Exercise Triggers Migraine Headaches

Written by AnaLise on December 17, 2008 – 12:57 am -

We often think of migraine triggers as being something we eat or drink, not getting enough sleep or too much stress.  These are certainly common triggers that migraine sufferers are well aware of.

New studies have shown that something that is supposed to be good for us and healthy for us can – and does – trigger migraine headaches.  When we hear about ways that we can keep migraines under control, we are told that staying healthy is a good way to diminish the frequency and severity of migraines.  Yet, one of the healthiest things we can do – exercising – is actually found to be a major trigger in some people.  Running, cycling, swimming or weight lifting are popular, but when they are connected to migraines, they can discourage even the best athletes.

If you are finding that you get migraines when you exercise, there are some things you can do to avoid, eliminate or at least diminish these awful headaches.  Experts – especially ultra runners and triatheletes – state that it is important to stop these headaches before they start by staying hydrated.  It is important to drink fluids before engaging in whatever type of exercise you wish to choose, and it is important to stay hydrated and make sure you replace electrolytes.  If you still get a migraine, experts suggest drinking a 20 ounce electrolyte drink and then drink another 20 ounce electrolyte drink over the next 30 minutes.  Taking those steps plus cutting down caffeine by 50% and eliminating salt can also help.

One other way to fight these exertion headaches is with proper nutition.  This can mean eliminating sugar, sugar substitutes like aspartame, artificial flavors and preservatives including MSG, high doses of caffeine, nuts, peanut butter, beans, aged cheese and nitrates, comonly found in hot dogs and lunch meats. 

Even though you might have to adjust your diet or exercise regimen a little, it will be worth it to eliinate those debilitating migraine headaches.  There is a way to deal with these headaches and still have a busy active life.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in News | No Comments »

Migraine Research Finds Some Answers

Written by AnaLise on December 13, 2008 – 7:29 pm -

Migraines have been around for a long time.  Not many years ago, doctors had very few remedies for a migraine sufferer, especially a chronic migraine sufferer.  They could recommend rest, decrease of stress and aspirin, Tylenol or Advil.  In addition, ice packs were recommended often.  The problem was that most of these treatments didn’t work – and don’t work – against tough, strong, painful, debilitating and/or chronic migraines.

Because of continuous research by leaders in the medical field, such as the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health and The National Headache Foundation, there have been many new discoveries and medications developed and many new uses for existing medications, as well.

In addition, research found ways to help some migraine sufferers avoid a lot of medication and still ease the pain of migraines.  Research has also helped develop various treatments such as biofeedback, which often helps migraine sufferers ease the symptoms without medication or with less medication.  There has also been the development of a number of specific medications that were created for migraines, such as Cafergot, Topomax, Imitrex, Toridol, Midrin, Maxalt, Relpax, Zomig, Frova, Acular, Axert, Anaprox, Fioricet, Orudis, Amerge, Migranol and many others.   Research has yielded a vast amount of choices of medications recently, when less than 15 years ago there were only one or two medications available that were specifically for migraines.  Without continuous research about migraines, there could still only be a couple of medications available to migraine sufferers.

Some of the more recent or ongoing studies about migraines have included researching looking at synapses, neurons, the role of resting MRI’s in diagnosing chronic migraines, the effects of estrogen levels and menstruation on migraines and many other studies and forms of research. A great deal of research is concentrating on neuralogical issues that caon cause migraines, such as issues with misinformation in the brain.

With a tremendous amount of research continuing throughout the country at major universities, medical centers and other heath care institutions, as well as around the world in other countries, there is hope for migraine sufferers.  Today, there is hope in the form of choices of treatment and medications.  Tomorrow there could be answers about and elimination of the causes of migraines and the end of the excessive suffering from this debilitating form of headache.  Researchers have found some answers and by continuing their work, they are finding new answers on a regular basis.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in News | No Comments »

Impact of Migraines on Families

Written by AnaLise on November 10, 2008 – 11:22 am -

We often address issues that migraine sufferers have tot deal with.  They are numerous and they are debilitating.  The pain, the nausea, the sight issues and more can be – and usually are – overwhelming. 

As someone who has suffered from migraines, I can tell you that in addition to the physical issues, there are other issues that can be so difficult to deal with, there is frustration, sometimes depression and often guilt.  We wonder what is wrong with us that doctors can’t figure out.  Are we going to have a stroke and die?  Is the pain ever going to stop?  What am I doing wrong?  What is my family thinking or feeling?  Helpless?  Scared?  Frustrated and Angry?

