environmental factors can affect frequency and severity. While approximately 15 percent of the population is plagued by migraine headaches, hormonal factors make them two to three times more prevalent in women than men. A comprehensive evaluation by a headache specialist can help control your headaches.
In an evaluation, your physician will assess your triggering factors. Common triggers include skipping meals, stress, weather changes, and certain foods. Common food triggers include monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in Chinese food; tannins in red wine; Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) found in diet foods and sodas; and excessive caffeine. Caffeine withdrawal can trigger the headache, which usually presents as an early morning headache or awaken you from sleep. Foods rich in tyramine, such as chocolate, aged cheeses, and fermented products can also be a strong trigger. Other triggers include nitrites, found in hot dogs and deli meats; and sulfites, found in dried fruits, wine, and many processed foods. Slowly tapering off all caffeine and other food triggers, as well as making healthy lifestyle changes, can lead to significant improvement for frequent-headache sufferers.
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A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO TREATING
HEADACHES BY: DR. LORI SCHNEIDER
I F YO U H AV E S U F F E R E D F R O M A M I G R A I N E H E A DA C H E you know how debilitating and frustrating
it can be. These moderate to severe headaches are usually throbbing in nature, and frequently associated with nausea, vomiting, and light and noise sensitivity. Approximately 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience vision distortion. Migraines can also be associated with focal tingling, numbness, weakness, and language dysfunction. During a migraine, most people prefer to be in a dark, quiet room. These headaches are usually hereditary, but
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Your physician will also learn your use of pain medication. Overuse of pain medication, even over-the-counter products, such as Advil, Excedrin, and Tylenol, can convert an occasional migraine headache into chronic daily headaches. Stopping these medications is essential to controlling your headaches. If your headaches are frequent (two or more per week), you will most likely benefit from a prophylactic agent, which could be either a daily natural supplement or prescription medication. Many natural supplements, including magnesium, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, feverfew, and butterbur root, can be effective in preventing migraine headaches. Also, Botox injections can be an effective treatment for chronic migraines. Recently, the FDA approved a transcranial electrical stimulator called Cefaly to treat migraine headaches, which appears to be safe and well tolerated. Aerobic exercise, at least 40 minutes per day, three days per week, can be very effective at preventing migraine headaches. Some patients also benefit from biofeedback and acupuncture. Your physician will also provide you with a prescription for an effective abortive medication, which is only used as needed to relieve the headache. These products include triptans (Imitrex, Relpax, Maxalt), ergotamines (Migranal), and NSAIDs (Cambia, Anaprox). Also, there are natural abortive agents, including Ausanil nasal spray and Migrelief Now. Medications that contain opiates such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc., and butalbital such as Fioricet should be avoided, due to the high risk of converting an occasional migraine headache into chronic daily headaches. No one should suffer from migraine headaches in silence. Effective treatment can be custom-tailored to your needs, by a physician who specializes in treating headache disorders. Lori Schneider, MD, is a board-certified neurologist at Lakeside Neurology, 19615 Liverpool Pkwy., Ste. A, in Cornelius. She offers patients a more natural way to achieve good health. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact 704.896.5591, or visit www.drlorischneider.com and www.drlorischneiderstore.com.
June 2016 Lake Norman Woman Magazine