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11:27 PM on 02/06/2010
My secret: water, just plain water (not coffee, not tea, not pop, or any other liquid)
I have suffered from migraines most of my life. Most of my relatives have them, too. The one thing that really helped me was drinking more water. I try to drink at least 1/2 cup every hour of the waking day. I keep water next to me wherever I am to remind myself to drink water frequently. I haven't totally eliminated migraines, but now I get fewer of them, and those I get are less severe. When I start to get a migraine (or any headache), I see it as a signal that maybe I haven't been drinking enough water. Sometimes I have a full glass of water and then realize, some time later, that the headache is gone. Try it! It's free (or almost free) and has NO known side effects! What have you got to lose?!
10:03 PM on 02/06/2010
Isn't it interesting how all of the things that the author of the article mentioned may not just be symptomatic of Migraine (other than the fact that he doesn't know the actual number of Migraineurs out there...), but of other co-morbid conditions, including fibro and IBS (hence the food testing.)

Your best test for a food Migraine trigger is to keep a good diary, and figure out what keeps triggering the Migraines!

A good headache and Migraine specialist would test for multiple indicators of things that could be tweaked to change the hormonal levels of the patient If you're going to test for certain things- why not all the common co-morbid conditions? why not thyroid issues? low Vitamin D levels (which, when regulated, can help reduce certain pain- especially chronic pain, and Disease.)

Unfortunately, much as I dream of a "cure" for Migraine Disease, there is currently no cure. With proper care, it doesn't have to wreck lives.

Or cause false hopes to be raised over and over by people who claim to know something about Migraine Disease.

In addition, If you are doing a research article, please don't marginalize me, or countless others.

There are a lot more of us- And how many more remain in the closet, or are Misdiagnosed.

If you take one thing away from this discussion is that "we're not addicted to disease," but PAIN HURTS.

Luckily, we have patient experts like Teri Robert.
09:45 PM on 02/06/2010
I'm wondering about the link with sugar. I started getting migraines when I had a brief problem with low blood sugar because of stress and skipping meals, especially breakfast. I fixed the blood sugar quickly and the migraines stopped for a few years.

They came back a couple of years ago after I moved to the US and my diet changed. I find I get them from reactions to certain foods. For example, sourdough bread brings them on almost immediately... I'm wondering if it's a chemical reaction to yeast or specific forms of it. Certain sugary foods don't help and also skipping meals or not having a balanced diet over a week or so seems to precede migraines. I get them every couple of months when I let my guard down.
Anything can change the nature of a man.
09:36 PM on 02/06/2010
1) I know relatives who cured their migraines by doing the elimination diet and discovering a gluten allergy. That's good advice.

