Corona year and migraine attacks: Many women and men are familiar with the pain called ‘migraine’. One of the main manifestations of the phenomenon is a powerful headache that can affect the quality of life of many. It is estimated that over one million people in Israel suffer from migraines and about 170,000 suffer from chronic migraines.
While migraine is one of the first diseases ever recorded in history, the focus on it continues to develop and expand. It is a real neurological disease, not just a headache but a moderate-high headache accompanied by impaired ability to function, symptoms of a busy neck, nausea and even vomiting, dizziness and blurred vision.
Migraine treatment is divided into two main groups. One – acute treatments that aim to treat an attack that has already erupted and relieve the pain and shorten its duration and the other preventive treatments, which aim to prevent the attack from appearing in the first place. There are pharmacological treatments, including biologic drugs that work on the unique protein involved in seizures, and non-pharmacological treatments, among them a treatment that stimulates nerve stimulation which acts on the pain masking system in the brain, reduces and sometimes increases the pain.
The biologics are actually monoclonal antibodies that neutralize the CGRP peptide or its receptor and thus prevent the inflammatory process leading to migraine. Although the efficacy found in the studies was quite similar to the efficacy of the older contraceptives, the studies and testimonials of patients around the world show that a significant percentage of people had a full benefit, ie complete disappearance of headaches along with a very high safety profile, and without the known side effects.
The corona year was flooded with much uncertainty and a lack of a stable routine. These were challenges for all of us, but people suffering from migraines found themselves experiencing seizures more frequently, and at higher intensities. Everything that has raised the pressure gauge in the past year, whether the move to work from home, closures and changes in guidelines and movement restrictions have affected migraine sufferers and posed more frequent and powerful seizures. One study found an increase of up to 50% in migraine attacks caused by the stress and anxiety that the epidemic flooded.
Statistically women suffer more than men from migraines, they tend to be tested earlier and thus seek appropriate treatment for them for pain relief, but it is important to know that men also suffer from the disease. Most migraine attacks occur in women in their second decade of life, with more than 90% of women suffering from migraine attacks before the age of 40. Men, on the other hand, tend not to see a doctor and therefore do not seek appropriate treatment – and find themselves suffering from poorer quality of life.
Consulting a physician and adjusting the course of treatment may significantly alleviate the frequency of seizures, the degree of suffering and day-to-day conduct alongside the disease.
The author is the director of the Center for Headaches and Facial Pain, in the Neurology Department at Sheba Tel Hashomer Medical Center.
For more information, visit: Sheba Tel Hashomer Medical Center