What’s new in the world of migraine?

Migraines are more than a headache, says Bishopbriggs suffererKirkintilloch Herald

MIGRAINES are a painful reality for one in seven people – and this week medical experts are urging people to educate themselves about the debilitating 

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Stress named the most common trigger for migrainesFemaleFirst.co.uk

Certain foods like cheese and chocolate, excess caffeine intake or withdrawal and drinks containing Alcohol are also common tirggers for migraines too.

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Migraine may be more common among those with low incomeWWSB ABC 7

Studies show that migraine is more common among people with lower incomes, but doesmigraine affect income or does income affect migraine? Researchers 

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Migraines can change your brain – studyIndependent Online

Migraine sufferers without aura had a 34 percent higher risk of brain lesions Washington -Migraines may cause permanent changes in brain structure, though 

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Back to School headacheWaterford Today

Back to school time can also mean migraine time for the one in ten children in Ireland who suffer from this complex neurological condition. “Any sort of change in 

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Best treatment of your headache varies with the causeThe News-Press

Migraine headaches may sometimes be a debilitating neurological condition. More people report being affected by migraine than diabetes and asthma 

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Migraine left woman with a Chinese accentExpress.co.uk

Sarah Colwill went to bed speaking with her native West Country lilt. But after suffering a migraineattack she woke up sounding like someone from the Far East.

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Aegis Technologies Providing Rapid Development of Super GenericsMarketWatch (press release)

At present, rapid relief of migraine headaches is achievable only through injection of drugs called triptans, the most widely used being sumatriptan. The current 

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New Migraine Drug Shows Promise Ahead Of Clinical TrialsRTT News

A new migraine drug developed by researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has shown promise in studies by blocking the light receptors in the 

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If you think migraine aura is just seeing odd stuff… think again

download (1)UK Migraine Awareness Week – Day 5

Migraine aura is the complex of neurological or neuropsychological symptoms. It is the second stage of a migraine attack. However, not all migraine sufferers experience aura. But for those whom do it can be a very frightening experience and at times even worse than the headache stage.  But most people think aura is just the flashy lines or dots in front of the eyes, but this another misconception, Migraine aura can effect all parts of the body and in some most odd ways.  Even those people whom have the visual aura may experience other things which they have not linked to Migraine.

So what other types of Aura  are there?

Aura can be broken down into 4 groups:

1 Sensory disturbances
2 Motor disturbances
3 Verbal disturbances
4 Visual disturbances
1 Sensory

Somatosensory symptoms

Numbness, prickling sensations, things crawling on you – these are often just one sided.

Body image disturbances
Macro and microsomatognosia (feeling larger or smaller, known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome), facial metamorphosis, out-of-body experiences and felt presences.

Near-death experiences
A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light.

This is a malfunction or anomaly of the individuals self-awareness. It is a feeling of watching oneself act, while having no control over a situation. Sufferers feel they have changed, and the world has become less real, vague, dreamlike, or lacking in significance. It can be a disturbing experience, since many feel that, indeed, they are living in a “dream”.

This is where you feel separated from the outside world, such as a sensory fog, a pane of glass, or a veil. Individuals may complain that what they see lacks vividness and emotional coloring. Emotional response to visual recognition of loved ones may be significantly reduced. Feelings of déjà vu or jamais vu are common. Familiar places may look alien, bizarre, and surreal.

Auditory symptoms
Problems with hearing – This can include tinnitus (buzzing sounds, ringing in ears) mild hearing loss, difficulty understand speech

Gustatory symptoms
This is illusions or hallucinations of taste.

Olfactory symptoms
Hallucinations of odours and smells not actually present.

Déjà vu – the experience of feeling sure that you have already witnessed or experienced a current situation.

Jamais vu – a sense of eeriness, you get the impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before.

Forced reminiscence
Uprush of long-forgotten memories or dreams – dream-like state

Dreaming disturbance
Unusual powerful, vivid or weird dreams, nightmares, recurring dreams and other migraine aura symptoms experienced whilst dreaming.

from the ancient Greek σύν (syn), “together,” and αἴσθησις (aisthēsis), “sensation,” is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported. One common form is known as grapheme – colour synesthesia – letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colour. In another form numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. Or visual motion → sound synesthesia, involves hearing sounds in response to visual motion and flicker.

