Best Ten Ways To Avoid Migraines

The problem with migraine prevention is that there isn’t just one cause for the headaches. There are very many triggers for migraines, in fact, and trying to avoid them all would be an exercise in hermitry. Who wants to spend the rest of their life living in a cave just to avoid headaches? That being said, there are a few things you can do to avoid migraines and here are the top ten.

1) Cut the caffeine. Among the multitude of products linked to migraines is caffeine. Taking in too much can lead to a headache of monstrous proportions. Unfortunately, it’s not only too much caffeine that lead to a headache, it’s caffeine withdrawal if you’re used to taking in a lot. Best to cut back slowly.

2) While we’re talking about caffeine, let’s also talk about NutraSweet. Aspartame has been the culprit for many people who have complained of migraines. Go in search of why aspartame causes migraines and you will run into what seems like the biggest cover-up since Roswell. Most of what you’ll read hasn’t been proven, but then again neither have the makers of NutraSweet proven that their product doesn’t contribute to migraines. Avoid it and you may well avoid a horrendous headache.

3) There are more reasons to give up smoking than you can count, but avoiding migraines is another reason to put on the list. Of course, that’s easier than said than done if you are the smoker, but remember, secondhand smoke is just as likely to cause a migraine headache as actual smoking. So if you can, remove yourself from the environment in which people are smoking. Better yet: Get them to remove themselves. You do have the right to not have to be around their smoke, especially if their smoke is causing your headaches.

4) Establish a regular pattern of sleeping and waking. In fact, get as anal-retentive as you can about this. A regular pattern of going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time, on weekends as well as weekdays, can do wonders. Many people who have instituted a rigid routine of sleeping and waking have discovered that their migraines disappear completely and forever. Or at least as long as they continue the pattern.

5) Give up the pill and try another form of contraception. Birth control pills and their effects on hormones can be a major hazard when it comes to migraine pain. You don’t necessarily have to go off the pill entirely. Some people have found that merely changing brands puts an end to their migraine misery. If that doesn’t help, however, you may look into other forms of female contraception or, if you and your partner don’t mind, switching over to condoms.

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6) Change your lighting. Very bright lights can often trigger very severe migraines. You might consider using the softer, filmy kind of light bulbs. Or use lamps instead of overhead lights. Or stop using fluorescent lighting, if that’s possible. If you spend a lot of time at the computer monitor, take frequent breaks and get as far away from the pulsating waves of the monitor as possible.

7) Cheese, chocolate and wine may sound like the ideal ingredients for a romantic picnic, but if you are prone to migraines the last thing you may be feeling is romantic following that afternoon getaway. Aged cheeses especially are dangerous because they contain the amino acid tyramine. Chocolate contains phenylethamine. Both chemicals contribute to migraines and alcohol is a trigger as well. Stay away from all three and find other ways to get in a romantic mood.

8) Use body wash to smell good instead of perfume or cologne. Odors and aromas are major causes of migraines and those that make you smell good are among the worst. Keep yourself clean instead of daubing with the smelly-goods.

9) Being an aerobic exercise program. Exercising regularly helps to increase your cardiovascular capacity and improper blood flow is linked to recurrent migraines.

10) Driver or take a train when you can instead of flying. The lowering of cabin pressure on airplanes is a sure-fire migraine trigger and one easily avoided when the trip can be made by alternative means of transportation.

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There’s also more to come – and I keep updating this article regularly. So please keep visiting often to get the latest information!

Don’t Let Frequent Bad Headaches Control Your Life

Imagine a headache so bad that the slightest noise or glimpse of light will increase the already intense pain and nausea you are experiencing-and your only refuge is to lie down in a quiet, dark room. This may be what it is like if you are a person who suffers from migraine headaches. Migraine headaches affect millions of people in the U.S.-including one of the nation’s most famous TV and film actresses, Marcia Cross.

More than 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, which affect three times more women than men. If left untreated, migraines can disrupt your life, even making it impossible to participate in daily activities.

Fortunately, Marcia was quickly diagnosed when she saw a doctor-likely because she experiences classic migraine symptoms, including nausea and visual disturbances known as aura. Yet, despite her quick diagnosis, Marcia struggled with her migraines for years because she was unable to manage them effectively. On one occasion, the pain was so bad that she ended up in the emergency room.

