12/10/07 #5 - Why do I have Migraines on one side and more?

Ask the Clinician Health Pro
  • Full Question:
    Why do I have Migraine headaches occurring on one side of my head? How does the trigeminal nerve, serotonin, tryptans, neurotransmitters play a role? Thank you, Lynda.





    Dear Lynda;


    Wow! The questions are excellent; however, the topics are quite broad and it would take as many pages to answer them as are contained in a master headache compendium such as: The Headaches”. This 1300 page “Bible” of latest headache information attempts to address all of your questions as best as is known today.


    The answer to your first question about why headaches are usually on one side is somewhat contradictory. While it is said that classic textbook Migraines should occur on one side of the head, about 50% of them do not (and actually occur on both sides of the head). I used to think that because we have two sets of trigeminal nuclei in the brainstem, that it explained the unilateral nature of so-called classic Migraine. It is certainly possible that each trigeminal nucleus is connected to the one on the other side and that is why some Migraines are felt on both sides of the head.

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    One of these days, we’ll probably either do podcast or write an article on the web site detail some of the basic ideas that are felt currently to be present in the genesis of Migraines. Short answer: Migraine is possibly a low serotonin state. Triptans do act on serotonin receptors in a positive way to activate them. This may undo some biochemical imbalance as part of the Migraine process. Other neurotransmitters, like dopamine, also play a role in migrainous process. Keep asking questions, but make them less wide open.


    Good luck in your search for information,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert


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    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.


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    © Teri Robert and J.C. Krusz, 2007.

    Last updated December 10, 2007.

Published On: December 10, 2007