Time perception disturbances
“time flys abnormally fast” — opposite of marijuana’s affect on sense of time.
2 Motor

  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Painless sensation [tactile hallucination] of coldness
  • Tactile hallucinations of movement
  • Impaired coordination
  • Involuntary movements

3 Verbal disturbances

Dysphasic aura
Speech and/or language symptoms:

  • Stuttering
  • Involuntary vocalisations
  • Paralysis of speech muscles
  • Global aphasia – Language disorder involving severe impairments in both comprehension and production.
  • Anomic aphasia – ‘loss of a word’ often the sufferer knowns the word and may even be able to see it – but can not actually say it.
  • Reading disturbances
  • - Writing disturbances

4 Visual disturbances

Visual aura is the most common of auras. A visual aura is like an electrical or chemical wave that moves across the visual cortex of your brain. It is possible to see this via a MRI. As the activation spreads during an aura, a person loses normal visual function.

The best known visual aura is called a fortification spectrum because its pattern resembles the walls of a medieval fort. It may start as a small hole of light or sometimes as bright geometrical lines and shapes in your visual field.This visual aura may expand into a sickle- or C-shaped object, with zigzag lines on the leading edge.

Illusion of apparent movement of stationary objects

Cinematographic vision
Visual illusion whereby the normal perception of moving objects is replaced by seeing a series of “stills” as in a film run too slowly

Corona phenomenon
Light or colour round an object.

Commonly known as double vision, it is the perception of two images of a single object beginning seen at the same time.

Visual illusions involving an alteration in the size or separation of visual objects.

  • Macropsia – objects are perceived larger than normal, causing you to feel smaller.
  • Micropsia – objects are perceived to be smaller than they actually are, causing you to feel larger.
  • Pelopsia – objects appear nearer than they actually are.
  • Teleopsia – objects appear much further away than they actually are.

Illusory visual splitting, tilted vision, inverted vision
Illusions whereby the entire visual environment or objects are rotated by less than 90°, by 90° or by 180°, respectively, so that the visual targets appear tilted, turned to a right angle or turned upside down.

Where objects appear to be distorted

Mosaic illusion
Fracture of the visual image into pieces dovetailed together as in a mosaic

Polyopia /Palinopsia
Vision of multiple images. (Greek: palin for “again” and opsia for “seeing”) is a visual disturbance that causes images to persist to some extent even after their corresponding stimulus has left. These images are known as afterimages and occur in persons with normal vision.

Visual loss
Also known as scotoma, this can range from partial lost to complete loss.

Visual hallucinations

  • Random form dimension
  • Line form dimension
  • Curve form dimension
  • Web form dimension
  • Lattice form dimension
  • Tunnel form dimension
  • Spiral form dimension
  • Kaleidoscope form dimension
  • Floaters
  • Soft focus
  • Snow

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The 5 possible stages of a Migraine attack

fig4UK Migraine Awareness Week day 4

The 5 possible stages of a Migraine attack

At first it is often difficult to predict when a migraine attack is going to happen, however, over time you can learn to recognise a pattern of each attack – everyone is different and sadly not all attacks are the same – so keeping a diary may help you and sadly the more you have the more experience you will have of spotting the signs… thus giving you the clues to stop and rest or to take medication. Understanding your phases can also help your doctors to diagnosis and treat you.

In adults* a migraine attack actual comes in four or five phases –  that roll on from each other – however not everyone has all five phases:

  1. Warning phase (Known as the Prodrome)
  2. Aura (not always present)
  3. The headache (not always present – can be one sided or even both sides)
  4. Resolution  (Known as the Postdrome)
  5. Recovery

* In children the migraine attack is often shorter and it may therefore not be possible to fully make out the different phases.

1. Warning phase (Known as the Prodrome)

The Prodrome can occur hours or even days before the aura or headache begins – often overlooked these symptoms maybe mistake for migraine ‘triggers’.  it is however considered to be an integral component of the migraine process. It acts as a warning sign that a migraine is imminent. About 60% of people with migraine experience prodromal symptoms.

Typical symptoms can include:

  • Physical symptoms
  • Muscle stiffness, especially in the neck
  • Altered perception of heat and cold
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Food cravings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yawning
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fluid retention
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound

Psychological symptoms

  • Depression
  • Euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty in concentration

2 Aura

The aura of migraine includes a wide range of neurological symptoms – it is not only visual as many people think. This stage can statistically last for between 5 and 30 minutes, and usually happens before the headache. However, I have met many people whom experience this for much longer and a few whom have aura symptoms for days and days. Statistical only 15% of migraine sufferers have aura, and will only have a few of these listed. Auara can be broken down into 4 groups: (A full explanation of these can be found here)

  • Sensory disturbances
  • Motor disturbances
  • Verbal disturbances
  • Visual disturbances


  • Somatosensory symptoms
  • Body image disturbances (Alice in Wonderland Syndrome),
  • Near-death experiences
  • Depersonalisation
  • Derealisation
  • Auditory symptoms
  • Gustatory symptoms
  • Olfactory symptoms
  • Paramnesias
  • Forced reminiscence
  • Dreaming disturbance
  • Synaesthesia
  • Time perception disturbances


  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Painless sensation [tactile hallucination] of coldness
  • Tactile hallucinations of movement
  • Impaired coordination
  • Involuntary movements

Verbal disturbances

  • Stuttering
  • Involuntary vocalisations
  • Paralysis of speech muscles
  • Global aphasia
  • Anomic aphasia
  • Reading disturbances
  • Writing disturbances

Visual disturbances

Visual aura is the most common of auras. A visual aura is like an electrical or chemical wave that moves across the visual cortex of your brain. It is possible to see this via a MRI. As the activation spreads during an aura, a person loses normal visual function.

  • Autokinesis
  • Cinematographic vision
  • Corona phenomenon
  • Diplopia
  • Dysmetropsia
  • Illusory visual splitting, tilted vision, inverted vision
  • Metamorphopsia
  • Mosaic illusion
  • Polyopia /Palinopsia
  • Visual loss
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Random form dimension
  • Line form dimension
  • Curve form dimension
  • Web form dimension
  • Lattice form dimension
  • Tunnel form dimension
  • Spiral form dimension
  • Kaleidoscope form dimension
  • Floaters
  • Soft focus
  • Snow

3.The headache
This stage involves head pain which can be severe, even unbearable – I would often describe this as a horse kicking my head from the inside out.

The headache is typically throbbing, and made worse by movement, it is usually on one side of the head, but some sufferers get the pain on both sides of the head, or over the forehead, but not usually at the back of the head.

But YOU CAN have a migraine attack with no headache and these are not to be underestaimated sometimes the auara stage can be worse than the headache stage.

The headache phase is often accompanied by:

  • Nausea (sickness)
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Sensitive to light
  • Sensitive to sound
  • Stiffness or tenderness of the neck

4 Resolution (Known as the Postdrome)

The postdromal or resolution phase follows the headache and may last for up to 48 hours. Most attacks slowly fade away, but some stop suddenly after the sufferer is sick, or cries a lot. Sleep seems to be the best ‘cure’ for many sufferers, who find that even an hour or two can be enough to end an attack. Many children find that sleeping for just a few minutes can stop their attack.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sore muscles
  • Food intolerance
  • Malaise
  • Alteration in mood
  • Impaired concentration
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Decreased energy requiring a period of rest.

A few sufferers immediately after an attack can feel energised, euphoric and can return to normal activities at once.

5 Recovery 

Often known as the hungover or run over phase  – This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or even days for this ‘hangover’ type feeling to disappear.

Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage, and often they are mirrored symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, now you might feel full of energy. Most people just feel warn out and weak and in need of rest.

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So what is the cause of a Migraine?..Why do they happen to me?

426427_10150729957202835_400095845_nUK Migraine Awareness Week day 3

Even amongst the medical professionals the exact cause of a Migraine attack is not fully understood; but last year researchers located genetic regions which are linked to the onset of a migraine attack.

So the current thinking is that Migraine is a neurological disorder. 

Contrary to myths that surround migraines, they are not caused by mental illness, nor constricted blood vessels, and have nothing in common with chronic headaches caused by stress or sinus problems.

