Health & Fitness

Migraine and Brain Regions

Kristen Sparrow • March 11, 2014


Woman with Headache
Acupuncture Helps With Migraines

The reason I’m citing this article is that acupuncture acts on the limbic system.  Migraine, preceded by cortical spreading depression, shows increased connectivity in the limbic/viscerosensory network.  This may give rationale for acupuncture’s effectiveness in some migraine cases.

Cephalalgia. 2013 Nov;33(15):1264-8. doi: 10.1177/0333102413490344. Epub 2013 May 29.
The missing link: enhanced functional connectivity between amygdala and visceroceptive cortex in migraine.
Hadjikhani N1, Ward N, Boshyan J, Napadow V, Maeda Y, Truini A, Caramia F, Tinelli E, Mainero C.

Migraine is a neurovascular disorder in which altered functional connectivity between pain-modulating circuits and the limbic system may play a role. Cortical spreading depression (CSD), which underlies migraine aura (MWA), induces C-fos expression in the amygdala. The role of CSD and amygdala connectivity in migraine without aura (MwoA) is less clear and may differentiate migraine from other chronic pain disorders.
METHODS:Using resting-state functional MRI, we compared functional connectivity between the amygdala and the cortex in MWA and MWoA patients as well as in healthy subjects and in two other chronic pain conditions not associated with CSD: trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
RESULTS:Amygdala connectivity in both MWA and MWoA was increased to the visceroceptive insula relative to all other groups examined.
CONCLUSION: The observed increased connectivity within the limbic/viscerosensory network, present only in migraineurs, adds to the evidence of a neurolimbic pain network dysfunction and may reflect repetitive episodes of CSD leading to the development of migraine pain.