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Migraines Can Mean More Than Just Headaches


In fact, earlier this year the U.S. Headache Consortium released comprehensive guidelines to help doctors aggressively diagnose and treat migraines. Stephen Silberstein, MD, director of the Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, headed that effort.

"Migraine is starting to get more respect, but it still is not recognized [by all physicians] and lot of people are still not seeking treatment," Silberstein tells WebMD.

Doctors know that migraine often accompanies other conditions, such as depression, stroke and epilepsy, says Silberstein. "What [the Launer study] suggests is that migraine is more commonly associated with asthma and chronic musculoskeletal pain," he says. "What this tells you is that the inflammatory process in the lining of the brain may be similar in migraine and asthma; that may be a common mechanism for both. As for the prevalence of back pain, it could be that the pain-control system may be defective in those with migraines and [in] back-pain patients."

Further, he tells WebMD, "Patients who have asthma, chronic back pain, or depression might be having so many problems they may be ignoring their headache."

Lipton's study was sponsored by Pfizer, a company that makes both antidepressant and antimigraine drugs.

For more information from WebMD, see Diseases and Conditions page on Migraines/Headaches.

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