woman struggling with migraine at work

Migraine headaches are a widely under-diagnosed disorder and, yet, nearly 40 million Americans struggle with migraines on a regular basis. There is currently no cure, which means that individuals struggling with migraines or chronic headaches often find themselves missing school, work, family events, and more. Family, friends, and colleagues suffer right along side a patient who struggles with migraines and, in addition the the physical stress of a migraine, there is an emotional toll to consider, too.

What Is A Migraine?

Migraines, while there is still no real clear reason why they occur, are a better understood neurological disorder. Migraines are caused by differences in brain function and create a high-stress state in your brain. This state causes an increase in sympathetic response and a decrease in parasympathetic response, thus leading to severe imbalances in brainwave function.The more frequently your migraines occur, the harder it is for your brain to regulate and normalize.

Symptoms Of Migraine Headaches

Migraines can occupy different areas of the brain, leading to different symptoms depending on the patient. However, all migraines involve some type of recurring headaches. The most common additional symptoms are related to a visual aura, which are sensations, such as seeing shapes or lights, that can present before the migraine itself and dissipate with the end of the migraine. Other symptoms of migraine headaches include:

man fighting a headache
  • Headache with localized pain
  • Pulsing or throbbing
  • Moderate to severe pain intensity
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Pain or discomfort by light or sound
  • Blurred vision and vision loss
  • Prickling feeling, pins and needles
  • Depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances
  • Speech problems
  • Exhaustion
  • Lightheadedness

Frequency is another important factor to consider when it comes to migraines. In fact, some medical circles take frequency into consideration for diagnosis. Those suffering from episodic migraines have fewer than 15 headaches per month, while those who have more than 15 per month are diagnosed with chronic migraines. Migraines can be somewhat cyclical, meaning that the more you suffer from them the more likely you are to suffer from them in the future. About 2.5% of individuals initially diagnosed with episodic migraines escalate to chronic migraines.

How To Treat Migraine Headaches

Even just one migraine a month is enough to drive someone mad. Treatments for migraine headaches can be classified in two ways: acute and preventative. Acute treatments relieve symptoms during an attack, like over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications, like triptans and ergotamine. Preventative treatments reduce the chance of a migraine headache happening at all. These are often medications, such as antiepileptic drugs, beta blockers, and certain classes of antidepressants. The struggle with these treatments is that they not only have side effects but they also rarely treat all the symptoms one might experience during a migraine.

woman recovering from chronic migraine

Neurofeedback As A Drug-Free Treatment For Migraine Headaches

Neurofeedback helps you create new patterns and responses to stressors, such as migraines. New, more efficient neural pathways help you improve your brain function. More than half of neurofeedback patients struggling with migraines report complete pain relief, while nearly all patients experienced a decrease in pain and symptoms.

If you struggle with migraine headaches, your headache days can be significantly reduced, if not eliminating it entirely, with neurofeedback training. Contact NeurOptimize today to learn more about treating your migraines without drugs.