These are questions we ask ourselves.  However, the makers of Maxalt, a migraine medication, has jut received the results of a survey that gives the answers as to how migraines affect families.

61% of migraine sufferers who took the survey stated that they worry about their families because they cannot take care of their responsibilities during a migraine episode, and the families must take over.  In addition, migraine sufferers cite having to miss many activities including ball games, birthdays and other special activities because of a severe migraine.  They also talk about the fact that members of the family – especially spouses – often resent the issues brought on by migraines.  In fact, there have been many marriages torn apart, ending in divorce because of one or both spouses having difficulty dealing with migraines.

Another issue that came up a lot was the feeling of helplessness that family members have in watching their parent or sibling suffering and not being able to do anything to make them feel better.  Over 50% of migraine sufferers have stated that the migraines – especially over the long term – have led to depression and often to thoughts of suicide. 

Because so many people suffer from migraines and many of them suffer greatly and often, it is important for them to keep trying to find the treatment – and the doctor – that can help give relief.  In addition, if you suffer from migraines and they are causing emotional issues for you and your family, think about a support group or counseling in addition to other treatment.

For information visit www.migraines.org or www.migraineresearchfoundation.org.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in News | No Comments »

New Clues for Migraine Sufferers

Written by AnaLise on October 16, 2008 – 3:58 pm -

The common conception regarding migraine headaches is that people know their migraine is coming on during the aura – sometimes a few minutes or a few hours before the migraine itself actually hits.  Usually during the aura a person will have visual disturbances such as seeing flashes of light, seeing spots and other odd visual issues.  In addition during aura, a person will often feel nauseated and possibly light headed.  If medication or other remedies or relief steps are taken during the aura – especially as close to the beginning as possible – there is a higher possibility that the migraine will never fully develop and the symptoms will subside.

Researchers have now found that it is often possible to receive and recognize clues about migraines 24 to 36 hours in advance or more.  This period, called the prodome, includes symptoms including a warped sense of smell or taste.  Dr. Allen Bernstein, a neurologist in Northern California, says that it is “like a truck coming down the road.  If you hit the brakes fast enough, you can stop it.”

Bernstein’s research has shown that some people start to throw food out, feeling that it smells bad.  Others have gone on a cleaning binge thinking that everything smells like mold.  When tracking how long before the migraine this happened, it was usually within the 24 to 36 hour window before the migraine headache appeared. 

Dr. Bernstein has presented his findings to the American Headache Society and the International Neuropsychological Society.  He usually treats individuals whose migraines disrupt their lives to the degree that they have to miss work repeatedly, miss plane flights due to nausea and vomiting from the headache, and other serious migraine issues.  He says that the hardest thing in diagnosing and treating individuals is to help them look backward 24 to 36 hours and remember what was happening that could be a clue for the future migraines they might experience. 

Dr. Bernstein feels that though a lot of progress has been made in the treatment of migraines, the ability to help individuals see the onset of the migraine 24 hours in advance and use the medication or other remedy at that time will often eliminate the migraine altogether.  He says that his goal is to “teach people to be their own best observer.”

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in News | No Comments »

Migraine Help Through New Procedure

Written by AnaLise on September 10, 2008 – 6:21 am -

Though there are still many questions as to the causes of migraines, there are more answers regarding treatment than ever before.  There are more medications available and more of them have a variety of properties that do everything from relaxing people and acting as tranquilizers to other medications that directly work on the headaches themselves.

There are also treatments that range from acupuncture to surgery, and now there is a new medical procedure that is being studied in trials.  The procedure created by the St. Jude medical technology company and being tested at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Michigan has provided substantial relief to a handful of migraine sufferers.

The instrument used in the procedure is called a PFO Closure System Device.  The way it works is that doctors use the device to close a very small tunnel that sits between the left and right heart chambers.  This procedure had been used by two cardiologists at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital to help prevent strokes in some patients.  When people have small strokes, cardiologists state that part of the cause is that blood clots are bubbled from one side of the heart to the other without being filtered through the lungs before traveling to the brain.  Closing the tunnel through surgery would eliminate this and hopefully eliminate the possibilities of a large or massive stroke.

