What makes migraines get worse?

A study conducted by one of the leading headache researchers, Dr. Richard Lipton looked at possible factors that worsen migraine headaches.  The study looked at people with frequent migraines (15 or more days with headache a month) and found that these patients were more likely to be female, overweight, depressed, have a lower education level and overused medications.  The overused medications included narcotics, barbiturates (Fioricet, Fiorinal and Esgic) but also over-the-c0unter drugs such as Excedrin.  The only exception was aspirin – it appeared to be protective, that is people taking aspirin were less likely to develop chronic headaches.  Dietary caffeine and stresful life events were also more common prior to development of chronic migraines.

  1. kerry sue says: 05/18/20118:24 pm

    I am a chronic migraine sufferer (hemiplegic migraine) with attacks occuring 9 days out of 10. I am 5-4 and weigh 133 pounds. I have a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and was working on my second degree (I am 9 hours short) and teaching and prepping for grad school when my illness got so bad that I became disabled. In 2004, I was a single mother with three children at home, one in high school, one in junior high, and one in grade school and I was a full time student as well and working. My migraines were well controlled at that time. When they became worse, I had only one child remaining at home who is 13 and had enough scholarship money to devote my time to school and didn’t have to work. My life was so incredibly wonderful and I had never been so happy.

    Migraines are an “invisible” illness much of the time. They don’t show up in a lab report, on an x-ray, or on any kind of scan. The last thing migrainours need is another study like this one that jades the community.

  2. Tricia says: 05/17/20111:45 pm

    I am a chronic migraine suffer and I am not over weight nor do I use narcotics. I am well educated I have my Bachelors in Health and Human Services for Long Term Care. I know how to keep my stress to a minimal in my life. I also have genetic disorders that involve my Chromosomes 1-15 that have been found to be the leading reasons for Hemiplegic Migraines. I also have Genetic Hemochromatosis and Acute Intermittent Porphyria. It is researchers like you that give migraine sufferers a bad name. I feel as though most of all the research that has been done for migraine sufferers have lacked the proper tests. Researchers have now identified three genes linked with hemiplegic migraine. Defects, or mutations, in any of these three genes lead to a breakdown in the body’s ability to make a certain protein. That protein is needed for clear communication among nerve cells. Without that protein, nerve cells can’t release or take up neurotransmitters — the chemical messengers between nerve cells. The three genes linked with hemiplegic migraine are the CACNA1A, ATP1A2, and SCN1A genes. Most people with hemiplegic migraine have inherited the gene mutation from one parent who also had the condition. Thank goodness my Doctor does her research…..

  3. Amanda says: 02/07/201110:27 pm

    Quote – Migraine is a genetically-based disease. We first learned this in the mid-90’s, as it was specifically stated in correspondence with M.A.G.N.U.M. by Dr. Stephen J. Peroutka, M.D., Ph.D., President & CEO of Spectra Biomedical, Inc., a group of research physicians dedicated to understanding the genetic basis of Migraine and other illnesses, the “data are unequivocal: Migraine is a genetically-based illness. Individuals with a single parent having Migraine have approximately a 50% chance of having Migraine. This susceptibility is neither psychological nor induced by environmental causes.”

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