Neurological Disorders: Migraines Leann Collins

Description of the disorder: An intense pain sensation generally focused in the cranial region. Though an exact idea of what happens is unknown, it is thought to be caused by changes in the brainstem and how it connects and function with the trigeminal nerve. Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, and neuropeptides, such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays The a role in the process. When the serotonin levels drop, it can cause the trigeminal nerve to release CGRP that travel to the meninges causing the intense pain. Many experts, believe that the changes in the brain, whether by chemicals and pathways, leads to changes in the blood flow in and around the brain.

Within the migraine process there are four to five stages that one will go through: 1. Premonitory Stage: This stage lasts between an hour to twenty-four hours. It is characterized by certain mental and physical changes to include: tiredness, craving of sweet foods, moodiness, feeling of thirst, and neck stiffness. 2. Aura: This stage lasts between five and sixty minutes. It is characterized by changes in sight( i.e. Dark spots, sparkles, etc.), feelings of numbness or tingling, weakness, dizziness, and vertigo. Also it can affects hearing and/or speech, can cause memory loss, partial paralysis, or cause feelings of fear. 3. Main Attack Stage: Marked by severe head pain( can be worsened by movement and targets a particular place on the head), nausea and vomiting typically occurs in this stage, and sensitivity to light and sound can occur. 4. Resolution: The pain begins to fade away. The process can be expedited by crying, sick, or sleeping. 5. Recovery: This stage can last from a couple hours to days which leaves the individual with a "hangover-like feeling".

How the world can look with a migraine. No sense of focus.

Symptoms: constipation, mood changes, food cravings, neck stiffness, thirst and urination, frequent yawning, viusal phenomena, vision loss, pins or needle sensations, difficulty speaking, sensitivity to sensory impluses( light, sounds, and touch), confusion, dizziness, and weakness in body parts.

One symptom is confusion; leaving the sufferer at a lost of what's going on or happened.
Another symptom includes frequent yawning.

There are many ways a person can develop this disorder: it can be linked to genetics and family lines, hormone changes in women, certain foods (aged cheeses, salty, or processed foods), food additives ( msg and aspartame), highly caffeinated drinks, or alcohol. Additionally stress, over sensory stimulation, changes in sleep patterns, physical exertion, medications, and changes in the environment are all triggers for the disorder.

Stress can also lead to migraines by allowing for dropped serotonin levels.
Processed food does not supply your body with proper nutrients and this could cause your body to crave such nutrients causing pain.

The risk factors for this disorder include family history, age (it peaks in the 30s), and gender (women are more likely to have them due to the large hormone changes).


Treatment: This disorder is not curable, but you can manage the symptoms and reduce the likehood of them to occur. Doctors can use blood tests, MRI's, CT scans, or spinal taps in order to diagnose an individual with this disorder.

Blood Testing
MRI scan

Additionally, symptoms can be suppressed by pain-relieving medications, preventative medications, or alternative medicine. Examples of pain relieveing medications: include pain relievers, triptans, ergots, anti-nausea meds, and opioids. Preventative medications include cardiovascular drug, anti-depressants, anti-seizure meds, and Botox. Finally, alternative medications includes acupuncture, biofeedback, massage therapy, cognitive behaviors therapy, and natural herbs and vitamins.

Herbs and Vitamins
Massage Therapy

Personal Accounts: "I was a John’s Hopkins university graduate. I am also blind in my left eye. In 1994, four weeks after my mother died I experienced my first migraine. I was working at a Miami Beach hospital carrying a load of eight patients on my shift then received my latest admission. When I looked up at her I only saw half of her. The rest was simply obliterated in darkness. I then looked at her chart and saw the writing was sideways with a zig zag line through it. Virtually totally blind I stumbled to the nursing station to receive the doctor’s orders. I could not see anything at this point and was writing blind. I could not even see what I wrote and feared I had just gone blind. I was in terror and in a living nightmare.I have since been diagnosed with migraines and lost my job to sick days. If not for my stroke victim father and I living together, I would have been homeless. We took care of each other and he was a WWII Navy hero. I have been denied disability for countless years and everyday I think, well maybe I will be OK tomorrow, maybe I will feel better and be able to work the profession I so dearly paid $50,000.00 for. My sister in law told my brother, “Oh, she just lazy” She too was an RN and even worked double shifts. My brother brother once asked me why I wasn’t working, and having told him my whole story over and over again I asked him why do you think I am not working? He said “Because you are lazy.” I hung up the phone in tears. Since then my sister in law at only 60 years of age has died leaving my brother homeless and having have had nowhere else to go has moved in with me. I do not think he will ever understand what it means to suffer the worst kind of chronic migraines, but at least, for now he has stopped calling me “Lazy” ". -Patricia Themaras

Personal Accounts con't: My own family has been effected by this disorder. Both my step-mom and step-sister have this disorder to the point that is physically crippling and can not even see the light of day. All this has led to our family being able to detect them and change the environment to help them through it.

My step-mom on the far right and the sister next to me are both migraine sufferers.



Created with images by neil conway - "Brains" • Sean MacEntee - "fear" • OakleyOriginals - "Happiness is..." • ErikaWittlieb - "upset sad confused" • chispita_666 - "Yawn" • caio_triana - "work stressed accounts" • Pexels - "burger burgers cheeseburger" • White77 - "family holiday people" • PublicDomainPictures - "blood vial analysis" • andypowe11 - "Proof of brain" • lkonstanski - "herbs" • Mariolh - "physiotherapy massage back"

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