Hello and welcome to the program. I’m your host Neal Howard here on Health Professional Radio. You know, everyone gets a headache from time to time whether it’s a tension headache or the most disabling of all that ‘Migraine’. But when you get frequent migraines every month, you may actually have a neurological condition called ‘Chronic Migraine’. Joining us today to discuss the differences between headaches is Dr. Jessica Ailani, Director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center. Welcome to the program doctor. Thank you. Thank you for having me. What’s the difference between a regular headache and a migraine? So a regular headache all of us have experienced at some time or other. You are running late, you missed your lunch and now you’re starting to feel that pressure build behind your eyes or in your temple. You take something over the counter, it goes away you don’t even think about it again. A migraine on the other hand might start the same way, but it starts to become severe pretty quickly that over-the-counter medicine doesn’t really work so well. And now you notice that the lights are bothering you, sounds really irritating you, stomach is upset, you could care less about that lunch that you missed and maybe you start to throw up after a few hours and now you just want to hold up in a dark quiet room and be away from the rest of the world. If that sounds familiar, then you’ve had a migraine. Is there anything about a migraine other than what you just mentioned to let us know that we’ve got migraine or chronic migraine? The difference between migraine and chronic migraine is really a frequency. If you’re having episodes of migraine once, twice a year or a couple of times a month, over time that can develop into what’s called ‘Chronic Migraine’, that’s when you’re having headaches more than half the month with at least eight of those being moderate to severe with those symptoms I mentioned – the light- sound sensitivity, stomach upset, worse with physical activity, these are the key features of migraine. Is there a preventive measure against migraines? So it depends how often you’re getting migraines, if they’re happening once or twice a year, probably the best thing to do when you get one is to rest maybe take a medication prescribed by your doctor called an ‘Acute therapy’, something to take at the start of a headache to try to get rid of it. If however, you’re noticing they’re happening four or five days a month and they’re starting to become more often, that’s a good time to bring up preventive options, things that will help reduce the frequency of your headache. So preventive to be pills that you’re prescribed to take every day. In the case of chronic migraine, currently the only FDA-approved preventive is actually BOTOX. And BOTOX is a treatment that’s administered by your healthcare provider every three months given in very particular areas to try to reduce the frequency of migraine by eight to nine days left per month. Now when you go to your doctor, what should you tell your doctor to make sure that he renders a proper diagnosis? So I think that’s a great question and part of why I’m here today is teamed up with Allergan is to discuss what kinds of things can you bring to your doctor’s office to help you start that conversation about migraine? First, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. So don’t be afraid to talk about this. It occurs in 3.2 million people having chronic migraines and yet more than 80% are not diagnosed and I think part of the reason for that is people really feel frightened to talk about the fact that they’re having headaches more often than not. Keep track of your headache, keep a calendar. Write down when they happen, write down what you took, did it help, did it not help, did you borrow your friends medication, did you buy something from the internet to try to help? Write all of that down. Keep track if they’re things that might start the migraines – they didn’t sleep well, drank too much coffee, ate a lot of junk food, got your period if you’re a woman, we’re under a lot of stress at work, these kinds of things can trigger migraines to happen. So if you keep note with of all of this and then go and to talk to your primary care provider and provide them all this information say, ‘Look, I’m having headaches most of the month and it looks like these three things can trigger my head my migraines from happening. Can we talk about some options to try to make it better to reduce the frequency of my headache?’. Where can we go online and get some more information? Sure. A great website for getting more information and more tips about how to talk to your doctor is botoxchronicmigraine.com and they can provide you great tips to start this conversation, they can link you with a headache specialist in your area and that’s somebody who focuses their career around taking care of patients with migraine and chronic migraine. Well, thanks for coming in and giving us this very important information Dr. Jessica Ailani. I hope you’ll come back and join us in the future. Anytime. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about migraine. Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of the program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm.