At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic, we see people who have had migraines over a wide range of time, from 3 weeks, 3 months to more than 30 years. After having this condition for so long, a question we often get is “Will I ever be able to get rid of these migraines?”
Research has indicated that migraineurs who receive no or limited treatment tend to have the severity and frequency of their headaches lessen over time. In 35% of people, headache symptoms disappeared completely within 15 years (Chawler, 2019), and this is called remission. However, for most people, a “wait and see” approach will not work. Instead professional advice should be sought. At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic, we have been successful in ending migraines for most types of headaches, for people of all ages and walks of life.
Can migraines have a long-term effect on your body?
The research surrounding this is comforting: There is no evidence to suggest that physical changes happen to your brain over an extended period of time suffering from migraines. Researchers in the Netherlands took two groups of people, one which suffered from chronic migraines and one that didn’t, and took scans of their brains over a 9 year period. There was no statistical difference between the health of the brains in the two groups (Kruit et al., 2010). However, suffering from migraines is linked to mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety of prolonged head pain and associated symptoms, and the limiting effects these have on the migraineurs everyday life.
What should I be doing to reduce the pain that headaches cause?
There is a huge variety of headache or migraine presentations, in fact, the international classification model recognises over 320 distinct types of headaches. Therefore, specific advice to reduce pain will be specific to your type of headache and professional advice should be sought.
However, here are some general tips, which may give some relief to most types of headaches or migraines.
- Find a calm, dark, quiet environment. Try to avoid stimuli which trigger your headaches, such as bright lights, loud sounds and strong smells. This will down-regulate the incoming information to your brainstem which will help the migraine subside faster.
- Release endorphins. Preliminary studies have shown that mindfulness exercises, meditation or breathing techniques can be as effective as medication for migraine relief. Listening to your favourite music, or watching comedy to make you laugh can help with this endorphin release as well!
- Give Temperature Therapy a go. Similarly to when you sprain an ankle, using cold can help inhibit pain receptors and provide you with pain relief. Similarly when people use heat on their chronic pains, putting a hot compress on the neck or forehead can be helpful to relax and soothe the muscles. A great tool for these is using a face mask filled with gel that can be placed in the freezer or the microwave, so it has the ability to be used in both situations.
Who do I need to see?
There are many options available for potential migraine treatment. A common person to see is your local GP. However, if you would like to see a headache clinician, a referral from your GP is not necessary. At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic, we are able to consult with any patient who presents with migraines or headaches. We also maintain communication with your regular GP, to ensure collaborative practice. Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinics provide expert advice to assess, diagnose and potentially offer treatment for all headaches and migraine types.
Please enquire to meet with a friendly Headache Clinician and take back your life today!