Sleep Deprivation and the Biological Mechanisms of Chronic Migraine Headache

Scientists from the Missouri State University’s Center for Biomedical & Life Sciences have found new research to suggest sleep deprivation leads to changes in the levels of key proteins that facilitate events involved in the underlying pathology of migraine.

“Previous clinical data support a relationship between sleep quality and migraine,” said Paul L. Dunham, Ph.D. “so we used an established model of sleep deprivation to measure levels of proteins that lower the activation threshold of peripheral and central nerves involved in pain transmission during migraine. We found that REM sleep deprivation caused increased expression of the proteins p38, PKA, and P2X3, which are known to play an important role in initiating and sustaining chronic pain.”

“So little is known about the biological mechanisms that underlie how certain factors trigger a migraine attack,” said David Dodick, M.D., “This is important work and this Missouri State team should be applauded for beginning to shed light on an area desperately in need of investigation.”

While I don’t personally have exactly a migraine, I have had a headache 24/7 since June 2006, 2 days after the extraction of all four of my wisdom. I have noticed, on the few days necessarily when I was in college, that yes sleep deprivation would increase the intensity and pain I felt from my chronic headache. Understanding the biological mechanisms of migraine is of course important in being able to help prevent and treat migraine and potentially other forms of headache like the one I suffer from all the time since my wisdom teeth were removed.

Source: American Headache Society

3 thoughts on “Sleep Deprivation and the Biological Mechanisms of Chronic Migraine Headache

  1. It is amazing to think how many aspects of our health are affected by how much we sleep. I personally have experienced migraines and can confirm that inadequate sleep is a huge contributor. Thanks for sharing this great information!

  2. You say you have had a headache since having your wisdom teeth removed – have you managed to find a solution to this at all? This is quite scarey to me..I just checked your link at the top to teethremoval.com. My boyfriend keeps getting an infection in one of his wisdom tooth and has been recommended to have it taken out..but he is severely reluctant because he doesn’t find it to be “natural” in the sense that we have these teeth for a reason there must be an alternative solution than to pulling them out. After reading the stories on that other site ..I think its confirmed to him not to risk doing it even if it means getting an infected tooth again!

    In regards to this article..this seems obvious to me…just as sleep deprivation has been shown to be a cause of depression too…if we don’t take care of our basic needs we will have symptoms whether thats a migraine or a low mood.

  3. Hi,

    Yes I have had a headache since having 4 healthy wisdom teeth extracted.

    A recurrent infection could potentially lead to more serious problems so in this case it likely is better to have the tooth extracted based on what I have seen the experts say. Good luck.

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