Many people who are predisposed to migraine headaches reported an increase in headache frequency during the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, many people ended up visiting the office of Best Neurologist in Lahore with worsening of headache. Read on to know the connection between COVID-19 and migraine:
What is the connection between migraine and covid-19?
Online surveys show an increase of 60 percent in the frequency of migraines, while 10 percent of people reported the conversion of episodic migraines into chronic migraines. The correlation between migraine and COVID-19 could be due to: disruption in getting timely treatment for migraine due to reluctance to visit hospitals and clinics, and drastic changes in daily routine due to lockdown and quarantine. The latter ends up causing mood fluctuations and lifestyle alterations that end up increasing headache frequency in people with migraines.
Headache and COVID-19
26 percent of people who tested positive for COVID-19 reported headache as their first symptom. In fact, it presented in the first 24 hours in about 62 percent of people. Of these, one-third had a migraine-like headache, and 54 percent presented with tension headaches.
It is postulated that the inflammatory mediators in both migraine and COVID-19 are the key culprits, and they both activate the nociceptors associated with pain. The cytokines and chemokines released by macrophages in migraine are the same that cause headache in COVID-19. These shared mechanisms mean a higher frequency and severity of migraines.
Management of migraine, in COVID-19?
For people with a history of migraines, the medication should not be discontinued if COVID-19 is contracted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that medication for any underlying condition during the pandemic should not be discontinued, and this includes prophylactic medication for migraine.
For management of migraine during COVID-19 it is recommended that:
● Patients maintain a thirty-day supply of prescription medication
● Patients reach out to their healthcare provider in case of worsening of symptoms. Many professionals offer virtual check-ups and consultations over telephones in lieu of personal visits.
● Patients should take steps to manage their stress, through techniques like yoga and meditation as they contribute to migraine headaches.
● Patients should practice a healthy lifestyle like a healthy diet and regular exercise and avoid triggers of migraines.
● Patients should maintain a routine even in lockdown and adapt to the ‘new regular’ to help prevent migraine attacks.
Pandemic and stress
Depression and anxiety are contributors of migraine and must be addressed by the healthcare provider when treating migraine. Social isolation and work-from-home has made it difficult for such people who already suffer from mood disorders and there are chances of increased frequency of headaches and migraine in such people. Even though just about everyone has suffered at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges faced by migraine patients are unique.
Does migraine predispose one to COVID-19?
While the research is ongoing regarding the predisposing factors to COVID-19, there is currently insufficient evidence to suggest that people who get migraines are at increased risk for COVID-19. People who have history of migraine are at risk of other kinds of headache symptoms, even if COVID-19 develops.
Disruptions in medical care
As mentioned before, people with migraine are now reluctant to visit the healthcare provider and clinics in-person owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, there are treatment delays for acute attacks and prophylactic treatments for migraine. In fact, more than 60 percent people resort to, and overuse over-the-counter pain medication for treating acute attacks of migraine. Another factor contributing to the increase in migraine attacks is the medication shortage. Even though the pandemic has disrupted the lifestyle of most people, research shows that it is the migraine patients who are particularly vulnerable and need evaluation of experts like Best Neurologist in Islamabad.