Migraines and Complications: What You Need to Know

Migraines alone can be agonizing, but another problem is that migraines can place the sufferer at risk for other serious conditions in the body. This is just another reason to find ways to prevent and control your migraines.

Complications may come from either the experience of migraines or the treatment of migraines. Your physician should examine you for the conditions detailed here if you believe that you are showing the signs and suffer from migraines.

Complications Related to Migraine Experience

  1. Reynaud’s disease – This is a debilitating condition of the hands and feet brought on by the narrowing of blood vessels. This results in the discoloration of fingers and toes, in addition to painful movement.
  2. Chronic fatigue syndrome – This condition is closely related to fibromyalgia with symptoms which lead to severe loss of energy. Treatment is done to reduce the different symptoms that you have with your doctor’s help.
  3. High blood pressure – High blood pressure results when vessels are narrowed, and the heart needs to pump harder to move the blood through your body. High blood pressure can lead to strokes and heart disease since your body has to exert more effort to keep it functioning.
  4. Asthma – This is a condition that results in inflammation and constriction of the the bronchial tubes. Asthma and migraine headaches share common inflammatory elements within the body that are released during either type of attack. There are neurotransmitters that are common to both conditions, leading a sufferer of either to be susceptible to both.
  5. Sleep problems – Insomniac or sleepwalking (somnambulism) may be a result of the same depletion of neurotransmitters that can cause migraine headaches. Migraines and insomnia result from a similar loss of serotonin and noradrenaline, neurotransmitters needed to maintain health. In addition when you have a migraine it can be too painful to sleep making you exhausted and more prone to other sleep problems.  A sleep study may help determine just how you are sleeping and suggest a course of treatment.

Complications Related to Migraine Treatment

  1. Rebound Migraines – Medications for migraines are supposed to be taken to alleviate the pain. However when you take them frequently it can lead to more migraines. This is especially true when you are taking over the counter medications that have caffeine.  The caffeine causes a rebound, especially if it is one of your triggers.  Ask your doctor to evaluate if you need a lower dose or a more powerful medication that is used less frequently.
  2. Abdominal problems – Non-prescription medicines are tempting to try when you have a migraine. After all, they are easy to get and the last thing you want is to endure that pain for longer than you have to, I know that I carry Excedrin Migraine with me for this reason. Yet taking too many pain relievers at too high a dosage can lead to abdominal problems. Chronic use of aspirin in particular, as well as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can lead to bowel problems and stomach ulcers.  If you are using over the counter medicines make sure you follow label directions and only use when absolutely needed.
  3. Serotonin syndrome – This is a rare condition but still one to watch out for. Certain migraine medications can interact with anti-depressive medications that affect serotonin levels. Drug interactions are serious and may lead to death. If you are currently taking an anti-depressant, let your doctor know immediately if you are also taking medication for your migraines. And, don’t forget to tell your doctor of any natural or herbal solutions you are trying, including those that are purported to lift your mood or help you sleep.  This is very important to pay attention to, drug interactions can kill make sure your physician and pharmacist know everything that you are taking.

Migraines can affect other systems in your body besides your head. Maintaining a good open relationship with your will help you manage any issues that may come up with your migraines.