Then, about 10 years ago, she finally found relief. While on the set, she experienced a migraine headache so bad that she had to be driven home. “Fortunately, a woman on the set who also experienced migraines told me about how she found relief with a migraine-specific treatment called Imitrex® [sumatriptan succinate] Tablets,” says Marcia. “That was a turning point for me. I visited my doctor again and he prescribed it for me, too. It worked for me and I have been taking it ever since.”

Since then, Marcia has also learned more about her migraines, and how stress and certain foods can trigger them. Now, while migraines are still part of her life, they don’t control it. “I’m not afraid of them anymore-I know my triggers and how to avoid them. Even so, I still may get a migraine from time to time, so I carry my prescription migraine medicine at all times. I take it at the first sign of migraine pain, so I can get back to my life,” says Marcia.

Today, Marcia Cross is speaking out about her own struggle with migraines with the hopes that her efforts will help other migraine sufferers see a doctor to get the help they need.

“I struggled for several years because, at the time, there was nothing that helped me with my migraines,” says Marcia. “But today, there is no reason to suffer. There are effective migraine-specific medications that can help manage your migraines. But the first step is to talk to a doctor and get diagnosed.”

Diagnosis sounds simple, but it can be a real challenge for migraine sufferers. In fact, nearly half of all people who suffer from migraines are undiagnosed. Migraine symptoms can vary from person to person and from attack to attack and many people don’t experience the classic migraine symptoms-making diagnosis more difficult.

Misdiagnosis can be a problem for migraine sufferers, too. Migraine pain can occur on both sides of your head, and can include additional symptoms like a runny nose, sinus/face pain and pressure, and neck pain. Because patients don’t commonly associate these additional symptoms with migraine, many people may be misdiagnosed with tension or “sinus” headache. This presents a real problem, because misdiagnosis of migraine as “sinus” headache can lead to unnecessary expense, including tests, medications and sometimes even surgery. This can also delay the relief of pain for migraine sufferers.

What You Can Do

If you suffer from frequent bad headaches, there are simple steps you can take to get the help you need. Learning to recognize and explain your symptoms is the first step. Migraine sufferers who are able to accurately report their symptoms are more likely to obtain the proper diagnosis.

Because symptoms can vary from attack to attack and person to person, it can seem challenging to know what kind of information to share with your doctor. But there are tools that can help. “One tool that can help you relay what you are experiencing is the Headache Quiz, available at www.headache quiz.com,” says Marcia. “I encourage anyone suffering from frequent bad headaches to take the quiz and talk to their doctor about their results. Once they get the right diagnosis, they can get the help they need.”

Important Safety Information About Imitrex®

Imitrex is approved for the acute treatment of migraines with or without aura in adults.

Patients should not take Imitrex if they have certain types of heart disease, history of stroke or TIAs, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud syndrome, or blood pressure that is uncontrolled. Patients with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or being a smoker, should be evaluated by a doctor before taking Imitrex. Very rarely, certain people, even some without heart disease, have had serious heart-related problems. Patients who are pregnant, nursing or taking medications should talk to their doctor.

Exploring The Many Cures For Headaches

Many people get headaches as a response to physical strain, cramped muscles, and pinches nerves. These muscular headaches can be brutal, and are usually reoccurring to a very persistent degree. Usually, there is some level of tightness in or soreness in the area the muscle strain is occurring, like your neck or back area.

Because your nerves in that region are all connected and ultimately lead to your head, strain in your neck, shoulders, or back can produce headaches. Usually these kinds of headaches start out very localized, but can often spread over your entire head. Cures for headaches of this kind are difficult, as you have to cease doing whatever it is that is causing the strain, and may need extensive physical therapy to help your muscles recover.

Then there are sinus headaches. These are especially nasty, but fortunately are rarely a constant reoccurring phenomenon. Sinus headaches result from pressure in your sinuses, as a result from allergies, colds, or a sinus infection. If you get sinus headaches a lot, you may be suffering from allergies. Cures for headaches of this type can range from allergy treatments, to decongestants. My favorite is Claritin.

Unfortunately, headaches are one of the most complicated and poorly understood phenomenons in the medical world. Have you ever tried asking your doctor about cures for headaches? If you ask ten different doctors about headaches, you’ll get ten different answers.

