In recent months, studies have begun to raise concerns about the cumulative effects of migraine. Once upon a time migraine was just considered to be a bad headache that just had to be endured, or perhaps dulled by drugs. Now we know that it’s not just a bad headache (sometimes it’s not a headache at all!), and it may do more damage than was once believed.
Researchers are finding things like mini-strokes going on in the brain, risk of future strokes, and heart problem-like symptoms (although not actual heart problems). These studies are vague reasons for concern and future study. If migraine is causing minor brain damage (as some research seems to show), what will the effect be over time? Are some migraine attacks worse than others for these problems? Or does this point to another link that we don’t yet understand? Regarding this concern, HealthDay reporter Mark Bloom writes:
Migraine should be conceptualized not just as an episodic disorder but as a chronic-episodic and sometimes chronic progressive disorder, wrote Drs. Richard B. Lipton and Jullie Pan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City in an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In other words, we shouldn’t consider migraine attacks to be something that just comes and goes, but something that keeps coming back and often keeps doing worse damage.
Don’t forget, the pain itself can cause a great deal of damage. You may find knots and tightness in your muscles, emotional concerns, a lack of proper exercise, the effects of medications on the body. Your body may be going through a lot more than you think – much more than just pain in the head.
So as the research continues, let this be motivation for all of us to not just "put up with it", but to fight back. Time may only be making things worse. What’s your "spring resolution" going to be?