Many researchers tell us that migraines are a result of early trauma, like falls or blows to the brain. When these traumas happen, I am guessing that it permanently messes up the nerves and tissues it damages. Can you fix nerves and tissues or should we always just be thankful that we have medicines to treat our symptoms and actual migraines? Thanks, Janice.
We don’t really agree that many researchers are saying this. Migraine is a genetic neurobiological disease. Currently, the best supported theory is that migraine disease is caused by genetic predisposition and an a hypersensitive brain. See Migraine and Our Hypersensitive Brains.
However, head trauma can certainly hasten or worsen the development of migraine. It is not uncommon to hear the story of someone who was an infrequent migraine sufferer who developed high frequency episodic or even chronic migraine after head trauma.
At present, we cannot fix nerves to fix migraine. There are procedures which are directed toward various nerves, procedures such as nerve blocks, which may be helpful, but they do not cure migraine.
We’re not, however, limited to being “thankful that we have medications to treat our symptoms and actual migraines.” We have a great number of preventive treatments that can reduce both the frequency and severity of migraine attacks and significantly improve quality of life. There are so many, in fact, that it would take longer than 25 years of trying a new preventive treatment every three months to try them all. That’s reason for hope. For more on this, and a list of preventive treatments, please take a look at Migraine and Headache Prevention – So Many Options.
If you’re in a position where your doctor has run out of ideas of what to try next, please don’t give up. No doctor is the right one for every patient. Please keep in mind that neurologists aren’t necessarily migraine specialists, and migraine specialists aren’t necessarily neurologists. You can read more about migraine specialists and find links to help you locate one in Why, How and Where to Find a Migraine Specialist.
Thank you for your question,
Dave Watson and Teri Robert
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© David Watson and Teri Robert, 2016.
Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialist and the director of the West Virginia University Headache Center. Dr. Watson takes a special interest in migraines, cluster headaches, and tension-type headaches. He strives to stay up-to-date on current research and treatments and regularly attends continuing medical education conferences. “Dr. Dave” is also very active in the migraine community, taking part in and leading advocacy efforts to benefit the entire community. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Runnin’ for Research, a nonprofit organization that helps interested patients and doctors set up races in their areas to raise research funding for headache disorders. He’s also a regular participant in the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s “Headache on the Hill” event and is co-secretary of the American Headache and Migraine Association. You can follow Dr. Watson on Twitter.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate in the area of migraine and other headache disorders, and has been writing for the HealthCentral migraine site since 2007. She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association. She received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award for “ongoing patient education, support, and advocacy,” in 2004 and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society in 2013. You can find links to Teri’s work on her web site and blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.