The reason why doctors give you so many different answers is because headaches can have so many causes, and a lot of them aren’t really clear. If you get a lot of headaches, the first step you should do is try and figure out what kind of headaches you’re getting. From my understanding, there are a few different kinds.

Last but certainly not least, are migraines; everyone’s favorite and the least understood of the headache family. There are so many potential causes for migraines its not funny. If you suffer from migraines often, like me, it’s a good start to keep a kind of headache log.

Record hours you slept, how well you slept, what you ate and drank, what you did during the day, anything you can think of and see if you can detect patterns with your headaches. If you can’t get your finger on it there’s always painkillers. While they’re certainly not cures for headaches, they are better than nothing.

If you suffer from frequent headaches like me, finding some effective cures for headaches has probably been a personal goal of yours. I know for me it has been like the search for the Holy Grail. I would gladly sell my soul for some kind of magic pill of treatment that would serve as a once and for all cure for headaches.

Headaches and Botox Injections

Most people are unaware that the use of Botox for the prevention of migraine headaches came about purely by accident. It all happened through the use of Botox by plastic surgeons. Patients undergoing plastic surgery, who were also experiencing headaches, noticed that their injections of Botox helped with their migraine headaches.

Botox, also known as botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxin (a toxin that attacks nerve cells). It was originally approved by the FDA for use in conditions where hyperactivity of muscles was an underlying problem of related health and medical conditions. The theory is that Botox weakens or paralyzes muscles by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is an ester of choline that is thought to play an important role in the transmission of nerve impulses at synapses and myoneural (muscle-nerve) junctions. By inhibiting the release of acetylcholine the nerves cannot cause a muscle contraction, thus relaxing the muscle. Botox is administered by being directly injected into the affected muscles.

There are differing theories as to how Botox works to eliminate migraine headaches, but the exact reasoning remains unclear. One theory is that muscle tension and spasms are a cause of migraines and by eliminating the muscle tension with an injection of Botox it will also eliminate the cause of the headaches. If given Botox before the headache begins it is possible to eliminate the headache before it even starts.

When muscles spasm it can irritate nerves that innervate them. When these nerves send signals to the brain in an increased amount it causes pain and possibly headaches. Botox may affect these nerve cells, inhibiting their transmission, causing a lessening of the perception of pain. Many researches think that migraine headaches are a result of inflammation of blood vessels. However, muscle tension may also play an important role in the cause of headaches.

When researchers test a medication’s effectiveness they usually test it through a double-blind study. This means that some patients are given the medication being tested while others are given a placebo. A placebo is an inactive substance, such as sugar, that is given in place of the medication that is being evaluated. Some tests have been performed that did not involve double-blind studies, but showed that Botox could prevent migraine headaches. One double-blind study involving Botox and headaches showed only a small positive effect.

Initial studies may not have shown the full effectiveness of Botox for the prevention of headaches. The injections were not placed in the typical locations of the headache pain, but in areas normally injected during plastic surgery. In subsequent studies, using larger doses and injecting into more specific localities for the headache pain, the results were improved. These tests were concerning migraine headaches. However, with tension headaches, or muscle tension headaches, the studies have shown improved results. This is to be expected due to the weakening or paralyzing nature of Botox on the muscles that are experiencing tension.

When being injected with Botox for the prevention of headaches it may take several weeks before the injection takes effect. For this reason it is usually necessary to have it injected no more often than once every 3 months or so. People that have Botox administered for the treatment of headaches typically need it injected every few months. If there is too long of an interval between injections the headaches may be experienced by the patient.

However, the question arises about the safety of these regular injections of a neurotoxin. Since 1989, when it was first used as a headache treatment, it has appeared to be fairly safe. Most migraine headache medications are taken orally and eventually end up in the blood stream. Because of this common symptoms of migraine headache medication will be dizziness and drowsiness among other symptoms. Since Botox is injected directly into the muscle tissue and does not get absorbed into the blood system as does the typical headache medicine there are fewer side effects. Most commonly, the only side effects of injecting this neurotoxin is pain in the area of injection for a couple of days or drooping of the eyelids for a few days.

Studies are still being performed on this medication and as yet the FDA has not approved it for the treatment of headaches. However, physicians do prescribe it to their patients and if you think you are a candidate to use it you should discuss it with your doctor. If you do not respond to other headache medications it may be something to talk with your physician about. As the studies continue the effects and safety issues involving this medication should become more clear.

