Wow, where do I begin? What a week it’s been. I don’t think that the Migraine World Summit could have packed anymore in if they tried. They covered everything from weather to cluster headaches, genetics, behavioural treatments, therapies for children, pregnancy, supplements, new treatments on the market, neuromodulation, mindfulness and so much more.
This being my first time to the event, I was pleasantly overwhelmed at the range of specialists that they had reached out to, to form the event. All of the speakers were at the top of their respective field and so passionate in striving to make a difference in the migraine world which I found touching to see. People out there really do care about migraine sufferers and sometimes that in itself is comforting to know. Carl and Paula the presenters also made an excellent addition to the summit as their understanding and their own personal experience of chronic migraine made the talks authentic and very relatable.
So I wanted to share with you a couple of my personal highlights from such an amazing and insightful week at The Migraine World Summit.
The first talk I found interesting was Recognising And Treating The Four Phases of Migraine with Dr Andrew Charles. Ok, so we know we have the prodrome phase, aura phase, pain phase and then the postdrome phase. What I didn’t know before is that the prodrome phase can actually start up days before the migraine attack and this can cause food cravings, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, irritability, neck pain and other symptoms. Now take neck pain for example, which I seriously suffer with. I always thought that if my neck tightens up it was my fault perhaps due to being too stressed or having bad posture for example but what I learnt is that this could just be the prodrome phase of the migraine beginning and that maybe I didn’t cause it after all. It was coming whether I liked it or not! So I guess it’s kind of like the chicken and the egg situation, what came first? Was it the neck pain that triggered a migraine or was it the migraine that gave me the neck pain? Interesting huh?
My favourite talk of the summit had to be Using Mindfulness To Fight Chronic Migraine. Vidyamala Burch’s story was truly inspirational and it just goes to show that you can find peace in any given situation and reduce your pain through various forms of meditation. What really hit home for me was when she said she realised that no doctor was going to be able to fix her and that she had to take responsibility for her illness. I went through the exact the same thing, at which point my healing truly began. Personally, mindfulness and meditation have completely helped to lower my pain during a migraine and have also reduced the frequency by adopting a daily practice, so I feel very passionate about the amazing work Vidyamala is doing for chronic pain sufferers worldwide. One statement that she made truly struck a chord with me and I am going to do my best to implement it into my life in the future.
Another talk I found fascinating was Behavioural Treatment For Migraine with Professor Paul Martin. He talked about how a person’s characteristics, environmental factors and relationships can all impact tension and migraine headaches. He suggested trying natural approaches such as relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy and biofeedback. What I found truly astounding was the statistics that he presented from one of his trials. Dr Paul Martin found that there was on average a 68% reduction in headaches after using his natural therapies on his patients, as opposed to only a 27% reduction in headaches after treating someone with amtriptyline which is a very common drug used to fight migraine and tension headache. This is nearly 3 times higher that the pharmaceutical option! 3 times! I know the route I would choose if I saw these statistics. Further to that a year later when they revisited their patients, that percentage had risen to an incredible 77% of those whose headaches had reduced.
So moving on from this what I found so interesting during the event was how for the first time we heard from neurologists and headache specialists actually supporting the holistic and natural route in treating headaches. At no point did either my neurologist, GP or headache specialist at my worst ever, suggest these natural routes to help my migraines. It was only when I hit rock bottom and was told there was nothing left that they could do that I began my journey in discovering this for myself. So to see that doctors are now encouraging patients that they too can have an impact on their migraines due to migraine management techniques is a breath of fresh air to me. I particularly loved Dr Amal Starling’s acronym SEEDS during her talk Natural Methods for Migraine, as it encompasses a whole body approach to managing your condition. If you missed it then here it is:
S – leep management
E – at healthy and regular meals
E – xercise regularly
D – iary for headaches
S – tress management
And finally, what really touched my heart was how many doctors assured their listeners to never ever give up hope. Dr Peter Goasby said “You should be optimistic. Giving up means that the disease has won. If people with this problem don’t give up, then they will beat it” along with Dr Zubar Ahmed saying ” Not to lose hope. The patients that I see that improve the most are those who are persistent and do not lose hope and they are the ones that tend to do the best” which I have also personally found to be true. My unwavering faith that I WILL beat this condition I believe, has got me to where I am today.
How did you enjoy The Migraine World Summit friends and what were your own highlights? I would love to hear from you.
#Migraine #Health #MigraineWorldSummit2017 #Headaches #MigraineAwareness