05/07/07 #5 - Inflammation over the brain, Migraines, and anti-inflammatories?

Health Professional

Full Question:

I've had migraines since late 70s, and have been diagnosed with Migraines, Mixed Headaches, Cluster Headaches, Tension Headaches, Vascular Headaches. You can see why they finally said Mixed Headaches. I had difficulty controlling them whenever they occurred despite numerous medications, and natural treatments including biofeedback, cold/hot packs. When a severe headache occurred, my head, neck, and face would swell immensely as well as nausea, bloodshot eyes, and severe pain. The swelling concerned me more than the pain and was related to all the doctors but was usually dismissed. Headaches would usually go on for days. Maxalt seemed to be only thing that worked quickly without severe side effects.

A year ago my doctor put me on Lodine when I was diagnosed with osteopenia. Since then the headaches have occurred only rarely. Now anytime I have them it's usually when I've missed a Lodine. I also have seizure disorder, and sleep disorders. I'm aware of their interactions and have been able to rule them out as "cause" but do know they "affect or exacerbate" headaches.

Question: Does reduction of inflammation over brain (which is how one doctor put it) mean a possibly more severe problem than migraines?
Why did the Lodine helped (I know it's an anti-inflammatory as well as pain reliever) & what the significance of this type of medication if it's reducing inflammation? Why wasn't it recommended for headaches? Thanks, B.


Dear B.;

I will answer your three questions in the same order you posed them, with some additional comments.

  1. Those of us in the headache trade tend to think of inflammation as part of the buildup or other underpinning for migraines. Indeed, there is a medication about to be released that has a migraine specific medication with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. Preliminary data would suggest that onset with this combination medication might be faster than with triptan alone. I don't know that you could reason that having inflammation is a more severe problem than migraines alone.

  2. Lodine is an anti-inflammatory and for some folks, this category of medicine can reduce the severity and number of migraines.

  3. I cannot speak for why someone did or did not recommend a particular medication at a particular time. That might be a question to ask that particular physician.

I'm confused about your comments relating sleep disorders and seizures.   I assume   you meant that a poor sleep pattern could "cause," "trigger," or exacerbate headaches, and I would agree with this wholeheartedly. We know that a good sleep pattern can be the way to move a bad headache pattern forward and help it to diminish. In short, anti-inflammatories can be helpful for some people and you may be a good example of that.

Good luck,
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

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. If you have a question for this section of our site, please click _HERE _. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. No questions will be answered privately.

_Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis. _

We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.