How To Combat A Bout Of Chronic Headache

The special thing about headaches is that by outward appearance, you may not appear to suffer from any disease. Only the possessor of this disease knows what it is like to have it! He feels like banging his head somewhere, but to that extent he possesses awareness that he should not damage his skull or your skull when you profusely tender a basket full of advice as to how he should face this calamity, narrating how you yourself faced similar situations in the not-too-distant past!

But if you have a chronic headache, your patience will be tested on a long-term basis! Because this type of headache comes with lots of other irritants, each one of them capable of subduing the cheerfulness that is part of your personality just before its arrival!

Chronic headache arrives with intense pain, some may call it a burning sensation! Changes in skin temperature, color and texture will confuse you! Joint stiffness and swelling also do their job of damaging your personality and cheerful disposition. If you are a man with a “don’t care” attitude who thinks self-help is the best for your headache relief, do this at your peril! If people like you are in majority, majority of the medical practitioners will be unemployed! Do seek professional advice and get yourself examined by an expert!

Chronic headache is a tension-type headache. You know it, and you are suffering from it for the last several months and you are also not much hopeful about the future, when you will be free from it. You are in a state of total confusion; you have tried various types of over the counter medicines, listened to various opinions, without any tangible result! The intensity of the headache is but persisting and increasing!

You have listened to various friends and well-wishers, your file containing investigation reports and prescription papers by the various medical practitioners and specialists is becoming bulky and disgusting to look at, and your own expertise has failed you, but is it fair to still ignore your grandma?

She has saved many “heads” in the past, and will she not do it for you? Note down, what she has to say, even though she had never been to Kashmir (the apple growing State of India): Apples are highly beneficial in the treatment of all types of headache. A ripe apple, after removing the upper rind and the inner hard portion should be taken with a little salt every morning on empty stomach in such cases. This should be continued for about a week. It will yield good results even in cases of disgusting chronic headache.

If not after a week, after a fortnight, do meet this grandma and cheer her, oh, chronic headache-less man!

How To Stop Migraine Headaches NOW?

“The good news is I feel much, much better after taking the course you prescribed and I thank you very much for your help and advice”…?

They are a common type of chronic headache. They most commonly occur in women and usually begin between the ages of 10 and 46. In some cases, they appear to run in families.
Migraine is the cause of 20 per cent of all headaches. This type of headache occurs when blood vessels of the head and neck constrict, resulting in a decrease in blood flow to the vessels. Migraine is usually experienced as a throbbing pain on one side of the head with an associated feeling of sickness and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines are known to affect more women than men and are often chronic. Below are some of the factors that have been identified as being associated with migraines

Do you have?
· Throbbing, pulsating feeling usually worse on one side of the head.
· Pain may be dull or severe and often begins in the morning, gradually worsening in an hour or so.
· Pain may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, vertigo-like feeling and visual disturbances.
· Sensitivity to loud noises and light.
· Commonly lasts from a few hours to one or two days in some cases.

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Medication Overuse Headaches: The Vicious Cycle of Analgesic Rebound

Victims of frequent headaches often take painkillers frequently. And when their headaches occur even more often, they respond by taking painkillers more often, too. After a while, they might notice (though often don’t) that they’re taking painkillers almost every day. In short, they’re taking medicine more and more frequently and yet experiencing more and more days of headaches.

Although the typical victim of this scenario assumes that the headaches are occurring more frequently in spite of taking painkillers more frequently, the truth of the matter is that the increased headaches are probably occurring because of the increased use of painkillers. The headache victim has inadvertently entered a self-inflicted, vicious cycle in which the medications she takes are making her headaches worse and less treatable. This condition is known as “medication overuse headaches” (MOHs). Another name is “analgesic-rebound headaches.” An analgesic is a painkiller and “rebound” means just what it sounds like — a bounce-back. But in this case it’s not a basketball that’s bouncing. Instead, it’s pain in the head that’s bouncing back from the temporary relief afforded by the last dose of painkilling medication.

The MOH phenomenon occurs not only with prescription-strength painkillers, but also with over-the-counter analgesics like aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen. And when caffeine is used as part of an analgesic combination, it can be a culprit, too. The MOH phenomenon cannot be avoided by periodically replacing one painkiller with another. As far as the MOH-generating system is concerned, one painkiller is about the same as another.

