Your Guess is as Good as Mine
I'm beginning to think that headache pain is simply headache pain, and there may not be an explanation. Don't get me wrong - I'm not giving up on trying to get better; I'm just thinking that trying to find the source may be a wild goose chase!
This got me to thinking, and since my brain is on permanent circuit overload status that can be a dangerous thing. What would I find in PubMed if I did a simple search on 'causes of migraine headache'? Surely I would find some consensus, especially with the plethora of imaging techniques and genetic tests and new drug studies. Instead of consensus, I found no unified field theory of causation, and much disagreement on disease mechanism.
I only went through a few pages (sorted by most recent relevant contributions to journals) and came up with a short list. After review I wonder if what we call "migraine" is actually a catch all for several disparate diseases which all cause similar symptoms by different mechanisms. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult to manage, because there is no real "it"...rather migraine is a loose definition of a entire spectrum of disorders
A couple of surprises were a link to a specific pesticide, association with high levels of air pollution, and mitochondrial damage associated with medication, including acetaminophen. I had migraines BEFORE acetaminophen was ever marketed, so I definitely know in my case there is no correlation to that one. Here's the list I compiled: 1. Patent foramen ovale
2. Metabolic Syndrome
3. Obesity & dysfunction in the orexins pathways
4. Changes in extracellular sodium and potassium levels in spinal fluid and the brain
5. Air pollution
6. Dilation of dural vessels
7. Exaggerated or abnormal neurotransmitter responses to normal cyclic changes in the ovarian hormones
8. vasodilatation provoked by calcitonin gene-related peptide
9. Neurogenic inflammation of meningeal vessels provoked by peptides released from trigeminal sensory neurons
10. Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating peptide-38 (PACAP38)
11. Mutations in ion channels causing imbalance in the activity of excitatory and inhibitory neurons
12. Dysfunctions in the neuronal networks in the brain stem (especially in the serotoninergic nuclei) or the hypothalamus (SCN)
13. Medication induced mitochondrial damage; offending medications include acetaminophen and psychotropic drugs
14. Cortical activation, which disinhibits craniovascular sensation through the nucleus raphe magnus (NRM)
15. Inflammation of the meninges, particularly the dural membranes that surround the brain
16. Mutations of the voltage-gated K+channels of the K(V)7 (KCNQ) family
17. Pesticide Antracol Combi WP 76
18. Cytokine and immune system modifications
19. Nitric oxide and the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB)
20. 5-HT(1F) receptors and/or 5-HT(7) receptors
1. Patent foramen ovale
See what happens when I take pain medication and I can't sleep? I come up with simplistic suppositions of semi-scientific speculation and can't stop the alliteration bandwagon for the life of me!!!
On a personal note, no nausea today so far, so ate a small but real supper (dinner for you city folk). The Belly protested with pain, so I took a Percocet. The pain decreased slightly and I don't feel drugged at all AND so far no hives!! Woohoo! My PCP said this is a low dose, so maybe this is something I will be able to take and still be able to work.
I worked today for about six hours helping look at conversion data for a client, and working on testing some programs. It was very difficult for me as I have no energy and am very very shaky feeling (this was way before I took the Percocet). My boss announced yesterday they have hired someone as a trainer, bless his sweet heart!! I am so relieved; although I have communicated with my bosses about my illness, I have not been honest with them or myself about how difficult it is for me to work. After the last couple of weeks have been afraid that I may not be able to continue and they would not have anyone to do what I have been doing, so I am relieved they have found someone!
Working is almost more than I can do, and the last two weeks have made this even more clear. I love the work I do and the people I work with and the company I work for. I am more fulfilled at this job than any I have had in years. No matter how difficult it is to go to work, I just can't envision my life with out this, but I want to be fair to my bosses too. They have a right to a worker who can actually get through a day without getting so ill she can't continue. I am trying my best to get better, but its not happening fast enough for me.
My mother and family are wanting me to quit and apply for disability. In all practicality, even if I wanted to apply for disability, there is no way for me to survive financially while I wait 18 months to two years for a disability determination hearing. In the U.S.A. [note: opinion not fact] you have a 99.9% chance you will be denied disability on initial application. I wonder what this administrative intensive process costs us as taxpayers compared to the miniscule savings it initiates by discouraging fraudulent claims? A false economy that was implemented by Ronald Reagan for political mileage in the 1980's. Time for this regulating rule to be revisited! And at the same time, make disabled citizens immediately available for Medicare, no 18 month waiting period.