Most researchers occur that those whom have migraine have a sensitive or ‘hyper-excitable’ brain, so that they are much more sensitive to stimuli that would not affect someone not prone to migraine. 

So Migraine attacks do not just happen – they are triggered – everyday factors around a migrainer contribute to the trigger building process to the point where it becomes too much and a migraine is triggered.

These triggers can vary from person to person and attack to attack and don’t always lead to migraine.  A combination of triggers — not a single thing or event — is more likely to set off an attack.   But, working out your triggers is a must for any migraine sufferer – much easy said than done, I know, but understanding your triggers is an important part of your migraine management plan. Once you have identified your triggers, it will be easier for you to avoid them and reduce your chances of having a migraine attack.

Some triggers will jump out at you – others will be hard to find – but keeping a migraine diary can help here.  By recording your activities, pain levels and medication usage.  You should be able to spot (over time) your triggers.

Examples of triggers

Overuse of over-the-counter medications can cause rebound headaches.
Missed medication doses and certain medications may cause headaches.

Changes in sleep patterns eg napping, oversleeping, too little sleep

Estrogen level changes and fluctuations eg Menstrual cycles, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapies, peri-menopause, menopause, ovulation

Weather eg Weather and temperature changes, extreme heat or cold, humidity, barometric pressure changes Bright lights eg Bright or glaring lights, fluorescent lighting, flashing lights or screens
Odors/pollution eg Smog, smoke, perfumes, chemical odors
Other eg High altitude, airplane travel

Periods of high stress,including life changes
Accumulated stress
Reacting quickly and easily to stress
Repressed emotions
Factors related to stress include anxiety, worry, shock,depression, excitement, mental fatigue, loss and grief.
Both “bad stress” and “good stress” can be triggers. Howwe perceive and react to situations can trigger (or prevent) migraines. Other triggers can include unrealistic timelines or expectations of oneself.

Stress letdown
Weekends, vacations, ending a project or stressful task (including presentations, papers, or exams)

Overexertion / Injuries eg Over-exercising when out of shape, exercising in heat, marathon running
Visual triggers eg eyestrain (if you wear glasses, make sure your prescription is current), bright or glaring lights, fluorescent lighting, flashing lights or computer screens
Becoming tired or fatigued

Dietary Triggers
Food triggers do not necessarily contribute to migraines in all individuals, and particular foods may trigger attacks in certain people only on occasion. Be your own expert by keeping a journal of foods you have eaten before a migraine attack and see whether the removal or reduction of certain foods from your diet improves your headaches.
Skipping meals, fasting, and low blood sugar can also trigger migraines. If you’re unable to follow a normal eating schedule, pack snacks.

Chocolate and cocoa. Alcoholic beverages (especially red wine, beer, and sherry). Caffeine (even in small amounts) may be a trigger for some people.

Figs, raisins, papayas, avocados (especially if overripe), red plums, overripe bananas.

Beans such as broad, fava, garbanzo, Italian, lima, navy, pinto, pole. Sauerkraut, string beans, raw garlic, snow peas, olives, pickles, onions (except for flavouring)

Bread & Grains
Freshly baked yeast bread. Fresh yeast coffee cake, doughnuts, sourdough bread. Breads and crackers containing cheese, including pizza. Any product containing chocolate or nuts.

Dairy Products
Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, sour cream). Chocolate milk. Cheese: blue, brick (natural), Gouda, Gruyere, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, romano, Roquefort, cheddar, Swiss (emmentaler), Stilton, Brie types and Camembert types.

Meat, fish, poultry
Aged, canned, cured or processed meat, including ham or game, pickled herring, salted dried fish, sardines, anchovies, chicken livers, sausage, bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, hot dogs, pâté, caviar. Any food prepared with meat tenderizer, soy sauce or brewer’s yeast. Any food containing nitrates, nitrites, or tyramine.

Canned soup, soup or bouillon cubes, soup base with autolytic yeast or MSG. Read labels.

Chocolate ice cream, pudding, cookies, cakes, or pies. Mincemeat pie. Nuts. Any yeast-containing doughs and pastries.

