Migraines are a debilitating affliction that affect millions of people every year. People have been suffering from migraines for thousands of years, but it is only in the last fifty years that physicians have been identifying and treating migraines as a specific disease. Many people think that a migraine is just headache, but according to the National Headache Foundation and MAGNUM, The National Migraine Association a migraine is:
"Unlike a headache, the Migraine disease has many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, auras (light spots), sensitivity to light and sound, numbness, difficulty in speech, and severe semihemispherical head pain. One Migraine attack alone can last for eight hours, several days, or even weeks."
-National Migraine Foundation
The misdiagnosis of migraines made it difficult or impossible for people to receive relief or understanding; some people were even considered crazy or delusional. The misdiagnosis eventually gave way to mistreatment and people self medicated with opiates, alcohol or any other substance they could find to dull the pain. As time moved on migraines became an acknowledged medical condition. Doctors began treating with narcotics, then a family of drugs called triptans. As doctors began to learn more they realized that accurately used prevention medications are more effective than abortive medications given after a migraine begins. There are only a small number of drugs that are actually approved for migraine prevention.
There are some doctors working outside of the norm with radical new drugs and inventive treatments. The Diamond Headache Clinic located here in Chicago is the leader of this new technology. Unlike previous approaches Diamond seeks to heal it's patients using a whole body approach. The doctors address, physical, psychological, hormonal and genetic areas of migraines. They prescribe preventive medications combined with abortive in company with biofeedback, exercise, physical therapy and relaxation techniques. What they're doing that is most revolutionary is their combination of and wide variety of medications used.
While other doctors are using the small lists of approved medications, Diamond uses blood pressure, anti seizure, anti psychotic, and anti anxiety medications for prevention. The majority of these medications have never been used outside of their norm, but Diamond has utilized them with great success. For abortive purposes, they use muscle relaxers, steroids, a variety of anti psychotic and anti anxiety medications as well as anti histamines in leu of narcotics. They have also created a cross medicative combination of abortive drugs either as preventives or used in combination with drugs from the same family.
Their use of non-narcotic abortives allows patients to be non-sedated and continue their lives in a regular fashion. They also offer countless options that give patients the ability to choose which they prefer, and which works best with their particular symptoms. These may not seem like ground-breaking changes, but for the people who suffer from migraines, the ability to function normally and the opportunity to choose from a variety of medications, in a world that feels like you are constantly hitting a dead end, are life changing. The way that Diamond has created an effective and individualized treatment shows enormous creativity.