Controlling Your Migraines

Written by AnaLise on March 26, 2009 – 3:34 am -

OK. It’s been a long day and you are exhausted, stressed, frustrated, skipping dinner (not good) and have a 3″ stack of papers that need to be done tonight and the stack is sitting right where your dinner plate should be.

You take out your Exedrin, Tylenol or whatever for migraines and pour yourself a glass of wine. Wrong move! First of all, researchers have determined that too many over the counter migraine pills or other pain pills can actually make migraines worse. As for the wine, it’s not necessarily a good or safe combination with the medication. In addition, if you look at a list of some of the top things that are migraine triggers, you will find that wine, chocolate and nuts are at the top of the list. If you ever find that you get a migraine after you have one of those substances (or other things particular to you that bring on a migraine), think very carefully about whether or not you should continue eating or drinking any of these items. They are most likely migraine triggers.

I am a migraine sufferer who is also a chocoholic. Thank goodness that chocolate is not a trigger for me. It would certainly be an extremely difficult choice! However, wine – especially red wine – is a major trigger. I am not mch of a drinker but I have a glass of wine on special occasions from time to time. We are talking every few months – one glass. For years I didn’t now what was wrong. I would get home from an awards dinner or a gala of some sort and I would end up with headaches that I cannot explain in words. The pain was so bad at times, I had to be taken to the emergency room where they put me on an I V or gave me a strong shot for pain, for nausea and for sleep. When I woke up 10 to 12 hours later, the headache was usually gone, but I was groggy and felt totally drugged.

After this happened a few times, my doctor and I worked backwards and connected the dots to figure out what was triggering these headaches. We finally nailed it down to one or two things, the number one suspect being the wine. I ate all the other foods without a problem. The only problems that occurred were horrible headaches after a glass of wine. I would get stress headaches and other headaches. At the time, the only real migraine medicine was Imitrix. The doctor made sure I had an ongoing prescription and that I carried them with me in my purse and kept some at home. By stopping drinking any wine, most of the terrible headaches – the worst ones – stopped. If I did get a migraine and took the Imitrix before the symptoms got too bad, the migraine never fully developed.

I rarely get migraines any more. I keep my doctor advised as to what is happening and I have a check up every 3 to 6 months. Migraines are critical to discuss with and deal with your doctor. Many people don’t know that migraines can lead to stroke, aneurysm, eye disorders and more.

Don’t write them off. Find the cause. Work with your doctor. Find the triggers. Find the right medicine – there are many more medications available for migraines than there used to be. Work with your doctor to determine a treatment plan with you including which medication works best for you. Your story – and your migraines – could end happily like mine.

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Is Pollution Linked to Migraines?

Written by AnaLise on March 12, 2009 – 3:10 am -

It seems like there are a million reasons that people get migraines. There used to be only a few. Of course, there used to be all kinds of ideas as to what these debilitating headaches are, and finally doctors decided they are migraines, and decided they are also real – not something that’s just “in your head.”

So, there are now more ideas as to what causes migraines. The newest culprits that researchers feel trigger migraines might be high temperatures and low air pressure, according to a large study published online today in the Journal of Neurology. But researchers did not find a clear association between headaches and air pollution.

Weather — especially changes in air pressure — is frequently cited as a headache trigger but it had not previously been shown in such a large, well-designed study.

The researchers, from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health, looked into the idea of pollution as a trigger because fine particulate pollutants cause or complicate other health problems, including heart attacks, stroke, congestive heart failure and asthma.

There were over 7,000 headache patients of both genders and varying ages and ethnic groups in the migraine study, who were seen at the medical center’s emergency room between May 2000 and December 2007. Researchers looked at temperature levels, barometric pressure, humidity, fine particulate matter and other pollutants during the three days before each patient was seen in the ER and for a control day, in which the patient did not report a headache.

Headaches were strongly associated with rising temperatures. An increase of 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees F, as a reader has so kindly pointed out below) increased the risk of migraine by 7.4%. Low air pressure, which often precedes storms, played a smaller role.

“This study points to the fact that changes in temperature are migraine triggers, and that’s something that’s not been known before,” said Dr. Richard Lipton of the Montefiore Headache Center in New York City.

Knowing what can trigger an attack gives migraine sufferers a measure of control, said Lipton, who was not associated with the study. One of his patients, for example, moved from New York City to Arizona because air pressure in the Southwest is less changeable.

Triggers often work together, so migraines can be brought on by a combination of them. Perhaps red wine or chocolate is a trigger for some people. If there are some weather issues and a migraine sufferer has some chocolate or red wine during a temperature change, the results could be more debilitating than usual. More studies are ongoing to look more closely at the weather as a trigger.

