During Headache Awareness Month, neurologist Leandro Calia, member of the Brazilian Headache Society (SBC) and clinical staff at Albert Einstein Hospital, warned that people who usually have headaches head, called headaches in medical parlance, should consult a doctor and not believe. that the disease has no cure. “He has control”, assured Calia, in an interview with Brazil Agency.
The neurologist explained that headache (pain) that occurs more than 15 days a month for more than three months is called chronic headache. “It’s called chronic daily headaches.” Of the four types of chronic daily headache, the most common are chronic migraine and chronic daily tension headache. “Anyone who lasts more than 15 days a month, for more than three months.”
According to Leandro Calia, the big difference between chronic headaches and episodic headaches is the greatest impairment in quality of life for people with chronic headaches. The term migraine should also not be used as a synonym for headaches, the neurologist warned. “It’s not the same thing”.
He said that headaches can be secondary, when they are a symptom of an illness, such as a tumor, meningitis, covid-19, for example. But it can be primary, when it is a disease in itself, that is, there is no other disease causing the pain. “There are hundreds of types of headaches there.” Primary headaches include migraine and tension headaches, cluster headaches (frequent attacks). Calia warned that like other illnesses, like diabetes, for example, primary migraine can be treated. “He’s in control,” he repeated.
According to the specialist, the first cause of loss of a day of work, studies or quality of life is migraine, among people under 50 years old. “It’s not just any disease. It is a disease that significantly limits people’s quality (of life). In chronic migraine, the pain lasts more than 15 days per month. He insisted that the person with a migraine should not treat the condition as something trivial, simple, something or an excuse not to go to work. “People confuse a mild headache with a chronic migraine, it’s hell.” He reported that only 30-40% of chronic migraine sufferers have a formal contract because they can’t keep a job with pain that lasts more than 15 days a month.
The importance of awareness on the subject can be assessed by the following data, said Leandro Calia. Migraine alone affects 16% of women and between 4% and 5% of men, which means that 20% of the world’s population suffers from migraine. If we consider chronic migraine, which lasts more than 15 days of pain per month, for at least three months or more, the number reaches between 1% and 2% of the world’s population. This means that for every 100 people, one or two suffer from this disease.
Calia said there is a stigma, or prejudice, in relation to migraine, against women, because migraine attacks the female population more. He also recalled that the leading cause of disability in people who stop going to work or studying, in the world, is low back pain. “But low back pain is a condition that stems from several diseases. Hundreds of diseases cause lower back pain in any age group. The second cause is migraine. But considering those under 50, migraine becomes the leading cause, with economic impacts. “It’s a global problem.”
In Brazil, 2% of the population suffers from chronic migraine, while 20% to 25% have a migraine that does not last 15 days a month of pain, for more than three months. “If it’s 10 to 12 days, it’s not called chronic,” Calia warned. To treat the pain the day it arises, the specialists carry out a rescue treatment with analgesics.
However, he explained that “treating is not having pain. Treating migraine means controlling headache attacks so that they do not occur”. This is called preventive treatment. “It’s the only treatment that deserves the name.” You have to treat it so that pain does not occur.
“Today, there are injectable drugs, administered at points in the frontal, occipital (back of the head), temporal and posterior regions of the neck, which relax the muscles. In this way, it prevents neurotransmitters from transmitting pain signals to the muscle. , reducing the perception by the central system”, added the neurologist and neuropediatrician Thais Villa, director of the Brazilian Headache Society, and also holder of the Brazilian Academy of Neurology and member of the advisory board of the Headaches of Childhood and Adolescence Committee of the International Headache Society.
Leandro Calia explained that if the person can use injectable drugs once a month to reduce the frequency of pain. It is the control, that is to say to decrease the frequency of the painful days, to decrease the duration of each pain, the intensity of the pain, to increase the positive effect of the analgesic drugs when the person suffers. “Even when we can’t stop the pain, with such control, patients are eternally grateful. They come out of hell. Today, there are several treatments”. The big awareness warning is to show people that they shouldn’t fall into the assumption that there is no cure for chronic migraine. “Seek the doctor and get treatment,” Calia recommends.
Anxiety, stress, depression, inadequate sleep routine are conditions that can trigger migraine attacks, which last up to 72 hours. Other important causes are insomnia, prolonged fasting, low water intake, sedentary lifestyle, and excessive consumption of caffeine and alcoholic beverages.