History of Chronic Migraines
Migraines are nothing new in human society; skulls that are 9000 years old show evidence of a practice called trepanation. Based on cave paintings, researchers believe that this practice of drilling holes into skulls (which usually wasn’t fatal) arose in response to headaches.
In Egyptian documents that date back to 1200 B.C.E., headache with neuralgia was recorded; in 400 B.C.E., Hippocrates described the “aura” that can signal the onset of a headache; he also noted that sometimes vomiting relieved the pain. He attributed this to the vomiting releasing the bad vapors. Aretaeus of Cappadocia is generally agreed to have discovered migraines in the second century C.E, however, as he was the first to describe a unilateral headache which was associated with vomiting and periods between the attacks that were headache free.
Many different treatments have been suggested for migraines over the centuries, including Medieval classics like bloodletting, hot irons, and even a clove of garlic inserted in an incision at the temple.
Significant advances in treatment occurred in the 1990s when triptans that can relieve acute migraine attacks became available. Although there is no conclusive answer as to what causes migraines yet, many sufferers are better able to control and mitigate the symptoms of their migraines than at any point in history.