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Are Migraines and Fluorescent Lights Linked?

Written by AnaLise on February 4, 2009 – 5:38 am -

Migraines affect many millions of people. They are triggered by any number of things from various foods and wine to stress. Now a new culprit may be added to the list. The new culprit is fluorescent lights.

Researchers have been studying the reactions that fluorescent lights cause. Because the lights flicker constantly, many people claim that the flickering causes them to have headaches. Old fluorescent bulbs used to flicker about 60 times per second which scientists say was perceptible. However, new and current fluorescent bulbs flicker around 10,000 times per second, which some researchers feel the eyes and brain cannot decipher. The individuals who work in offices or other areas that use fluorescent lights and have never had headaches or migraines before they have had to work with these lights definitely disagree with the scientists and researchers who discount or simply deny the fact that migraines are triggered by these lights.

Some researchers who aren’t so sure that fluorescent lights actually trigger migraines, however, the people who are suffering from migraines after sitting under flickering fluorescent lights for several hours are sure they trigger migraines. Some researchers feel that the brain cannot detect the flickering because it happens quite quickly. Again, the people getting migraines feel quite differently.

In addition to migraines, people have reported nausea, dizziness, loss of concentration, weakness, plus joint and muscle pain. Also, some of these individuals get migraines from cell phones, television, computer monitors and other electronics that give off “electromagnetic waves”. Some who believe in the existence of this curious phenomenon even offer a rationale for the effect, usually explaining that our nervous system functions based on electrical impulses and that it is therefore susceptible to the effects of external electromagnetic fields.

If you suffer from migraines and you think they are electromagnetic – emanating from fluorescent lights, cell phones or other electronics, you are not alone, and there is research currently being conducted to figure the situation out and to find a way to stop the trigger.

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Migraines Confused with Other Health Problems

Written by AnaLise on January 10, 2009 – 5:29 am -

There have always been many ideas about what migraines are and what to do to help relieve the symptoms of these debilitating headaches.  Everything from ice, aspirin, and a few other ideas, including somehow trying to get some sleep, have been touted as remedies.  Of course, usually the doctors that suggested these ideas probably never had a migraine headache themselves.

Some of the health issues that migraines are confused for are eye problems, for one.  Sometimes eye problems cause headaches, and often, the misdiagnosis results in the individual getting glasses only to find that the headaches continue.

Often you are told that it’s just a sinus headache.  People talk about sinus problems and allergies as the cause for the headaches, but even with the normal sinus remedies, the headaches often persist.

Hormones are also another issue blamed for migraines.  Sometimes they truly are part of the cause of headaches, however, when hormones are erroneously blamed for migraines, not only are the migraines not eliminated with hormone treatment, but, in addition, the hormone treatment can do harm – long lasting harm – to the body.

Stress is often blamed as the cause of a migraine.  Often, medication is prescribed and may take the edge off; however, usually the headaches do not stop.

Because there are so many misconceptions, migraines can often continue, increase in frequency and worsen over time.  It is important to address debilitating headaches if you have them.  If your routine is disrupted on a regular basis or you can’t stand the pain any longer, it’s time to get help from a professional who is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of migraine headaches.

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The Addictive Nature of OTC Migraine Medication

Written by AnaLise on January 1, 2009 – 11:28 pm -


As if those of us with migraines don’t have enough to deal with besides the debilitating pain and other symptoms of migraines, we are now being warned that some of the medication we take to try to combat those awful headaches is addictive and can make migraines worse, not better.

The problem is that many people who suffer from migraines may not realize they are migraines.  This could be because they have other health issues such as high blood pressure that could be the source of headaches or it could be because they think that their headaches could be due to stress, food or other culprits.

To a degree these may all be root causes of migraines, however, if a person is suffering from debilitating headaches, they should talk to their doctor.  Many people do not discuss their symptoms with their doctor because they are on medication for the other health issues and, as a result, they simply take over the counter medicines for their migraines.

There is a problem with that type of treatment.  These medications are not designed like the prescription medications for migraines, so they do not treat migraines – and stop them – the way that prescription meds do.  Also, the over-the-counter migraine medications often exacerbate migraines and create a situation where migraine sufferers are taking more of these medications more often leading to a vicious cycle of pain.

If you suffer from severe headaches and they are present in your life on a regular basis, it is important that you talk to your doctor and get help.  Have your doctor put you on a regimen of correct medication and also have your doctor help you determine what is causing the headaches.  It can often be as simple as a glass of wine or a handful of nuts that triggers the migraines.  Many patients find that once they have eliminated the triggers from their routine, the headaches either disappear or are much milder and appear much less often.