 The first patient to participate in the trial and undergo the procedure for migraines saw significant improvement immediately.  In a period of time during which she would have had about 30 debilitating migraines, the number of migraines she experienced was only 4.  Before the procedure, she would be so debilitated by the migraines that she worked for only as many hours as she could stand, then go home and knock herself out with medication to overcome the migraine.  She would get up the next day and repeat the procedure.  She does not have to do this any more.

Because of the trial procedure, the first patient in the trial says that she is enjoying life, doing well at work, and even getting a chance to relax because she is not worried about when the next migraine is coming and how bad it will be.

This is good news for migraine sufferers and for the medical professionals trying to help them.  It offers great hope for bringing relief in the near future.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in News | No Comments »

Can Ginger Help Ease Migraines?

Written by AnaLise on September 6, 2008 – 3:41 am -

It is not news to migraine sufferers that there are no real answers when it comes to causes and treatment for migraines.  Too often, when an individual suffers from migraines, especially chronic ones, there are few answers, and too often, there is no support from the person’s doctor.

It is unfortunate when doctors are at a loss as to what to do about migraines and your doctor basically throws up their hands in frustration.  Sure, there are more medications available these days that will alleviate the symptoms of migraines, but there are also many questions about those medications. 

Individuals who prefer natural treatment aren’t always comfortable with prescriptions, however, they sometimes try them when there is no other alternative.  There are worries about side effects and drug interactions.  Plus, not all treatments work for everyone, so it’ a case of hit or miss.

It is estimated that in the UK alone, there are nearly 200,000 migraine headaches suffered every single day.  Over 6 million people suffer from migraines in the UK on a regular basis. 

Research in conjunction with Migraine Action, the national migraine awareness organization in the UK have studied thousands of migraine sufferers and found that ginger has helped relieve symptoms in 63% of the people studied.  Ginger is natural and it has been used for many ailments.  Ginger – as in ginger ale – has been proven to help alleviate stomach problems including nausea and stomach pain from flu, food poisoning and other digestive issues.  Ginger is also said to help control blood pressure, diminish sinus problems and help alleviate headaches, so using it for migraines isn’t a stretch.  In fact, since nausea often accompanies migraines, even if ginger doesn’t stop the headache, it can help with the nausea.

With so many questions about migraines unanswered, and with so many individuals looking for relief from migraines, ginger could be a remedy to try.  After all, it just might help get rid of the pain and help your health at the same time.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in News | No Comments »

Migraines – Another Casualty of Insurance Limitations

Written by AnaLise on July 17, 2008 – 2:35 am -

The list of maladies that insurance doesn’t cover is growing larger, and it seems that nearly every day we hear of something else that has limited or no coverage.  While the list of the “not covered” or “just barely covered” is growing, the other list – of things that most people feel are necessary when it comes to health coverage – is dwindling.  Add to that the fact that monthly premiums for health insurance coverage has skyrocketed to the point where many cannot afford to buy coverage at all and it is a sad state of affairs which leaves too many people too vulnerable for too many conditions that need to be treated.

One of the latest casualties when it comes to insurance limitations is migraine headaches.  Years ago, there was much to be learned about migraines, so these debilitating headaches were treated with various forms of pain medication and/or tranquilizers and muscle relaxers. 

During the 80’s and 90’s newer prescription medications were developed specifically for the treatment, control and relief of migraines.  Sometimes they were used alone and sometimes in combination with pain medication and other medications.  The good news is that now in the 21st century numerous medications specifically for migraines have been developed and are available to migraine sufferers in many places throughout the U.S. and beyond.  The bad news is that many of these medications cost an arm and a leg and are covered in only a limited amount or not covered at all by heath insurance

Some migraine sufferers are limited to ten or twelve pills per month by their health insurance, and, as a result, they have to choose which migraines to use one of their precious pills on, even though they should really be using this medication on every migraine they have.  If they run out of pills during the month and have to re-order, the insurance won’t help, so it becomes an out-of-pocket expense.  The expense for some of these medications is astonishing and migraine sufferers simply can’t afford to pay for them so they continue to suffer, even though they faithfully pay their insurance premiums.

It is unfortunate that now that the medicines have been invented and are available, the insurance companies make it difficult, if not impossible, to get the medications they need.  Are migraine sufferers just the latest casualty of insurance cuts or  will something be done to get better coverage to help migraine sufferers get the medication they need?

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in News | No Comments »