American Migraine Foundation Facebook Live Round Up — September

Advice from fellow AHS members

In an effort to educate the patient community on the latest news and developments related to migraine and headache disorders, the American Migraine Foundation invites members of the American Headache Society to host 30-minute Facebook Live events on their Facebook page.

Over the past few months, several AHS members donated their time and resources to these events. Rebecca Michael, MD, hosted an insightful talk on migraine with aura. Jennifer McVige, MA, MD, explained how she identifies headache in young patients; Lawrence Robbins, MD, spoke on how headache specialists develop treatment plans for patients; and Thomas Berk, MD, discussed how people can detect impending migraine attacks. Finally, Katherine Hamilton, MD, explained how loss of sleep can be a headache trigger for many people.

Thank you to all the members who participated. Learn more about each of the insightful discussions below:

Migraine With Aura

Rebecca Michael, MD, Neurologist and Headache Specialist at UCSF, defined migraine with aura as a short-lived sensory experience that affects 25% of all patients living with migraine. She advised health care providers to conduct additional testing on patients to ensure that the symptoms commonly associated with migraine with aura are not caused by another severe and life-altering condition such as a stroke. In addition, she noted that individuals with migraine with aura have at an increased risk of stroke, especially women taking estrogen-containing birth control. Finally, she outlined the various types of treatment for migraine with aura and stressed the importance of preventive medications, which can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Watch the full discussion here.

Migraine in the Pediatric Patient

Jennifer McVige, MA, MD, Neurologist at the Dent Neurological Institute, touched on the prevalence of headache in children. Up to 82% of young patients have reported experiencing a headache before the age of 15. In order to determine a child’s history of headache, Dr. McVige explained that she typically asks how many headache-free days a child has every month, rather than how many headaches he or she experiences a month. In addition, she outlined the typical red flags that she sees in children with headache. They include a distinct history of headache, a severe and sudden onset of headache, instability, facial drooping and a low-grade fever. Finally, she stressed the importance of avoidance-based treatments for children, which may include eliminating certain kinds of foods that are commonly believed migraine triggers. Watch the full discussion here.

Deconstructing the Art of Headache Medicine

Lawrence Robbins, MD, Neurologist at the Robbins Headache Clinic, provided an overview of how health care providers determine a strategy for managing a patient’s headache. Dr. Robbins shared that a number of factors inform a patient’s unique treatment plan, including the severity, frequency and duration of their headache, what type of headache they have, and if their headache is refractory. In order to determine the best treatment plan for the patient, Dr. Robbins said that health care providers will also ask about previous medications, including what has or has not worked for the patient previously, family history with medication and more. Watch the full discussion here.

How to Manage Migraine Symptoms in Between Attacks

Thomas Berk, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the NYU Langone Health Center Department of Neurology, explained how people living with migraine have increased sensitivity to smells, sounds and lights, and this hypersensitivity is common between migraine attacks. Dr. Berk advised patients to consider when they are most sensitive to these sensations, in order to better understand when a migraine attack will occur. For example, is a patient the most sensitive immediately before a migraine attack or shortly after a migraine attack? Watch the full discussion here.

The Connection Between Sleep and Headache Disorders

Katherine Hamilton, MD, Headache Fellow at the Montefiore Headache Center, talked about certain sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, that can cause headache. Dr. Hamilton explained that loss of sleep can be a trigger for many patients living with headache disorder. She also offered practical sleep tips for how to get a better night’s sleep, including relaxing activities such as reading and listening to music. In addition, she suggested that patients limit their caffeine intake and alcohol consumption, and keep a sleep diary in order to keep track of how their headache may be influencing their sleep patterns. Watch the full discussion here.

The American Migraine Foundation’s Move Against Migraine Facebook group currently has over 60,000 followers and includes patients and advocates. In order to change the conversation surrounding migraine, AHS members are asked to host weekly 30-minute-long Facebook Live discussions. If you are interested in hosting an event, please fill out this form. Make a measurable impact on the migraine community and sign up today.

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