MOHs are not rare. In a recent survey of 64,560 people, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim found that 1.3% of women and 0.7% of men had this condition. The prevalence increased steadily from 20 years of age until about 50 years and then steadily declined.

In my community-based practice of general neurology, I find that patients have rarely heard of MOHs. They’re just not being discussed on TV talk shows or in magazines. So how can a victim of frequent headaches defend herself from something she never heard of? It’s tough. And another unfortunate fact is that MOHs are a mess to get out of. It’s better not to even go there in the first place. It’s easier to prevent a MOH syndrome than to get out of it once it is present.

Like other people with pain that is never-ending or occurs in frequent attacks, victims of frequent headaches live from moment to moment with their pain. It’s easy to see how they get into a pattern of taking lots of painkillers. To them, yesterday and tomorrow are irrelevant. All they know is that they hurt right now and they want to do something about it. So they reach for their bottle of over-the-counter or prescription-strength painkiller and deal with that moment’s pain. And the painkiller does afford temporary benefit (otherwise, they wouldn’t keep taking it). But after another 4-24 hours, when the pain is bouncing back, they’re in the same pickle they were in previously, and reach for yet another round of painkillers.

One might think that people with frequent, distressing and disabling pain could recount with great precision the frequency, duration and intensity of their attacks, or provide reliable estimates of how often they have severe, moderate or just mild pain. But, when I interview people who have this problem, I usually find just the opposite. What they want to tell me about is the pain they have right now even though I’m seeing them for the first time for a problem they have had for months or even years. They seem genuinely puzzled (or even angry) when I ask picayune questions like, “How many days per typical month does your head hurt?” or, “How many days per month do you go all day, 100% pain-free?”

Moreover, when patients try to come up with numbers to characterize their burden of symptoms, they are naturally drawn to their “headaches from hell” — the worst of the worst — and discount their non-severe “regular headaches” which they don’t consider to be much of a problem, even though they take pills for them and they occur almost every day. In brief, it seems difficult for patients with MOH syndrome to see the big picture or adopt a long-term perspective.

In any case, the basic idea in MOH syndrome is that frequent use of as-needed painkillers transforms the original headache disorder from whatever it started as — perhaps migraine, tension-type headaches or even a combination of the two — into a condition that is worse. The painkillers swamp the original headache disorder and make it into a new problem with different characteristics. Specific treatments directed toward the original headache disorder are ineffectual until the MOH phenomenon washes out.

And the MOHs don’t wash out until the headache victim stops taking the painkillers and does so on a sustained basis. It can take up to two months for MOHs to wash out. The definitive approach is to do without painkillers entirely. While one can prevent MOHs by not taking analgesics more than 10-12 days per month, once MOHs are present, decreasing the use of painkillers to just 10-12 days per month is probably not sufficient to make them go away. The cleanest approach is to avoid them entirely. And the goal of doing so is to get back to the original headache disorder. Once the analgesic-rebound headaches have subsided, then the original headache disorder can be treated with more targeted treatments (typically including preventive-type medication instead of relying on crisis-driven treatments as the mainstay) with improved prospects of meaningful improvement.

When I discuss MOHs with people who are unlucky enough to have them, they usually respond by nodding their heads. They’ve seen with their own eyes what I’m describing. They’re usually glad to learn there’s a name for what is affecting them and that studies have been done that provide guidance on what needs to be done to get them out of the pickle they’re in. I insist on mentioning that if what they were doing already was good enough, then they wouldn’t have needed to see me in the first place. Or alternatively, if what they were already doing was destined to be an effective strategy, then they should have seen the benefits by now. But because their headaches are worsening, in order to do better, a new strategy is called for.

The program we sketch out together has two necessary components — stopping the painkillers and tracking each day’s headache symptoms with a recording system. The recording system doesn’t need to be fancy, and can be as simple as rating each day’s pain as none, mild, moderate or severe. The important feature is that the patient records each day’s pain experience before the day is done. This tool helps both the patient and the doctor to see the big picture and gain a long-term perspective. Also, each month’s recordings can be converted to numbers and compared with any other month’s results.

