The latest research indicates how migraines and cluster headaches are typically controlled through the internal body clock, also known as the circadian system.
Results from the study revealed that the symptoms of the 71 percent of patients with cluster headaches and 50% of migraine sufferers were a result of a circadian pattern.
The research may lead to novel treatments, such as steroids and melatoninthat influence our cycle of the body’s circadian rhythm.
If you’re always suffering from headaches at exactly the same time it’s not uncommon.
Recent research has revealed a solid biological explanation for this phenomenon and it has everything to do with have to do with the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian system.
Researchers have published a meta-analysis and an accompanying editorial in the online edition of Neurology The Medical journal from the American Academy of Neurology.
The research regarding migraines and cluster headaches has shown a strong correlation between the frequency of these headaches and the time of the day. the presence of a circadian pattern in 71 % of patients suffering from cluster headaches and 50% of migraine sufferers.
The study’s creator says the findings can help clarify the reason headaches occur at regular intervals and could open the way to new treatment options based on the circadian cycle.
“We have noticed that many patients suffering from cluster headaches suffer from headaches all at once throughout the morning,” the study’s lead author Mark Joseph Burish, MD, Ph.D. at the University of Texas Health Science Center located in Houston within Texas and an active part of the American Academy of Neurology told Healthline.
“I saw one patient who was becoming a bit frustrated with the length of time it took to ask the right questions. They told me, ‘If you just sit for fifteen minutes you’ll be able to see the way my headache appears and what it looks like,'” Burish continued. “That’s how certain they were in the timing of their headaches and it really surprised me.”
The meta-analysis confirmed the findings of Burish and others had already believed: headaches often follow the body’s circadian rhythms. However cluster headaches and migraine had different patterns. Cluster headaches were observed to be more prevalent during the fall and spring and attacks typically occurring between late at night to early in the morning. Migraine however was found to have a constant low ebb and very few attacks in the late evening and a broad peak that ranges from late morning until the early evening.
Burish states that this understanding of when and how headaches happen could provide new ways to reduce the impact from these headaches.
Both cluster headaches as well as migraine were associated to circadian gene. Furthermore, the hormone levels related with the circadian system like cortisol, melatonin and others are altered in patients who suffer from these conditions in comparison to people who did not suffer from these disorders. Patients suffering from cluster headache had higher cortisol levels and less melatonin. Those suffering from migraine were less melatonin-positive.
“Maybe there are additional genes or drugs that alter the genes in these core genes, and alter the circadian rhythms of their patients” the researcher explained. “That’s an entirely new kind of treatment that we can apply to the patients.”
These new treatment options could make use of substances that are well known: melatonin and steroids that both influence our body’s circadian cycles.
“Both of them are already available treatments for migraine and cluster headaches,” Burish said. “If you’re taking steroids in the right doses, it will help to stop both cluster headaches and migraines, and similar to Melatonin. These aren’t the most effective treatments however, it’s still encouraging evidence that changing circadian rhythms can help patients.”
Although it’s not yet time to use these findings in practical treatments, Burish says that the information can help people know the reasons behind why headaches can happen in a predictable manner throughout the day.
“There are many stories of patients who believe they’re allergic to math classes or something similar because of the headaches happen each time they’re in the classroom,” he said. “So this sort of explains the reason why it’sn’t about getting out of the class each the day by 10 a.m. This is how the headache is created.”
The importance of a regular sleep routine and, in turn healthy circadian rhythms can’t solve your headaches disappear. It’s important to understand the mechanism behind this process and how a regular routine will help your body.
Azizi Seixas, associate director of the Center for Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine She told Healthline that the internal biological clock of the body controls the process, and repeats itself every 24 hours.
“Circadian rhythms play an important function in the regulation of many biological processes, such as the cycle of sleep and wake, hormone production immunity function, metabolism and cognitive performance” the researcher explained.
“When the circadian rhythms are disturbed this can result in negative effects on these processes, which can lead to depression, fatigue and health issues such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.”
If you feel that their internal clock isn’t in time, the best suggestion you can follow is create up an unchanging sleep schedule.
“Try to sleep and rise around the same hour each day even on weekends.” Seixas advised.
Another important thing to be aware of is the impact of light on the circadian rhythms. Light that is bright in the morning can aid in resetting the circadian clock, and boost alertness. Avoiding dark light at night will help your body feel more relaxed.
“Avoid engaging in activities that stimulate you before bed such as watching TV or using electronic devices or exercising,” said Seixas. “Creating an atmosphere that promotes relaxation and limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption, especially at night, aidsin achieving. When you adhere to these top practices it is possible to keep the best sleeping and circadian routine that can result in greater overall health and well-being.”
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