We have all suffered from headaches at some point in time, but there are people who deal with problems on a daily basis. Headache is very common, and it is irritating, it affects the daily routine, and is related to stress, diet, and other lifestyle-related habits.
Of the number of people who suffer from headaches of different types, those with migraine (approximately 18% of the population world- wide) experience pain of varying intensity, including incapacitating at times, accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. Some people may experience an aura, which refers to some pre-symptoms like vision issues (zig-zag lines in front of eyes, flashing lights), ringing in the ears, dizziness, etc. Due to this, migraine tends to significantly affect the quality of life of the affected person.
Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher, StemRx Bioscience Solutions Pvt. Ltd. said that with changing times and the presentation of diseases, it is important to change the treatment approach as well. They need to understand the pathology of the condition and not just treat the symptoms. Cell-based therapy is one such modality that utilizes the innate healing potential of the body, and targets the underlying molecular mechanisms of diseases, thereby providing long-term safe and effective results.
“In migraine, there are some disturbances in the way certain cells function, causing swelling (inflammation) around nerves in the head and affecting blood flow. Stem cells and growth factors can target these mechanisms and relieve the symptoms and it is also possible to replenish the pool of cells required for proper blood circulation and reducing inflammation. Thus, since the core pathology of migraine can be targeted by cell- and growth factor-based therapy, we can achieve more effective outcomes,” explained Dr Mahajan.
Migraine is a type of primary headache, which means that the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles in the head and neck region are strained, which may be accompanied by changes in chemical activity in the brain. The exact cause of migraine is not known; however, it could be due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors and tends to run in families. Migraine is the sixth highest cause of days lost due to disability (absence from work) world- wide (WHO statistics).
“Migraine affects people under 50 years of age commonly and women (68%-70%) are affected more than men. Traditionally, doctors will pre scribe pain relief medications and other drugs to control the symptoms. The choice of a drug would depend on the pattern and severity of migraine attacks, properties of the medication, associated health conditions in the patient, potential side effects, cost, duration of treatment, etc. due to which therapy is usually in individualised and multi staged. Nonetheless, the need for long-term medications with no curative effects is the chief disadvantage of traditional treatment,” added Dr Mahajan.
The best part of these new-age therapies is that they are non/minimally invasive, which enhances patient compliance. As there are no medications involved, the issue of side effects also is nil. The source of cells and growth factors is generally from the patient’s own body, commonly from the peripheral blood, fat tissue, bone marrow, etc., hence there is no question of rejection either. The best part is that the results are instant and maintained for prolonged periods. Considering all these advantages, it is time to slowly shift from conventional treatments to a novel, more effective and safe treatment options for conditions like migraine, which will enable patients to enhance their quality of life and productivity.
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