2) By calling something "the principles of UltraWellness," you sound like an absolute crackpot. The name sounds like the kind of snake oil medicine I'd never touch in a hundred years. If I didn't have independent information, I'd never trust a word you wrote after reading that name.
09:45 PM on 02/06/2010
It is not an "allergy " to gluten, but a disease called Celiac, where gluten flattens out receptors in digestive tract and leads to all sorts of problems.
Celiac disease is a spectrum can have severe, or just mild problems.
10:14 PM on 02/06/2010
You can have a gluten sensitivity that provokes a myriad of side effects without having Celiac disease. Most people as they age probably will demonstrate a reduced tolerance for gluten (less enzyme production for one thing to overcome the abuse we give ourselves in our diets). THe gluten in most breads is a very late genetic development, and many humans are not adapted to it. Sprouted grains, or more "primitive" grains usually aren't a problem.
08:51 PM on 02/06/2010
Officially, it is known as a Neurological Syndrome and the predominant theory is disorder of Serotonergic system. 80 % of your Serotonin is in the gut which is why probiotics are a simple and inexpensive thing to try. As I lined out in previous post, cover your bases and do the things that are safe, inexpensive and won't drive you crazy. Do them all at once.
Steven Barnes
Author, life coach, martial artist
08:50 PM on 02/06/2010
Helping someone deal with a simple headache:
Have them close their eyes. In a slow, soothing voice:
Ask them:
how big the headache is.
How much it weighs
What is it's color?
Doe is make a sound? How loud?
Does it have a shape?
Is it moving? Slow or fast?
Does it have a taste? Bitter or sweet? Cycle back and ask them how big it is again. Chances are that it is now a little smaller. Continue down the pattern again and again. Usually, by the time they've done this four or five times, the headache is greatly diminished, or gone.
09:01 PM on 02/06/2010
That could help with a tension headache, but not a migraine.
Cattitude is everything.
09:41 AM on 02/07/2010
I know you're trying to help, but if I was in bed with a true migraine and someone started asking me these questions, I would punch them in the face just as soon as I was physically able to take the swing.
08:10 PM on 02/06/2010
Got sick of spending so much time, money with diagnoses. Calcium channel blocker was best preventive, no side effects. Depakote worst.
Tyramine shown NOT to be a problem. Elevation changes,low pressure systems were triggers.
Fish oil, one a day for magn. and B ,probiotic.
Jump on it ASAP, get to know the prodromal , keeping 2 Excedrin migraine on you. Sleep is effective at shutting off migraine.
Narcotics are bad news for migraines.
Avoid using OTC's so that you have it in your arsenal ,NOT medicating for every pain helps build up tolerance. Pain tolerance is very important for children.
If Advil works when taken early, then it is better than Excedrin Migraine.
Put it on a calendar. One of us noticed it was timed with menstrual cycle.
Caffeine helpful in getting that OTC into the bloodstream quickly.
If really bad, go to ER for shot of Toradol. Narcotics will bite you.
Rebound is big concern. Don't take OTC's for more than 3 days a week.
Do neck stretches as sufferers develop contracted muscles which trigger headache, migraine.
15 yrs,neurologists, allergists, chiro's, etc., reading, only Dr. that ended up NOT being bunk was the neuroscientist at a teaching hospital that said what those other doctors told me was recipe for merry go round of wondering, torturing with food.
Cover your bases. Do the most likely things that are cheap (fish oil, probiotics, one a day, sleep, exercise,neck stretches, eat decently, carry Advil or Excedri Migraine and take without delay).
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08:24 PM on 02/06/2010
Excedrin Extra Strengh always works for me.
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I invented the internet.
09:21 PM on 02/06/2010
I have never had a migraine, but I have known plenty of people that did. Extra Strength Excedrin won't begin to address a real migraine.
Cattitude is everything.
09:27 AM on 02/07/2010
I agree Excedrin in general is excellent for relief from the average headache. But as others have said, for a full blown migraine, I might as well swallow a couple of M&Ms for all the good any OTC product would do.
07:44 PM on 02/06/2010
Yes, migraines are a bundle of symptoms, not a disease.
Yes, the causes of migraines vary from person to person.
Yes, the abortive triptan treatments are ridiculously expensive and have negative side effects.
I went to three traditional medical doctors. They all wrote me prescriptions which drained our Health Savings Account, caused negative -- sometimes frightening-- side effects and left me feeling hopeless after three years of hell.
Seeking alternative treatment, I tried magnesium (oxide). 250 mg twice per day. It helped but didn't get me all the way there. Hormone saliva testing showed what Dr. John Lee, MD, termed "estrogen dominance". The ultimate relief came with the discontinuation of birth control pills and a daily regimen of progesterone cream supplementatation, prescribed by my OB and filled by my compounding pharmacist. Other nagging symptoms, including sleep issues and joint pain, magically disappeared.
I encourage any woman, especially post-partum, to seek out alternative treatment for migraines. They CAN get their lives back. I'm proof.
07:10 PM on 02/06/2010
I feel for all the migraine sufferers out there !

I get them infrequently, maybe 1x every 3 mos.; auras, greyed-out vision, lights & noises hurt, and only lying down in a dark room helps, where I can sleep it off until the next day.

A few years ago I began taking mag supplements, which has really helped cut down on their severity and number. I also got off the pill. However, I still get them and it sucks ! The worst is when you WAKE up with them; there's nothing you can do except crawl to work. I finally caved in and saw the dr. about them, and he prescribed Midrin, which rocks--as long as you take it as you feel one coming on. They do no good if you've already got one. I dislike taking drugs, but Midrin works great. I am loyal to the magnesium, and try not to get stressed--which is a trigger--but the day will come when they go away for good.

One interesting fact: I've read before that kids who got motion sickness as children are more likely to get migraines as adults. That was true for me.
08:12 PM on 02/06/2010
Yes, true for one of us. Kids often get migraine without headache. Ours vomited and got "stomach flu" every time we drove up the mountains (curves plus elevation changes.), then in teens, got hit with full on migraines.
If they tell you it's not working, they made sure
01:39 PM on 02/07/2010
Confirms for me too
Artist of my life, on
06:55 PM on 02/06/2010
I have had migraines for over 25 years. Mostly see auras only, feel a slight throbbing and nausea, but gone within 20 minutes or so. If I don't get an aura, the headaches can be excruciating. Since menopause, these have decreased tremendously, almost non-existent, thank God. I always knew there was a hormonal component because they occurred before my period. Docs didn't listen to that; one told me hormones are always fluxuating and wasn't worth getting tested for estrogen levels! So, then he put me on Imitrex, a lifesaver. Did mention in my later years to avoid red wine, but that was it. One doc put me on magnesium for PMS and that did help my headaches a bit at the same time.

