February 19, 2020

The path to migraine relief may actually be through your nose!

What if the root of your migraine pain was not really in your head after all? What if it was tied to a completely different organ located on your face? You may immediately think it has something to do with your eyes since blurred vision, seeing auras, and light sensitivity are all symptoms of a severe migraine. You would be wrong. According to Houston doctor Kevin Smith, your migraine may be specifically tied to your nose! The Houston Chronicle interviewed Dr. Smith about his novel theory and his new book, The Migraine Imposter.

Dr. Smith, who is an ear, nose, and throat doctor, believes that many migraine sufferers are actually suffering from a deviated septum. This occurs when the cartilage separating the right and left airways becomes damaged or otherwise displaced. Dr. Smith thinks that this damaged septum can come in contact with sensitive tissue in the nose, thereby triggering headaches, such as migraines. He encourages individuals to visit a neurologist and get a MRI to reveal if any tumors or other abnormalities are present. If none are discovered, he believes that patients should then get a CT scan of their sinuses to look for signs of a deviated septum. If this is found Dr. Smith proposes a relatively easy and quick procedure that will not only repair the septum, but also possibly the migraine headaches. The twenty minute procedure called a septoplasty has resulted in ninety percent of Dr. Smith’s patients reporting relief from debilitating headaches.

Deviated septums, according to Dr. Smith, usually occur after some type of trauma to the nose. Additionally, he notes that many athletes who complain of severe headaches, but are constantly subjected to damaging trauma may in fact have a deviated septum. Even childhood accidents can lead to a damaged septum. Dr. Smith believes that if more people were tested for a deviated septum, not only would they feel relief from migraine pain, but would also save thousands of dollars on health care every year. Furthermore, individuals with migraines are recognized to have a disability if they are unable to continue working. He believes that more people will be able to continue working if they have their septums fixed and find migraine relief. Migraines are difficult to manage and can cause debilitating pain that have no identifiable cause. Hopefully, Dr. Smith’s hunch is correct and the way to relief is through your nose!

The Debilitating Impact of Migraines and some Interesting Research Connections

As you probably know, migraine headaches can be very debilitating.  The cause of them is still debated in the medical community.  A study released in June, however, has found brain lesions in the brains of individuals who suffer from migraines.  Researchers looked closely at 4,600 men and women over 40 years of age.  These participants reported having experienced headaches at midlife.  They submitted to a brain scan decades after the onset of these headaches.  Researchers discovered brain lesions in many of the participants.  Among the women participants, the risk of brain lesions appeared to be higher for those women who experienced auras prior to a migraine.  The lesions were most prevalent in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for sensory integration and motor control.

Some better news for migraine sufferers, particularly women, is also available.  A recent study indicates that women who experience migraines may be less likely to develop brain cancer.  The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.  Scientists selected 9,000 women participants who had suffered from migraines.  These women were found to be 26% less likely to have had breast cancer.  The researchers believe this may have to do with changing hormone levels; migraines are known to occur after there are drops in estrogen levels.  More research is needed to better understand why those women who suffer migraines appear to have a smaller chance of developing breast cancer.

Migraines are a painful ailment.  If you experience migraines and are pursuing a Social Security Disability claim, then you know just how painful they can be.  There are various medications which have proven helpful.  It will help your disability claim if you can show the SSA that you have tried some specialized medications due to your migraines.

Additionally, the SSA may even look at your lifestyle choices in determining whether you are eligible for benefits. You want to portray yourself as someone who wants to help yourself.  Try exercising, avoiding certain “trigger foods,” etc. That way, if the Social Security Judge asks you what steps you have taken to improve your condition, you can genuinely describe the lifestyle changes you have made to try to minimize the debilitating impact of migraines.