Nancy Gish wrote:
> Migraine is not much touched by painkillers alone before or after it starts.
> But for many people it is stopped by the prescription medication that
> includes a muscle relaxant.  That is because it is vascular, muscular, and
> chemical.  Having had them for years and once for a period of about two
> years every day, I know a good deal about controlling them.  Not
> everything works for everyone.  Fortunately, mine are mainly controlled
> now.

Yes, there are several treatments now. I've been taking Zanaflex for
three years, and it's pretty much stopped them cold. ADs had stopped
them (mostly) from 1985 to 1999 -- and then I developed what at first
wasn't recognized as migraine (on the top of the head instead of around
the eye), and as they grew steadily worse I was ending up in the ER
about every five days. They would come on at around one or two a.m., and
increase steadily (with the dry heaves) until late afternoon. Had I
lived in a high rise or had a gun in the house I wouldn't be here now.

The older remedies could kill. My father overused cafergot for years; he
died of multi-infarct dementia.

And they still don't know what actually causes migraine (and a thousand
different things can trigger particular migraines), even with their
increased knowledge of how they work. I've come to assume that there is
an interconnection between my repeated bouts of bronchitis in the
early-70s, the development of a continuous migraine in the mid-70s (it
had only been intermittent before) and the serious onslaught of
depression in the mid-'80s (in retrospect occurring intermittently since
the late '40s).

The core of it all for present purposes, however, is how little even now
we know about the brain but how much more than anyone knew 80 or even 30
years ago. I can't remember for sure, now, but I think it was only after
the formal identification of PTSD, as Bob says in the '80s, that they
began regularly to connect the shell shock of WW 1 and the combat
fatique of WW 2. And remember the (in)famous case of Patton slapping a
young soldier and accusing him of cowardice. And from the appendix to a
crime novel I read not long ago, I learned that in WW 1 the British shot
several hundred soldiers for cowardice _without_ allowing a defense and
without any record being kept.


P.S. More on _Achilles in Vietnam_: its bookjacket contains one of the
most frightening photographs I have ever seen.