cambia. Info from Drugs.com. "What is Cambia? Cambia (diclofenac potassium) is a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID). This medicine works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain inflammation.
Cambia is used to treat a migraine headache attacks, with or without aura, in adults 18 years of age and older. It is not used to prevent migraine headaches. Do not use Cambia to treat a cluster headache."
● Cambia from RxList.com. CAMBIA (diclofenac potassium) for Oral Solution. What are the precautions when taking diclofenac potassium for oral solution (Cambia)? Side Effects.
● FDA Approves Cambia™ for Migraine from Medical News Today (MNT). 24 Jun 2009.
● Head Massage - 5 Simple Exercises to Reduce Headaches. Video, 3:39 min. Demonstration of exercises by Beijing doctor (in Mandarin Chinese) to help reduce headaches / migraines. View video to copy movements:
• 1. Rub head from front to back with both hands as if combing hair, 20 times .
• 2. Rub over both ears top to bottom, 20 times.
• 3. Massage forehead and temporal area, 20 times.
• 4. Locate grooves at base of skull in neck region, massage with thumbs, 20 times.
• 5. Relax hands and lightly tap all over head for 1 minute.
● Migraine from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
● Migraine from Mayo Clinic Staff.
● Migraine from MedlinePlus.
● Migraine Headache from MedicineNet.com.
● Migraines: Myth & Reality from Migraines.org, National Migraine Association. M.A.G.N.U.M.: Migraine Awareness Group: A National Understanding for Migraineurs.
● Migraine Treatment & Management: Current Treatment Methods from MAGNUM.
● Migraine Information Page from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH).