By Dr. John Conde Special to The Pineapple More than 30 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches. The onset of migraines typically can occur between the ages of 10 and 40 and diminish substantially after the age of 50, however current studies suggest that migraines can actually occur at any age. Women are twice as likely as men to be affected by this disorder. Cardinal Signs Of A True Migraine? There are numerous types of migraines, classified according to the unique symptoms produced. The typical presentation of a migraine is a throbbing or pulsating one sided (unilateral) severe headache, lasting 4-72 hours, and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and sensitivity to sound (phonophobia). The most common site of head pain is the temple region, extending into the forehead and eye on one side (frontal-temporal). What Goes Wrong In An Acute Migraine? Current treatments for migraines are generally unsatisfactory for most patients due to a lack of understanding of basic neurophysiologic concepts concerning migraines. Exciting current research is focusing on a phenomenon termed cortical (brain) spreading depression (CSD) and on dysfunction in brainstem cells that are involved in the control of pain. Essentially, brain cells responsible for processing vision, sound, smell, touch, and even movement become very active prior to and during a migraine episode, producing symptoms such as light and sound sensitivities. Auras, a neurological phenomenon experienced 10-20 minutes prior to a migraine involving vision, motor, or speech impairments may also be experienced. It is theorized that this spontaneous activity of brain cells is due to an unhealthy state; a lack of oxygen, appropriate food (fuel), and/ or consistent stimulation. Simultaneously an area in the brainstem responsible for controlling head and face pain malfunctions, leading to unbearable pain. New Brain-Based Treatment: How can this information help those who suffer from migraines? Our current understanding allows us to develop a treatment plan that is multi-factorial in nature addressing the oxygen deficiencies, inappropriate nutrition, and lack of stimulation. It is of paramount importance to locate the specific region within the nervous system that is dysfunctional and for this we utilize a diagnostic tool termed RealEyes. This state of the art equipment allows for in-depth examination of eye movement pathology which is a very accurate window into neurological dysfunction. Graded aerobic activity, oxygen supplementation, and prescribed breathing exercises aimed at increasing vital capacity are essential to allow for greater oxygenation. Chiropractic adjustments of the thorax allows for increased rib excursion and greater oxygen intake. One should attempt to eliminate or reduce alcohol (red wine), caffeine, monosodium glutamate (MSG; found in some ethnic foods), nitrates (processed foods such as cold cuts and hot dogs), hunger episodes, and lack of sleep. Some nutritional supplements that may be of value are L-arginine, magnesium, and 5-hydroxytryptophan. Specific brain-based exercises such as eye movement activities (oculomotoric rehabilitation), vestibular activities (inner ear), brain-balance auditory stimulation, visual stimulation, olfactory stimulation, and chiropractic adjustments are essential in stabilizing these clusters of unhealthy cell in our nervous system. A new and promising intervention termed pneumatic insufflation has demonstrated a reduction in patient symptoms and neurological stabilization in the literature. Dr. John Conde is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist. He has achieved Diplomate status through the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. Dr. John Conde is the owner of The Conde Center For Chiropractic Neurology, which integrates traditional chiropractic medicine with advanced neurological rehabilitation protocols. The conditions treated range from orthopedic injuries such as lumbar disc herniations and shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis to neurological lesions such as stroke and brain injuries. The office can be reached at 561- 330-6096 and at thecondecenter.com.