Everything else is secondary. Sometimes it is useful to prescribe a “preventive” medicine like amitriptyline, but only if the patient understands that it is not a replacement for the more important change of doing without painkillers. When prescribed, the main purpose of a preventive is to reduce the numbers of migraine and tension-type headaches once the analgesic-rebound syndrome has washed out. The preventive medication is a nice embellishment, but if it distracts the patient from stopping their analgesics (e.g. “That new pill you gave me didn’t do any good”) then it it’s better to do without it until the analgesic-rebound effect has washed out.

Migraine Headaches: Are Pain-Killing Drugs Worth the Risk?

All drugs are dangerous. Before a person suffering with a migraine headache takes an over-the-counter medication they should be asking the question “Is the possible benefit worth the risk of taking that drug?” William Osler, M.D. once said “The person who takes medicine must recover twice; once from the disease and once from the medicine.” Sadly, this can be all too true.

Dr. William Bennett, head of nephrology at Oregon Health Sciences University, estimates that over-the-counter painkillers are responsible for as many as 20% of the 125,000 cases of end-stage kidney disease in the United States.

Some medications have side effects that can be more serious than the painful migraine headaches themselves. Aspirin can cause internal hemorrhaging, or bleeding in the stomach. According to the Dec. 1996 issue of Health News and Views taking Tylenol once every 4 days increases the chance of liver damage by more than 400%.

The main pain-relief ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen which has been shown to cause liver disease. “Tylenol,” as reported in the January 1998 issue of Forbes magazine, “can be very dangerous in doses not much greater” than the recommended dose. In 1989, Lacy Keele, a 5-year-old, took four extra strength tablets in one day, or twice what a child should receive. The overdose destroyed Lacy’s liver. Within a week she was dead. A jury found Tylenol to be a cause in her death.

There have been hundreds of fatalities and serious liver injuries attributed to acetaminophen, Tylenol’s active ingredient, since Lacy’s death. The biggest reason for these deaths is because people “tend to use Tylenol in a casual fashion.” Think about it: You have a migraine headache so you take a few pills. The migraine doesn’t go away so you take a few more. The difference between a proper dose and an overdose is so small that dangerous amounts can easily be ingested accidentally. “No other over-the-counter drug has a more narrow range between therapy and toxicity than acetaminophen,” says Dr. William Lee, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

L.F. Kebler, M.D. once said “Why should a patient swallow a poison because he is ill, or take that which would make a well man sick?” And O.W. Holmes, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Harvard University said “If all the medicine in the world were thrown into the sea, it would be bad for the fish and good for humanity.”

In the September 29, 1996 issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine it makes it known that Ibuprofen kills thousands every year. Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in many pain relievers, including Advil, Motrin IB, and Nuprin, is known as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). People that take NSAIDs like ibuprofen regularly to ease their chronic migraine headaches are prone to gastric (stomach) disorders. Dr. James F. Fries, a leading arthritis expert and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, says “there’s an epidemic of adverse drug reactions to NSAIDs. The FDA believes anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 deaths each year are the result of severe bleeding caused by NSAIDs. It’s a big problem.”

When taking medication to relieve migraine headaches it’s always a good idea to read the label carefully. If you decide to take pain-killing medications for your migraine headaches be sure to follow the directions. Using common sense can reduce your chances of experiencing adverse reactions.

When Is A Headache More Than ‘Just A Headache’?

Do you often suffer from frequent, bad headaches that make you sick to your stomach or sensitive to light and sound? Does the pain grow so bad that you have to miss days of work or time with your family and friends? If so, you may suffer from migraine headaches and not even know it. You’re not alone.

“Migraine pain can occur on one or both sides of your head, but what people may not know is that migraine may also be associated with runny nose, sinus or face pain and pressure, and neck pain,” said Dr. Lisa Mannix from Headache Associates in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Because patients do not commonly associate these additional symptoms with migraine, many people may be misdiagnosed. A misdiagnosis only delays pain relief and could lead to unnecessary tests, medications and sometimes even surgery.”

Michelle’s Misdiagnosis

Michelle Draveski, a stay-at-home mom, suffered one migraine attack after another before being properly diagnosed. When she first went to her doctor, she was told she had “hormonal headaches” and that over-the-counter painkillers should work. But even though she took more than the recommended dose, the pain didn’t go away.