Now I tend to get auras maybe 1x a month or less. No real headaches, and I can associate them with stress if I ever do get one. Hurts on top, right of center of head and sometimes neck muscles. It's great to know there is more research into the cause behind them instead of treating with pills, but I believe most folks just want a pill to pop and not have to do any changes to their lifestyle. Maybe if the pain is bad enough they will finally consider something beyond the pills, but I suspect pills are first choice with the mantra: "Just make it go away!!!"
06:49 PM on 02/06/2010
Dr. Hyman: I do not get migraines, but a good friend of mine does. She has had them all her life. About 20 years ago, she got interested in naturopathic medicine. She started eliminating things from her diet that she said she was allergic to, starting taking vitamin and mineral supplements, and trying to eliminate things from her environment she was sensitive to. Over the years, she has eliminated dairy products, meat, citrus, tomatoes, peppers, wheat, avocadoes, sugar, caffeine, mint, and many other foods. She avoids perfumes, car fumes, cooking smoke, any personal product with a scent, among other things. She spends about $400 a month on vitamins and minerals of every type. The point is, she has been eliminating things from her diet and environment for years and years and the headaches haven't gone away and sometimes get worse. She is very thin, her hair is beginning to thin, she looks terrible, and is always fatigued. She also appears to be getting weaker. I cannot convince her to go to a regular doctor. In the past, she treated her fibroids with Chinese herbs for a long time and they finally burst, and she almost died and needed emergency surgery. I'm interested in your take on this story. If you could respond in your blog, I would be interested in seeing it. Thank you.
If they tell you it's not working, they made sure
01:43 PM on 02/07/2010
Maybe check out Fibromyalgia, which for some includes Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, I seem to have MCS, but not so many of the other components.
06:09 PM on 02/06/2010
My husband has had migraines for over 20 years. He has at least one a week that lasts 2-3 days. He's had every test you have mentioned (allergies, etc.) He's tried every drug. He doesn't eat any of the trigger foods and stays away from artificial sweeteners and additives.

What triggers his migraines are weather systems EVERY time a low pressure system comes through, he gets a migraine. Just about every time it rains or snows, he has one. His boss's mother gets migraines exactly when my husband does.

He just started Lyrica and it has made a HUGE difference in his quality of life. So far his migraines have been less frequent and less painful.

Have you heard of migraines being caused by barometric pressure changes? If so, what suggestions do you have for treatment?
08:13 PM on 02/06/2010
Yes, one of my kids gets a migraine with very low pressure symptoms.
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I invented the internet.
09:24 PM on 02/06/2010
I get sinus headaches (thought they were sinus) when the weather changes, but luckily, simple OTC meds fix it.
05:58 PM on 02/06/2010
Dr. Hyman,

You mostly were addressing women and migraines. Are your recommendations the same for men?

How do you explain cluster headaches? These are not diet related. They come in clusters 3-4 or more per day for weeks and then can disappear for years.
03:21 AM on 02/07/2010
There have been some successful studies done with psilocybe mushrooms as treatment for cluster headaches. Google for information if it is any interest to you.
11:20 AM on 02/07/2010
Thanks, I will check it out.
05:54 PM on 02/06/2010
I've had migraines since I was a child. Sinus migraines, tension migraines, food-related migraines...
as one doctor at a Headache Clinic told me, I am a "headache person." When Imitrex came on the market, it helped to abort some of the headaches; now, when I know it may be a bad one, I combine an OTC Naproxen (Alleve) with 25 or 50mgs. of generic Imitrex and that generally works. (Treximet, the new, improved Imitrex, simply has Naproxen added to it and is far more expensive than just getting generic Imitrex and adding Alleve.)
I've also stopped eating anything with Aspertame and have started on MigRelief, which is available in Health Food Stores and online. MigRelief has butterbur, magnesium and riboflavin and certainly can't hurt and may help. It is rewarding to see how much attention is now being paid to this horrible condition. The New York Times has had regular Migraine blogs and articles and it helps to know that others are able to share their experiences and possible solutions.
05:51 PM on 02/06/2010
I'm a man who gets migraines, and I have my doubts about a lot of this stuff. I've tried a lot of stuff that doesn't work. Usually I just eat a mess of Advil and cowboy up. I figure if I have to vomit, then I have to vomit. I get fuzzy after the headache for a day or so, then I get ravenously hungry, then I sleep. Barometric pressure changes and chocolate are my big triggers. If i ever get insurance again I'll do that IgG panel to see if it helps my digestion, which is also a problem. the only thing that's ever worked fo rme besides advil is exercising myself to utter exhaustion. Something happens about the second hour into an all out workout, but I'm roo old to do that a lot anhymore
08:20 PM on 02/06/2010
rich, don't wait for the test. Go to Costco (even online) or somewhere and start taking a good probiotic. The probiotic has to have bifidum as one of the elements. Colon Health and Natrols Probiotic Acidophilus Bio Beads both have it and were bought at Costco.