Why is Pain in the Face and Head Worse than the Rest of the Body?

Researchers have found why pain from the head and face can be more disruptive, and emotionally draining than pain in other parts of the body. The researchers found that sensory neurons from the head and face are wired directly into the brain’s principal emotional signaling hubs, while sensory neurons from elsewhere in the body are connected only indirectly to this hub. People consistently rate pain of the head and face as more disruptive and emotionally draining than pain in other parts of the body. The results may help lead toward more effective treatments for pain mediated by the craniofacial nerve, including chronic headaches and neuropathic face pain. Usually doctors focus on treating the sensation of pain, but this work demonstrates that doctors need to also treat the emotional aspects of pain. Pain signals from the head and face compared to those … Read more

Opioids Overused For Migraine Headache Treatment

A new study that attempted to find racial disparities in the treatment of migraine headaches found no differences and instead found that opioids are often overused for migraine headache treatment. As has been discussed on this blog and site before, the prescribing habits of opioids are under scrutiny for wisdom teeth surgery. See for example the article http://blog.teethremoval.com/what-can-a-surgeon-do-to-prevent-opioid-abuse/ and the article http://blog.teethremoval.com/painkiller-overdose-in-michigan-are-wisdom-teeth-extractions-contributing/. Now it appears that the prescribing habits of opiods for migraines should also be under scrutiny. Existing research shows that African-Americans experience more frequent and severe migraine headaches than non-Hispanic whites. Researchers at the University of Michigan set out to explore if there was any evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices for migraines. However, instead of finding any disparities, they found opioids were being prescribed as frequently as medications that are more effective for migraine headaches. In the study, results from … Read more

Terror Attack Survivors More Prone to Headaches

Researchers have shown that survivors of a terror attack have an increased risk of frequent migraine and tension headaches developing after the attack. Therefore there are potential physical effects of violent incidents in addition to the better known psychological effects. The researchers studied the responses teenage survivors of the largest mass killing in Norway that occurred in 2011. In the attack, a lone gunman opened fire at a youth summer camp on Utøya Island, killing 69 people and severely wounding 33. All survivors experienced terror, some lost friends, and some risked drowning as they tried to escape the island. The study shows that a single highly stressful event such as a terror attack may lead to ongoing suffering with frequent migraines and other headaches. All 358 teenage survivors of the incident were invited to participate in the study. A total of 213 … Read more

Microbes to Modify Nitrates in Migraine Headache Sufferers

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have found that the mouths of those who suffer from migraine headaches have significantly more microbes with the ability to modify nitrates than people who do not have headaches. Many of the millions of Americans who suffer from migraines report an association between consuming foods with nitrates and the intensity of their headaches. The researchers were interested in exploring the idea that foods can trigger migraines and in particular exploring the microbiome connection with migraines. In addition, four in five cardiac patients who take nitrate-containing drugs often report headaches as a side effect. Nitrates are found in foods including processed meats and green leafy vegetables. Nitrite reducing bacteria found in the mouth can reduce the nitrates to nitrites. These nitrites can then be converted to nitric oxide when circulating in blood. Nitric oxide … Read more

Chronic Migraine Sufferers More Prone to Temporomandibular Disorder

Researchers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil have found that more frequent migraine attacks lead to more severe temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge connecting the jawbone to the skull, and when the disorder of it occurs, there is often difficulty chewing and joint tension. Previous research studies have indicated that migraine is associated with pain in the temporomandibular joint. This specific research was the first to consider the frequency of migraine attacks when analyzing the connection with TMD. The researchers included 84 women in their early to mid-thirties with 21 suffering from chronic migraine, 32 episodic migraine, and 32 had no history of migraine serving as controls. Chronic migraine means that there are headaches for 15 days per month. Signs and symptoms of TMD were found in 54% of participants serving … Read more