“I remember my worst attack like it was yesterday,” said Draveski. “My oldest son was eight months old and I was struck with the worst headache of my life. I was miserably sick to my stomach. All I could do was lie on the cold bathroom floor with blankets over the windows to block out the light. That’s when my son woke up from his nap. I tried to care for him, but I was helpless. I finally called my grandmother to come help with my son, but she ended up taking me to the emergency room instead.”

Soon after this, Michelle saw a new doctor who diagnosed her with migraines and prescribed a migraine-specific medicine, Imitrex® (sumatriptan succinate) Tablets. Today, Michelle keeps her medicine with her at all times so if she gets a migraine, she can take it at the first sign of pain and go on with her life.

Dawn’s Near Miss

Many migraine sufferers feel as if they’re missing out on life because of their condition. In fact, most worry that a migraine will interfere with a big day in their life. That’s how Dawn Michelson felt when a migraine almost caused her to miss her only son’s wedding.

“It was a special day and I was excited to celebrate with our new family,” said Michelson. “But all the stress of traveling, lack of sleep and a glass of red wine triggered an awful migraine attack. I took my Imitrex as soon as possible and waited for the pain to go away.”

Dawn eventually started to feel better and was able to get back to celebrating her son’s special day. She added, “I truly believe that if it was not for my medication, I would have missed the day entirely.”

You Can Do Something About It

More than 28 million Americans suffer from migraines and about half of those people are undiagnosed. Women make up the largest number of migraine sufferers. Studies show that migraines affect women three times more than men. If migraines go untreated, they can have a huge impact on a person’s life, often making it impossible to carry on with their daily activities.

If you suffer from frequent, bad headaches, there are simple steps you can take to get the help you need. The first step is to be aware of your symptoms, so you can tell them to your doctor. This is important because symptoms can be different from person to person and attack to attack. People who are able to clearly report their symptoms are more likely to get a proper diagnosis.

Also, there are tools available to help you know what kind of information to share with your doctor. One of these tools is the headache quiz, available at www.headachequiz.com. On the Web site, take the quiz and talk to your doctor about the results. Getting the right diagnosis can mean getting the right treatment plan.

About Imitrex

If the diagnosis is migraine, then migraine-specific prescription therapies, like Imitrex, are available for the acute treatment of migraine attacks with or without aura. Imitrex was the first prescription drug in a class of drugs called triptans to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the acute treatment of migraine in adults. Imitrex provides relief of migraine pain and associated symptoms, without drowsiness, for many patients.

Patients should not take Imitrex if they have certain types of heart disease, history of stroke or TIAs, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud syndrome, or blood pressure that is uncontrolled. Patients with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or are a smoker, should be evaluated by a doctor before taking Imitrex. Very rarely, certain people, even some without heart disease, have had serious heart- related problems. Patients who are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications should talk to their doctor.

Why Do You Get A Headache?

Once an employee tendered a leave application to his office manager, reading:

“Due to expected circumstances tomorrow, I am having an unbearable headache today. Kindly grant me two days leave, for today and tomorrow.”

What were those expected circumstances? His degree results would be declared tomorrow; he was certain about his failure- no doubts about it! So, the poor guy was having headache in advance!

The big dictionary gives a brief meaning to the word headache: a headache is a pain that you feel in your head. When the good old dictionaries were drafted, who thought that the kingdom of headache was readying for an awesome growth? This small head has given rise to many types of headaches! Migraine headache, sinus headache, cluster headache, orgasm headache, allergy headache and the good old chronic headache!

Headache is that something which causes you difficulty or worry. Even though suffering is intense and unbearable when you have a headache, you should not get unnecessarily perturbed over it. First of all you have to understand your headache. What is the root cause of your headache? It may be due to the wrong food you took in yesternight’s marriage party. Then you have to bear with it for a day or two. The headache will automatically come to an end. Don’t rush to strong pain-killers and antibiotics the moment you have the headache.

The ideal position would be self-management! Your past experience in dealing with such types of headache will give you some clues. The advice of the elderly, regarding traditional medicines, may at times work wonders! Some times, the pain may be unbearable, but it is worth bearing! After the impurities in the body are flushed out by natural process, for which exercise, your system may take a day or two, the headache will automatically disappear!

Don’t read too much into your occasional headaches, but if they persist or if their severity increases, do not hesitate to consult your family doctor.