Ever had one?  A migraine headache?  You feel like you want to put your head in a vice grip, lie down somewhere dark and cool, and just go to sleep.  But you can’t go to sleep because your head hurts so much.  Migraine sufferers are not real fond of migraines and neither are insurance carriers.  Looking for health plans for yourself and you suffer from these little demons?  Your health insurance premiums could get an increase of about 25%.  Take narcotics for the pain and tack on another 25%.  Your high deductible health plan will probably help with the doctor visits but any testing could be subject to the deductible.  A great many of the drugs used to treat migraines are not generic drugs and your prescription deductible for brand name drugs would apply.  Sometimes, even if you can afford to pay the health insurance premiums, a carrier may decline to cover you because of migraines.  Geez, and you thought you just had a headache.

Migraines have been around for a long time.  In fact, they may be one of the oldest recorded ailments suffered by mankind.  The web site HealthGuidance offers a brief history of migraines.  Migraine symptoms have been described in Babylonian writings going back to 3000 BC!  The big daddy of medicine, Hippocrates, described migraines in 460 BC.  Egyptians in 1200 BC recommended using a strip of linen to tie a clay crocodile holding grain in its mouth to the head of the sufferer.  One of the more bizarre stories is of Hua T’o who was a Chinese surgeon in the second century.  He used acupuncture needles to cure migraines.  One time he used a needle to carve a tumor out of a patient who had pain between his eyes a canary flew out.  The man lived and was cured of his migraines.  I wonder if the canary was singing with joy to be released from the man’s head.

Modern day treatments are (hopefully) more advanced.  The Mayo Clinic is reporting that “certain antidepressants can help reduce the frequency and severity of some types of headaches, including migraines.  You don’t have to have depression to benefit from these drugs.”

“Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are most effective and likely work by affecting the level of serotonin and other chemicals in your brain.  There is little evidence that other classes of antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are effective for migraine prevention.”  Mayo goes on to say, in English, that Effexor, may be helpful in preventing migraines.