If you suffer from headaches, make sure not to just reach for the over the counter meds.  Talk to your doctor and determine a way to diminish, control or eliminate them in a safe and non-addictive way.

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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.

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Identifying Migraine Headaches

Written by AnaLise on December 1, 2008 – 12:42 pm -

Migraine headaches have been around for years, only they were not always recognized as such.  In the past, if a person – especially a woman – had a migraine headache, or a series of severe headaches, their family, friends and doctors did not take them too seriously, telling her that things were just not that bad and she had to relax, not worry so much or just get over it.  Sometimes, the doctor would prescribe tranquilizers to “calm her down”.  Either way, there wasn’t much help for women or men who had these debilitating, sickening and painful headaches.

Things have progressed tremendously, especially during the past few years.  Migraines have been identified as a severe pain on one or both sides of the head, mostly around the temples or behind one eye or ear.  In addition to this pain, migraines are also identified by their accompanying severe nausea and vomiting, as well as severe reaction to light and sound.  In other words, you wish you could lie in a cool dark room and not hear, see or smell anything. Many migraine sufferers say they wish that someone could knock them out until the pain subsides, which often takes from a couple of hours to a couple of days. 

Studies show that most migraines affect people between 15 and 55 years old, however, they often affect people outside those age limits.  They can also be hereditary, and are more common in women.  There are current studies regarding the causes of migraines in children and infants, as well.

Migraines can be triggered by blood flow issues, lack of food, allergies to specific foods, lack of sleep, stress during the menstrual cycle, general stress or anxiety, weather changes, chocolate, alcohol or nicotine, bright light or loud noise and/or food additives such as MSG or nitrates.

If you are having ongoing severe headaches, it is important to keep track of when they are happening – including date and time – and what you were doing within the hour or two that they began.  It is also critical to see your doctor and provide this information to him/her so an accurate diagnosis can be made and treatment prescribed. 

With more information regarding migraines, there are various treatments that your doctor can use to help alleviate this problem.  It is possible to fight migraines and no longer suffer in silence.

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What Should I Ask About My Headaches?

Written by AnaLise on October 23, 2008 – 3:49 pm -


Some of us suffer from terrible headaches and have a million questions, but we don’t know if they are the right questions.  Often, we try to just muddle through.

Twenty years ago, there were few choices when battling migraines.  In fact, we weren’t sure what actual migraines were because there was little or no information available describing symptoms, triggers and treatment. 

Today, there is much more information available, and it is much easier to find.  There are organizations dedicated to research on migraines and other headaches.  There are physicians who are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of headaches, particularly migraines.  There is information on the internet, at the library, at many health centers, clinics, hospitals and health departments.  There are homeopathic treatments, relaxation, biofeedback and other holistic treatments, as well as traditional medical treatment and combinations of various treatments. 

So, with all of this information abounding and with places to go and ways to get diagnosis and treatment, what are the most important issues to address and what questions do you need to consider in advance and discuss with your doctor?  There are a number of simple, straightforward questions that can help with your headaches and help determine if they are truly migraines.

It is important to try to keep track of your headache triggers.  What were you doing prior to the headache coming on?  What did you eat or drink in the few hours previous?  Were you under stress or dealing with a problem?  It would be good to keep track of this information in a headache diary.  If you ask yourself these questions and answer them in your diary, the information will be helpful to your doctor. 

Another consideration is to determine if any medicine you take can cause migraines or make them worse?  For instance, birth control pills and other medications can be problematic.  Asking yourself and your doctor the question regarding medication is important – for all medicine, whether prescription or over the counter.  It is possible that a simple change of medication can bring relief.

Another question to ask is what kind of treatment might work.  Is there a possibility that hypnosis, biofeedback or over the counter medicine – including herbs, vitamins and minerals – could help ease or eliminate the migraines?  If not, are there prescription medications that can help me by preventing migraines or by at least stopping them once I feel them coming on?  What are the side-effects and how can I make them as minimal as possible? 

Do I need to make changes in my life, and will the migraines possibly disappear with time?

These simple questions will give you and your doctor good, specific information that could save you both time and frustration, and keep you feeling better and out of pain from migraine and other headaches.

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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.

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The Migraine Pain Center

Written by AnaLise on September 6, 2008 – 3:16 am -

Migraine headaches are caused by a combination of signals that interact between the brain, blood vessels and surrounding nerves.  It is not exactly clear what activates the signals, however, we know that the combination creates serious pain and other symptoms to migraine sufferers.

This is where the migraine “pain center” comes in.  The migraine pain center is like a generator toward the middle of the brain.  It is known that migraines begin when nerve cells send out messages for blood vessels in the brain to constrict and then pulsate.  This is a painful experience, as any migraine sufferer will tell you.