Nutrasweet, monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast/yeast extract, meat tenderizer (Accent), seasoned salt, mixed dishes, pizza, cheese sauce, macaroni and cheese, beef stroganoff, cheese blintzes, lasagna, frozen TV dinners, chocolate. Nuts and nut butters. Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds. Anything fermented, pickled or marinated. Some aspirin medications that contain caffeine. Excessive amounts of Niacin (Niacinamide is fine). Excessive Vitamin A (over 25,000 I.U. daily).


One Migraine does not fit all….

598520_366455513407781_293488046_nDay 2 of the UK Migraine Awareness Week.

Migraines are not all the same… there are many different types and yes you can have more than one type at any one time.  And yes even the way an attack happens for you can change on each attack… But understanding the type of migraine you have not only allows you peace of mind but gives you others to talk to and possible treatments..

To talk to others with Migraine see our forum

>> http://migrainetalk.forumotion.co.uk/

Types of Migraine

Abdominal migraine
Abdominal migraine is one of the variants of migraine. It is also known as “periodic syndrome”. Occurring in around 4% of children, the predominant symptom of the attack is abdominal pain rather than a headache. Sometimes it can be misdiagnosed in an A&E as appendicitis.

They usually have a family history of migraine and go on to develop typical migraine later in their life.

The attacks are characterised by periodic bouts of moderate to severe midline abdominal pain lasting for 1 to 72 hours. Along with the abdominal pain they may have other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, flushing or pallor.

Medications that are useful for treating migraine work to control these attacks in most children including daily preventive medications and anti-nausea medications to take during the attack.
Acephalgic migraine
Also called silent migraine, migraine aura without headache, amigrainous migraine, isolated visual migraine and optical migraine.
It is a neurological syndrome.

It is a rare variant of migraine in which the patient may experience aura, nausea, photophobia, hemiparesis and other migraine symptoms but does not experience headache.
Basilar artery migraine
Also known as Bickerstaff’s Migraine. This is a rare form of migraine with aura, it is where the basilar artery (a blood vessel at the base of the brain) goes into spasm causing a reduced blood supply to parts of the brain.

This type of migraine affects 1 in every 400 migraineurs. It comes on suddenly and can result in fleeting visual disturbances, giddiness, confusion, lack of balance, double vision, unsteadiness, fainting, tingling on both sides of the body and even loss of consciousness. The aura typically lasts less than one hour.

Often these patients are mistakenly thought to be intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, or suffering from other conditions. There is usually no weakness associated with these attacks. The headache that follows is typical of migraine headache.

The basilar artery migraine is strongly related to hormonal influences and primarily strikes young adult women and adolescent girls; as sufferers age, the migraine with aura may replace the basilar artery type.
Classical migraine
This is migraine with aura.  This is when you get neurological disturbances lasting between 15 minutes and an hour, before you get an actual headache.

A third of people have aura with their migraine.

Common aura symptoms include:

  • visual disturbances – such as flashing or flickering lights, zigzag lines, blurred vision, temporary blindness
  • numbness or a tingling sensation – common in the hands, arm or face, similar to ‘pins and needles’
  • slurred speech
  • poor concentration
  • problems with your co-ordination

Common migraine
This is a migraine with no aura. It is typical a headache affecting one half of the head and pulsating in nature and lasting from 4 to 72 hours; symptoms include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Increased sensitivity to sound
  • Increased sensitivity to smell

Chronic Migraine
Migraine can evolve from episodic headaches to a chronic pain syndrome. Chronic migraine is defined as a migraine headache occurring on 15 or more days per month for more than three months of which 8 are migrainous and in the absence of medication
Hemiplegic migraine
This is a very rare form of migraine that is considered to be one of the more severe types of migraine It has been linked to a genetic abnormality and it is being more readily diagnosed by the medical profession in the UK. Symptoms include temporary paralysis down one side of the body, which can last for several days.

It can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as ataxia, coma, epileptic seizures, vertigo or difficulty walking, double vision or blindness, hearing impairment, numbness around the mouth leading to trouble speaking or swallowing. These symptoms are often associated with a severe one-sided headache.

This form of migraine may be confused with a stroke, but the effects are usually fully reversible.

