Vestibular Migraine – Expanded

I have written a few posts about vestibular migraine over the years. Back in 2013, I did a three part series explaining the basics and referencing the literature. Included is a paper written by one of my doctoral students at the time.

More recently in May of 2015, I opined and shared random thoughts based on my observations of patients I suspected to be suffering from vestibular migraine. I observed that migraineurs tend to:  “complain of adult onset motion intolerance and intolerance to external visual stimuli (such as light flickering through the trees when in a car). A major common feature is photophobia (increased sensitivity to light when vestibular migraine symptoms are present). Another of my observations is that these patients do not like vestibular testing very much, particularly rotational chair and caloric testing. They are far more likely to become nauseous than normal or vestibular dysfunction patients.”

Just this past week, I was looking for a better handout to give patients wanting more information regarding vestibular migraine, and I came across this article by Dr. Michael Tiexido and Dr John Cary from Jefferson Medical College and Johns Hopkins University respectively. It is simply the best, most informative literature I have read on the subject, and I highly recommend you click on the link and make a copy for yourself. I think this article would be beneficial to patients and professionals alike. But for those of you who prefer immediate gratification, I will reprint here what I found to be the most interesting passage:

 “How are People with Migraine Different? Evidence suggests that migraine is an inherited problem of ion channels in the brain. This may result in what is best described as a “sensitive brain”. Most individuals exposed to loud noise, bright light, or excessive motion can adapt to these strong stimuli within minutes, but in the brain of a “migraineur” (migraine patient), the strength of the stimulus continues to grow, and a migraine crisis can occur. This lack of ability to adapt to strong sensory stimulation helps us understand why so many patients have migraine headache or other migraine symptoms that can be provoked by bright light, excessive noise, strong smells, excessive motion, and painful stimuli.”

Please add this to your library and send the authors a “Thank you” note for their knowledge and effort in putting this together, and sharing it with us.

Photo courtesy of Vision-Health.com

About Alan Desmond

Dr. Alan Desmond is the director of the Balance Disorders Program at Wake Forest Baptist Health Center, and holds an adjunct assistant professor faculty position at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. In 2015, he received the Presidents Award from the American Academy of Audiology.

1 Comment

  1. I thought i was the only one with vertigo until I read these comments, which are 100percent true,the pills made my head feel like my brain was shaking up and down(tremor),I felt worst when I took it,the dizzies were still there,the place going round and round as I move my head,side ways, I can say I stop vomiting,but I felt worse for 1-2 hours straight,had to sit/stand/ sleep in one position felt.like a robot.9days of discomfort,my blood pressure was sky high too.I decided to do the( summer salt) exercise,turning to the affected ears then face down then sitting up bingo!,I felt water coming out of my nose,I should flush those pills.lesson learnt,saliva in the ears is trouble.

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