Treatments are available that can diminish or eliminate a particular headache or control the headaches long term.  Many of these treatments, whether in the form of medication, herbs, biofeedback or other relief, are aimed at the pain center.  If the nerve cells are calmed down and therefore, the blood vessels stop pulsating and this should lead to the headache ending.

There are treatments and medications available that will achieve this.  In addition, it is important for individuals who suffer migraines – especially on a regular or continuous basis – to track their triggers.  What did you have to eat or drink right before the headache began, or within the few hours before?  What were you doing?  What kind of a day did you have?  Were you under stress?  Were your sinuses bothering you?  Did you just drive for two hours in rush hour traffic?

All of these are important to keep track of so that you can do the very best thing to deal with migraines: find the cause for you and eliminate it.  After all, the pain center cannot be activated if there is no trigger.

Stop your migraines before they start and give your brain’s pain center a break.

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Find Relief by Identifying Your Triggers

Written by AnaLise on August 28, 2008 – 4:15 pm -

If you suffer from migraine headaches – even infrequently – you probably know how painful and overwhelming they can be.  They can ruin your whole day, or ruin a few days, not to mention, having you feel as though your head were in a vice or worse.  In addition to feeling like one’s head is in a vice, many migraine sufferers have described the pain accompanying a migraine as anything from a knife stabbing the brain, a hot fireplace poker, pressure like that of a trash compactor.

Migraines are seriously painful and debilitating.  They are often accompanied by other symptoms including nausea and sensitivity to light, and are not always able to be controlled or overcome without prescription medication of one type or another.

The good news for individuals who suffer from migraines is that there are numerous medications available that can help.  In addition, many of the medications work in different ways so that once the proper medication is found for you, it will address the triggers in the way that your body needs them to.

Migraine treatment has come a long way during the past two decades.  Where there used to be only one or two choices of medication and those medications either worked or they didn’t, there are choices that include medication and other methods of calming the symptoms of a migraine episode.

One important area that individuals who suffer migraines need to look at is what triggers them.  Researchers and health professionals urge individuals to try to avoid migraines rather than figure out a way to treat them and cope with them.

Some triggers include food and beverages, odors or reactions to other medications or medical conditions.  It is important for migraine sufferers to chart their migraine episodes to track what as happening leading up to the migraine.  For instance, if a migraine happens after a meal, write down how long it was after the meal before the onset of the migraine and write down everything you had to eat or drink.  Keep a diary of your migraines and chart every one you have.  You will likely begin to see foods or beverages that come up repetitively.  These are your likely triggers and by eliminating them, your migraines may be eliminated.

Another essential tool in determining the cause of migraines is to look at other factors that might be present.  Tracking non-food triggers is important.  Keep a diary of your migraines and be sure to include triggers such as stress, smoking and other factors.  Did you have an argument or a stressful day at work before a migraine?  Are you trying to quit smoking?  Did you just have a cigarette?  Are you supposed to wear glasses, but had not been wearing them?  Were you in front of the computer or television for a long period of time before the onset?

Some of these simple questions can afford you the relief you are searching for.  Some migraines can be controlled or avoided by determining their triggers.

If you suffer from migraines, keep a diary for a month or more and look for your personal triggers.  By controlling the triggers that cause your migraines, you may be able to eliminate these unwanted headaches altogether.

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Migraines and the Military

Written by AnaLise on August 21, 2008 – 6:38 pm -

Nearly 8% of all men and 12% of all women in the United States suffer from migraine headaches.  Most migraine sufferers have gone to the doctor and gotten some sort of medication – usually triptans – to subdue these headaches.
Some migraine sufferers use natural or holistic methods to control migraines, and others use a combination of medication and other methods to keep their migraines to a minimum.

Individuals in the military are no exception.  They get migraines right along with the rest of the nation and they need ways to deal with these debilitating headaches.  Unfortunately, they don’t seem to get as much help as the general public when it comes to relieving migraine symptoms.

Recently results of a retroactive study were released involving soldiers returning from Iraq.  The study focused on soldiers with migraines and the treatment that was afforded them.  The results were somewhat surprising and disappointing.

Over 2700 soldiers were screened.  19% (518) had migraine headaches during their tour of duty.  Another 17.5% (476) met the criteria for probable migraines.  This combines to show over 36% of the troops in the study suffered from migraines, which is a number 3 times the amount of the general population.