There are two types of hemiplegic migraine:

Familial hemiplegic migraine is where migraine attacks occur in two or more people in the same family and every individual experiences weakness on one side of the body as a symptom with their migraine. In about 50% of these families, a chromosome defect may be found on chromosome 19 or on chromosome 1 and involves abnormal calcium channels.

Sporadic hemiplegic migraine  is where someone experiences all the physical symptoms of familial hemiplegic migraine but doesn’t have a known connection within their family. The cause of this type of hemiplegic migraine is unknown; some are due to new or so called ‘sporadic’ gene mutations.

You should not take triptans if you have this type of headache.
Hormonal migraine
Female migraineurs tend to be more susceptible to an attack around the time of their period and menstrual migraine is defined as occurring within two days either side of the first day of a period and at no other time.

Hormonal factors are one of many triggers for migraine and attacks may be prevented if other triggers are avoided around the time of their period for female migraineurs
Ice Pick Migraine
These migraines are characterised by quick stabs of piercing head pain. The pain occurs intermittently in several locations in the head area. They usually occur between one of the more common migraine attacks. They can last for seconds or a few minutes
Migraine in children
Migraine in children may be similar to adult presentations and include headache, with or without aura, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and relief with sleep. However, several variations of migraine are unique to children and rarely if ever occur in adults. Migraine may present with prominent nonheadache symptoms in young children (migraine without headache), or neurologic symptoms (aura) may be much more prominent than the headache.

Various recognized childhood syndromes assumed to be pathophysiologically related to migraine include benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood, abdominal migraine, cyclic vomiting of childhood, and acute confusional migraine (acute confusional state). Basilar migraine (particularly in adolescent girls) may present with prominent dizziness and near-syncope and/or syncope with or without a subsequent headache. Hemiplegic migraine (usually an autosomal dominant disorder) may present in early childhood and occasionally may continue into adulthood. Ophthalmoplegic migraine also may occur in childhood.
Nocturnal Migraine
Many patients who have migraine will experience their attacks during the middle of the night or early morning hours. This headache often awakens the patient from sleep. Recent evidence suggests that these attacks are related to changes in neurotransmitters in the brain during sleep.
Ocular / opthalmoplegic migraine
This is another rare form of migraine with pain often experienced around the eye, causing droopiness, redness of the eye and excessive watering. It can last from a few days to a few months. It can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and double vision.

There may be paralysis in the muscles surrounding the eye. If these symptoms occur, you should seek immediate medical attention because the symptoms can be caused by pressure on the nerves behind the eye.
Retinal migraine
Another rare migraine, the retinal type starts with a temporary, partial, or complete loss of vision in one eye. It is followed by a dull ache behind that eye that may spread to the rest of the head.

During some episodes, the visual loss may occur with no headache and at other times throbbing headache on the same side of the head as the visual loss may occur, accompanied by severe light sensitivity and/or nausea. After each episode, normal vision returns.

Retinal migraine is a different disease than scintillating scotoma, which is a visual anomaly caused by spreading depression in the occipital cortex, at the back of the brain, not in the eyes nor any component thereof, such as the retinas. Such a scintillating aura affects both eyes, and sufferers may see flashes of light; zigzagging patterns; blind spots; and shimmering spots or stars. In contrast, retinal migraine involves repeated bouts of temporary diminished vision or blindness in one eye.

A Migraine is NOT just a headache and neither is it a hangover…. (UK Migraine Awareness Week)

migraine (1)Migraine does not take into account your creed, colour, education or social status….. it effects everyone – any age, any background…….

A few facts:

  • It is the most prevalent neurological condition in the UK
  • 1 in 7 people in the UK suffer from migraine.
  • 190,000 migraine attacks everyday in the UK
  • It costs the UK around £2.25 billion per annum.
  • It is estimated that 10% of schoolchildren have migraine.

Source:(Migraine Action 2011)

Yet it remains one of the least understood illness and still carries a stigma….

How many times have you or someone you know rung in sick after a night of partying…….. sighting you have a migraine?

Do you have any idea how many people this white lie insults?

A hangover is NOT a migraine attack…….. Can you imagine ever calling in sick and saying you cannot come in as you have had a minor stroke ? No… thought so…….

Having a true migraine attack hurts…….. really hurts……. on a physical and emotional level.

Imagine you are walking down a road and a dark spot appears in the corner of your eye…….. its there but not quite clear just yet……..but with each step it grows……and is now blocking the view of the world – all you see is flashing light, snow dots and squiggles…. wooh the panic is starting (Are you going blind?).. but wait your hand is numb…….(what is going on?)……this spreads to your arm………numbness and tingling….travelling to your face……..(Oh have you just been to the dentist? – you know you have felt that numbness before)…. then as you struggle to see and to walk you start to sway …..(oh are you on that roller-coaster?)…….the one which has thrown you upside down….round and round..you do not known which is up or down anymore… your tummy is churning, your head is spinning, the world is spinning too, you cannot stand up..you cannot see, you cannot think….(are you out of control?)…. Add in that bad seafood from last night……sickness is brewing..churning in your tummy…. lumps in your throat… you know your going to throw up… but still the world is turning.. you cannot think straight and look up and all you can see still is the flashing light, dots, squiggles……… a land of patchwork bubble bee sight……. your ears are stinging with the smallest of sounds……. light burns into your eyes…….the panic grows…….. the anxiety kicks in……….you want to scream for help……but you have lost the ability to communicate – words in your head just do not come out your mouth…. the room is still spinning…….. the tummy still churning…….. sickness stuck in your throat….limbs still numb….your brain has stopped thinking……. the light burning in to your eyes…….(can this get any worse?)…………. then the horse kicks you in your head from the inside out….BANG… every move BANG………you struggle to stay still… the  slightest  of movements – sometimes even a breath and BANG that horse kicks you again…… over and over……

A Migraine is NOT just a headache and neither is it a hangover…. 



UK Migraine Awareness Week… 1st – 7th September

392687_177781398976664_100002344145948_378200_336187961_nThis years annual Migraine Awareness week runs from 1st until the 7th of September.

Awareness is important and everyone can help with this by educating those around us… you can do this in many ways…

The UK Migraine Charities produce posters and flyers you could display in your workplace, GP surgery, school and local community.

You could join them at a local events.

Make a donation.

Become a media volunteer.

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The Migraine Trust  this year are focussing on dispelling the myth that migraine is just a headache and Migraine Action this year aims to draw attention to and raise awareness of migraine and encourage those affected to get the support they may need. It also aims to encourage others to increase their understanding and support of the disease.

To get involved fully have a look at their websites..



And if you have a blog and would like to share links – please add them here and I will repost and link to as many as I can during the week x


My Botox story features in Essentials Magazine this month

essential front pageessential pg 1essential pg 2The simply story of how botox has helped turn my life around appears in the September addition of Essentials magazine.  In time for Migraine Awareness Week 1st – 7th September.

The story can be read in more detail here

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Bubble Bee of hope….

bumblebee_completeToday I saw a statistic which read “migraine is the 7th most debilitating condition in the world” and I know many will read this and doubt it – its but a number. Some people will read it and will go wow – a few will even comprehend it – but for those with chronic migraine they will sigh and say yes; yet the world does not see it, let alone understand it.

Chronic migraine takes your life away…. but there is HOPE or as I recall my Bubble Bee and Rainbow Days.

I sat after reading this statistic making an Aztec warrior outfit for my now 10 year old son.. I was simply sticking feather to some old PJ bottoms. Then POW the silent tears began to roll, turning  to weeping and becoming sobs – as I was taken back to my ‘bubble bee’ day…. now 4 years ago.

bumblebee_completeI had been in a chronic state of what I now know to be Hemepelgic Migraine for over 3 years by then – yes a migraine with aura every single day for 3 years… and my son then only 5 came home from school jumping with joy as they were all to dress as a bug for the end of term….and he was ‘going to be a bubble bee’…. I smiled sweet winching in pain and weeped then as I do now… he had no idea, as did no one else what a task that was going to be – it was like asking me to climb mount Everest ……… a few years previous a bug outfit would have been something I would have knocked up in my sleep.. whilst still running the house and holding down a more than full time job with one of the world’s biggest professional advisory firms… but now I had chronic migraine.. a genetic neurological condition – which no one can see – yes an invisible illness of pain, confusing, a condition which effects every sense in your body…it stinks – its cruel – it takes those little highlights of joy away – it losses your memories – it locks you in a world of darkness. Yes there are statistics and reports, but unless you have been there you truly will not understand. For its a condition for which words cannot do justice.

At the time of bubble bee – I was at a very low point and struggling with my daily goal to get out of bed and have a bath…. many a day I would mange to run it only to be back in bed exhausted and in pain before it had filled….I lived in the dark, in pain – wishing I was not here. I had seen doctor after doctor and all saying ‘you have had a minor stroke, give it 6 mths and you will be fine’…hmmm… but something in me pushed me on that day… beyond anything I could image… I got angry – how dare this stupid genetic illness take away my ability to give my son his little bubble bee.

migraine (1)Omg I pushed it and pushed it and pushed it…. it took weeks… I could not think straight as my brain was just not working, I could not see from the aura, I could not sew from the numbness in my hand. I could not move from the pain in my head…. I started and I stopped…and started and stopped…. but come that end of term day – I had made an all be it badly hand sewn and newspaper stuffed bubble bee tail and pompom head band for my then delighted little boy… I was in a mess at the end of this. My left side of my body was at the point of paralysis… the pain of the horse was kicking me in my head…my eye sight so full of aura it was like living in a snow storm… but this bloody illness was not going to take away me seeing that smile – I so needed to see him walk into school and I have no idea how I found the resolve to take him myself that day… Through a haze of migraine aura and pain, I wobbled with him hand in hand to the school gate. I was detached from reality and everything was very surreal – but a small part of me was there – watching that smile and has he bounced into school – there it was – “I’m a bubble bee miss” he beamed….yes if I am honest he looked a little shoddy and to at the end of the day his tail had burst and had left newspaper all over the class room floor– but he was my little bubble bee… my happy little bubble bee.

I watched the other mums, some rushing to drop their children off and get to work – high heels clicking – this was just another annoying thing the school had insisted they do… you could feel the stress and the panic to get rid of the kids and rush along – I watched the other stay at home mums in their small groups admiring each others handy work – I even watched a small group sympathise with the lady on crutches whom had hurt her ankle……. I stood weeping in a wave of people, sounds, smells, light….unable to think, to process the surroundings; yet knowing, this happens every day and I was missing it all….. but today I was a mum – an all bit is not quite on this planet one – but today my son went to school as a little bubble bee and yes I – yes me – had done it.

I wobbled back to the car in floods of tears…. as I recalled then and recall again today how much this illness has taken away… I gave up everything, what was the point everything ended the same – me in pain in bed….I lost my job, my self respect… I lost me…..but worse of all I cannot recall my twin daughters as babies, I cannot remember their first smile, their first words or their first steps.. I do not recall my sons first day at school, I know birthday’s and Christmas’s happened and I helped a bit – but I have no recall – I have never done those things ‘normal’ mums do – like help in the class room or the school fêtes…. god years ago I was an events manager – a school fête would have been peanuts…. yet now I never lasted a whole day on a day out.. let alone help to organise one.

I of course fell in to bed for weeks after this – but came out of it with the strength to try once again to find out why I was so ill…this surely could not be a minor stroke – that the famous words of “give it 6 mths and you will be ok”…. this had to be something else…… this little bubble bee day pushed me to go back to the doctors and insist we try again to find an answer.bumblebee_complete

BUT today 5 years on. I am now a single mum of four and at the point where I do the school runs everyday and yes I still stand on my own away from the crowds – but I am there. And yes I weep as I make this Aztec outfit for the same child…. but it has finally pushed me to write this day up – and tell this story as a beacon of HOPE for all those whom are there now – locked in that land of migraine hell – daily pain and auras – which no one can see.

There is no magic pill – I so wish there was – but slowly – very slowly you can get through this. Baby steps do not even come into it – its tiny weeny millimetre steps – but they all add up. You hear people say one day at a time – but when your there its one hour at a time – I know – I truly do.

And with all my heart I wish everyone has a Bubble Bee day – a day which tips the balance and provides the strength to somehow start a journey of recovery.

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