There are many obvious reasons for this number, though the percentage was not expected to be nearly that high.  Lack of proper, comfortable, uninterrupted sleep is one reason for the higher percentage.  Sleep problems are a huge trigger for migraines, and these are built into a combat soldier’s life.  In addition, extreme heat, chemical fumes, dehydration, pressures in aircraft, and disruptive meal patterns were cited.  The heat in their uniforms alone was also considered a trigger.

These triggers are not surprises.  What was a surprise to researchers was that these migraine headaches were not controlled by triptans, which are the most common medications to prevent and treat migraines.  Of all organizations, the military has access to any medications it needs, and to leave individuals suffering with little or no relief when relief is easily available is not only unfair and unkind, but negligent.   Triptans not only treat migraines by stopping them at the first sign of the headaches, but also by being used on a regular basis to avoid and eliminate migraines.  This means that many of the soldiers who experienced migraines in Iraq (or other places) could have avoided the suffering from a migraine or from migraines that they were having regularly by taking the medication to prevent them.

The United States expects a great deal of its military men and women, especially right now with troops in the Middle East and elsewhere.  It is not unreasonable to expect that the country should take care of the individuals who are called to serve by simply providing them with the medical care that they need. 

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Foods to Avoid and Foods to Use for Migraines

Written by AnaLise on July 10, 2008 – 9:43 pm -

If you suffer from migraines like over 20 million other people in the U.S., you probably have heard many tales – some true and some not – about what foods to avoid so you don’t trigger migraines and possibly a few foods to keep close by in case you get a migraine.  It depends upon the individual, of course, but there can be properties in many foods that actually do create migraines or do help ease them.  No foods have actually been proven to do either, however, there are enough people who suffer from migraines that have talked about the same or similar foods that there may be a link, and it is probably worth it to try them.

According to Keri Glassman who appeared on The Early Show Tuesday, there are several migraine contributors or triggers, such as Tyramine, an amino acid found in aged cheese, wine, chocolate, smoked, pickled and cured meats, eggplant, avocado, raspberries and bananas, as well as some other fruits and vegetables. 

Another big group of contributors includes nitrites, food additives and MSG.  These are often found in Chinese Food, cheese powders, Campbell’s soup, potato chips, frozen meals and some salad dressings.  It is important to check ingredients in these to see if any of these additives are used.  MSG is also packaged under the name of Accent, which comes in a red and white salt-shaker shaped carton.

Other contributors include aspartame (artificial sweetener) which has been shown to make neurons fire spasmodically.  Another strong contributor is alcohol which affects different individuals in different ways. Some people have difficulties with red wine because of the sulfites in it, others cannot drink hard liquor such as tequila or gin without triggering a migraine.

As for migraine relievers, the possibilities are ginger, Omega 3s from fish or nuts, Vitamin B2/Riboflavin, Magnesium and Caffeine.  Migraine preventatives are said to be exercise, sleep, eating and not skipping meals and keeping a migraine diary that will help you determine what you did, ate or drank right before a migraine and see if there is a pattern you need to eliminate.

For those who do not wish to use medications or various treatments, it might be a good idea to give these things a try.  Though not proven, some people with migraine histories swear by these, and you might just find a natural remedy to decrease or eliminate your migraines, just as they have.

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Research, Treatment and Therapy for Migraine Headaches

Written by AnaLise on July 8, 2008 – 8:13 am -

For years there have been all sorts of ideas about what causes migraine headaches, what are the individual triggers, how to diagnose migraines and what can be done to provide treatment or therapy for migraines.

There a new medications coming to the marketplace on a regular basis.  Relief that once took hours or days can now be available in a matter of a few minutes, depending upon which medication is prescribed and which one is the right one for you.

Research is still continuing to find more causes for medications for migraines and more treatments for migraines, as well.  One of the latest studies has been looking at clues to the biological causes of migraine headaches that 15 to 20% of people worldwide are suffering.

The studies which have been done by medical scientists, focus on a rare, inherited form of migraines determined that there are genetic mutations that are connected to familial migraines.  These rare, inherited familial migraines alter the way sodium channels work in the brain.  Sodium funnels and flows though membranes in the brain cells that are part of the conduction of electrical currents in nerve impulses.

The studies, being conducted at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have found various specific cellular events that may cause or trigger migraines.  These events are even more specific to the aura that precedes migraines when people see spots and flashes of light and other abnormal sights and feelings prior to a migraine headache that signals that a migraine has been triggered and is about to take place.

The studies have suggested that it is important to look at medications that focus on and target sodium channels to treat some types of migraines.  Since there are various triggers for migraine headaches, it is logical and important that researchers continue trying to find various treatments.  Depending on the results that the studies at Vanderbilt yield, the results could help a great number of people get relief from this most debilitating of medical issues.

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